Vail Daily | Vail Valley’s 2018 real estate market similar to 2017 with growth in condo sales

Dec 16

EAGLE COUNTY — The local real estate market through the first 11 months of 2018 looks a lot like the 2017 market. But there are some differences.

Land Title Guaranty Company tracks data recorded through the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office. According to those numbers, sales and values through November 2018 — which surpassed the $2 billion mark — are virtually the same as the 11-month numbers from 2017

Brokers describe the overall market as “stable,” if short on inventory, but looking into the numbers shows a few areas of growth. One of those areas is growth in the sales value of multi-family units — condos and townhomes.

The biggest average price jump so far in 2018 for multi-family units — 56 percent — comes in the Vail Golf Club area, east of Vail Village. But the average price of those same type of units in Gypsum also rose significantly — 29 percent.

Those are very different markets, of course, but there are some similarities. The biggest one is supply and demand. With a limited supply of single-family homes in certain price ranges, a townhome or condo starts to make a lot of sense.

Multi-family as an alternative

In Gypsum, there has been strong interest in the Mountain Gateway condos — a bit south of Costco in the Buckhorn Valley neighborhood. Broker Tanisha Bartlett of Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate said that of the 16 units in the complex, one has been sold, with another 10 under contract. That’s before complex construction is finished.

Mallie Kingston, a broker in the Gypsum office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties, said interest has also been strong at a multi-family project in Cotton Ranch, as well as the Hawk’s Nest project in Buckhorn Valley.

“The big piece is price range,” Kingston said. In the under-$500,000 range — and especially the under $400,000 range — there simply aren’t many single-family homes, Kingston added.

Add in the fact that many buyers tend to favor new construction, and it’s easy to see the attraction.

The lack of single-family alternatives also holds true in the valley’s resort areas.

Tye Stockton of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty agreed.

“With a scarcity of product, people have to get more creative,” Stockton said. Over the Christmas holidays, prospective buyers in the resort areas look most often at condos and townhomes, he added.

Other trends at work

But there are other trends at work in the resort areas.

Stockton said as prices rise in areas closer to Vail’s slopes and resort villages, buyers are able to find value in outlying areas. A membership in a “signature club” such as the Vail Mountain Club provides parking or transportation to the slopes, ski storage and other amenities. Stockton said he knows club members who live as far away as Lake Creek in Edwards.

Buyers are starting to better understand the advantages of clubs, Stockton said. That opens up options — and can help improve prices in those areas, he said.

But strong demand isn’t the same thing as a boom.

Slifer Smith & Frampton Managing Broker John Pfeiffer said he rarely hears clients talking about resort-area real estate in terms of investment these days.

“People want to use these units,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s the Vail Valley lifestyle that’s attracting people.”

Pfeiffer added that he’s glad to see buying driven by use, instead of speculation. Back in 2005 and 2006, people tended to buy units as investments. That’s true at another project Slifer Smith & Frampton is representing, East West Partners’ Riverfront Village, just west of the Westin in Avon.

As opposed to the boom market of the previous decade, today’s market is more “healthy,” Pfeiffer said.

And, while the 2018 market seems similar to 2017, both Pfeiffer and Stockton said business at their respective firms was strong last year, a trend that continues into 2019.

And, despite current uncertainty in the nation’s financial markets, Pfeiffer said local fundamentals are strong. And, perhaps most important, “People still want to be here,” he said.