Summit County real estate round-up: Lack of property stock causes stall in August sales
September 22, 2016
Editor's note: Real Estate Roundup is an ongoing series offering a monthly glimpse at the local real estate market with transactions, historical comparisons and analysis from a rotating corps of High Country brokers. The series tackles commercial and residential sales for a bird's-eye view of the ever-changing alpine real estate market — and how Summit County compares to neighboring alpine communities.
Real estate sales for the month of August hit a wall when compared to last year, but it's not due to a lack of demand — it's a lack of product.
While August is usually a big month for the county, this year it remained flat. This month saw only 13 more sales than August of 2015. Both July and August saw 21 sales that hit more than $1 million this year. August saw an additional two sales in that price range last year. While August did see an increase in the value of total sales from last year, it was not by much, barely inching above $1.1 million.
But demand for housing may continue to drive buyers to Summit County. Dennis Clauer, a broker from Real Estate of the Summit Inc., wrote in his monthly real estate update that the average sale price for the year-to-date in 2016 has risen 13 percent from the same time last year due to a shrinking inventory. He also said that the number of townhomes and condominiums for sale on the market in August has dropped 54 percent when compared to 2015.
Eddie O'Brien, owner of O'Brien & Associates Real Estate Inc., agreed, adding that the biggest issue in Summit County is a shortage of places to sell.
"It forces prices up, which is good for the seller, but it reduces the number of sales we could have if we could have more product in the lower and mid-range," he said.
Some of the spike in demand is coming from people living in urban Colorado seeking real estate investments.
"We have so many people that are moving into the Front Range, that once they settle into the Front Range, over the last few years, they realize that the resort areas are very attractive and it's a good place to invest," O'Brien said.
O'Brien also added that many of the towns in Summit County are investing in their Main Street or downtown areas. Silverthorne is currently trying to revitalize its downtown area, basing it around the construction of the Lake Dillon Theatre Company's performing arts complex. Breckenridge also did some work on its Main Street area by creating Breckenridge Creative Arts in 2014.
O'Brien thinks that one of the biggest areas that needs improvement in the county is condo construction. He said that many condo developers are hesitating to build due to the Construction Defect Law, which holds the developer liable for defects in the construction of condos. This makes it easy for them to get sued until the limitations on the law run out. The hesitation causes a problem, since there is a large demand for condos in the county.
"The market for condominiums is so high we should be building five times what's being built right now," he said.
TOP FIVE: AUGUST
1. $3,600,000 – Breckenridge, Highlands at Breckenridge Lot 3 (residential plot)
2. $2,260,500 – Breckenridge, Shock Hill Landing Lot 16 (residential plot)
3. $2,100,000 – Silverthorne, Eagles Nest Golf Course Lot 17 (residential plot)
4. $1,895,000 – Breckenridge, Shock Hill Landing Lot 7 (residential plot)
5. $1,890,000 – Breckenridge, Highlands at Breckenridge Lot 200 (residential plot)