Insider prediction: Summit County’s record housing prices won’t last |

Insider prediction: Summit County’s record housing prices won’t last

The single-family home at 2985 Boreas Pass Road outside Breckenridge is shown. It sold in September for $4 million, marking the most expensive real estate deal of the month in Summit County.
Hugh Carey /

September Top 5 Real Estate Sales

1. $4 million, 2985 Boreas Pass Road (CR 10), Summit County, single-family home

2. $3 million, 59 E. Trade Court (CR 279), Dercums Dash Subdivision, Keystone, single-family home

3. $2.5 million, 220 S. Gold Flake Terrace, Gold Flake Subdivision, Breckenridge, single-family home

4. $2.1 million, 445 Davenport Loop (CR 307), Gilrose Subdivision, Summit County, single-family home

5. $2.1 million, 131 S. Gold Flake Terrace, Gold Flake Subdivision, Breckenridge, single-family home


257: Total real estate sales

250: Total real estate sales (2017)

$161 million: Total value of sales

$155.6 million: Total value of sales (2017)

$4 million: Most expensive sale

$4.5 million: Most expensive sale (2017)

40: Sales of at least $1 million

35: Sales of at least $1 million (2017)

Source: Summit County Assessor’s Office

September’s priciest housing deal across Summit County was for an extravagant, 6,200-square-foot home with six bedrooms and bathrooms, up Boreas Pass Road outside of Breckenridge.

Rebuilt in 2011, the multimillion-dollar, mountain-modern home is nestled on three acres along Illinois Creek. According to its listings it has a private pond, fire pit and plenty of dedicated open space that’s only minutes from town. It sold for just over $4 million.

Property records on file with the Summit County Assessor’s Office show that four other single-family homes rounded out Summit’s top five real estate sales for the month, a decent one for the local industry with the total value of all property sales, along with sales of $1 million or more, both up slightly from where they were in September 2017.

The surging sales volumes of late might be subsiding somewhat, however, as the number of actual residential sales continues to drag down the monthly sales reports while driving local housing prices higher and higher.

Throughout the year and even well before it, Summit County’s real estate market has been punctuated by soaring housing prices blamed largely on an “alarmingly low” number of available listings, detailed in Chuck Leathers Real Estate Company’s latest market analysis, The Summit County Real Estate Insider.

According to the Insider, an extreme scarcity of housing has led to “wild swings in activity” and record prices across the county. There’s little chance that all these factors will remain in place “for very long” as high prices start to push more and more buyers out of the market.

The company’s owner and broker, Chuck Leathers, has been handling real estate in Summit for over three decades. During that time, he’s never seen a year in which the number of properties for sale has not eclipsed 800 — until this year.

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To show how few homes are coming up for sale in the county nowadays, the Insider compared this year’s listing to last year, when the available inventory peaked at about 900 listings, and to 2010, when there were over 3,000 listings at the height of the recession.

Citing multiple-listing service data, more commonly known as MLS data, Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate has noticed the same tightening trend on the available inventory, detailed in its latest market report. It mentions that only 173 new residential and land listings were brought to the Summit County market in September.

Driven by the historically low number of listings, the market has been quite competitive these days. Some examples of this are more than 98 percent of sellers getting offers at or above their asking prices, houses selling as quickly as a few days in some instances and the great upward pressure on prices.

“For the first time in history, the average price for Summit County properties climbed above $700,000 and stayed there for four consecutive months reaching nearly $800,000 in August,” Leathers points out in the Insider, adding that housing at the lowest price points is the hardest to find with only 64 homes under $500,000 for sale in the county on the morning of Oct. 5.

As a result, the prices keep breaking records and Summit County has seen consistently rising monthly sales volumes, at least dollar wise, at the same time that the actual number of housing sales has been stagnant.

According to property records at the county assessor’s office, more than 300 property transactions were recorded in September 2016. However, that number dropped to 250 the same month the following year and only increased by seven sales this September.

Looking at the MLS data, Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate found the number of residential transactions was actually down 7 percent for September and remains 8 percent behind 2017 in a year-to-date comparison.

Seeing the high prices beginning to push back on the market, Leathers is predicting, perhaps inevitably, that there will be another rash of new listings at some point whether its due to “a stock market correction, recession or some change in the economic cycle,” much like what happened with the recession last decade.

Over the long run, though, property in Summit County continues to show strong returns on the investment, according to Leathers, whose analysis shows that from 1985 to this year, the average sale price has gone from just over $100,000 to more than $700,000, following a mostly upward trajectory.

“Cycles will come and go, but the basic value of Summit County real estate will remain, just as it has for all of my three-decade career,” he wrote in the Insider.

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