Summit County real estate sales break record in 2021, exceeding $3 billion
This is the second year in a row the county’s real estate market set a record
Ask any real estate agent in Summit County about 2021’s record-breaking real estate sales and most will point to the coronavirus pandemic as at least partly responsible for the continued boom.
According to Land Title Guarantee Co.’s December report, Summit County raked in $3.05 billion in sales over the course of 2021. That sales volume surpassed 2020’s number, when the last record was set, which tallied $2.32 billion in sales. The 32% increase is even more dramatic when compared to 2019’s numbers. Last year’s total sales volume was nearly 61% higher than 2019, which totaled nearly $1.90 billion in sales.
What’s causing so much growth over the past two years? Local experts believe it largely has to do with the pandemic.
“I think there’s been a lot of pent-up real estate demand over the few years leading up to the COVID pandemic, and obviously that being a major catalyst of people having flexibility and ability with their jobs to work remotely is a huge contributing factor for folks who may have (had) a pipe dream … to live in a mountain town full time,” said Steve Fisher, board president of the Summit Association of Realtors.
With this arrival of new buyers, some areas of the county have shown significant signs of growth. Chris Lankhorst, market president for the Summit County region at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, said areas such as Dillon and Silverthorne have gotten more attention in the past year or so, especially as development in both towns continues.
“That location is easy on and off with the Front Range only about an hour’s drive and the easy exit right there in Silverthorne,” Lankhorst said. “It’s perfectly situated for those who want probably the best of the Summit County world, and maybe the Eagle County or the Vail Valley world, where you can just quickly hop on I-70, get over to Vail or Beaver Creek or head up Highway 6 to Keystone or Highway 9 over to Breck.”
After Breckenridge, Silverthorne made up the highest volume of sales for the year. According to Land Title’s report, about 11% of the total volume of sales came from this town, totaling about 285 transactions.
Most of the sales rolled in during October. Lankhorst said this isn’t too unusual because buyers are usually shopping around during the summer. Since it typically takes about 30 to 45 days to close, the months with the highest volume of sales were October and September. Land Title’s report indicated that October’s monthly gross volume totaled over $432 million, whereas September totaled nearly $309 million.
Fisher pointed out that Summit County isn’t an outlier. Areas like Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Vail and Telluride are all experiencing similar trends, including those related to short-term rentals. Last year, Summit County government and many towns implemented various measures that either restrict or place additional regulations on these types of enterprises.
Fisher said he’s keeping a close eye on other communities in the state — especially those that implemented such measures years ago — to predict how these new measures might impact Summit County’s real estate market moving forward.
“What those markets are experiencing is that (regulations don’t) necessarily increase local affordability or availability,” Fisher said. “One thing that we are just keeping an eye on is making sure that the short-term rental regulations are adequately thought out and enough data is provided so that we don’t have a market where it’s more exclusive and more difficult for families to get what they want.”
Though Fisher said he doesn’t think the boom will slow until 2023, or even 2024, Lankhorst said he expects there to be more moderate prices this calendar year and that it will be difficult to match the same numbers as 2021 due to the availability of inventory.
“I think with inventory staying where it’s at, it’s going to be hard to put up the numbers we have in both 2020 and 2021 moving into 2022,” Lankhorst said. “If we do not see an increase in inventory, it will be difficult to continue this trend on in record-setting sales volume for 2022.”
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