Market Insights: Small and efficient is more popular |

Market Insights: Small and efficient is more popular

Daniel Webster Johnson
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily/Bob Bloch

Over the years, in the Market Insights column, I have provided you with insights into the trends and changes taking place in Summit County real estate. For this article, I have interviewed Chris Renner, owner of Pinnacle Mountain Homes, one of the largest home builders in the county, and Marc Hogan, an extremely well-established architect and managing partner of BHH Partners.

Both of these professionals brought up several examples of the changes taking place at the top-end of the custom-home market. The three main changes are 1) quality, not quantity; 2) creative use of materials; and 3) energy-efficient designs and systems.

I got thinking about these trends and came to the conclusion these apply to the bottom-end of the market as well, as is shown in the article’s photo.

This trend is undisputed. The McMansion era is over. In Breckenridge, it actually became part of the building code when the town passed the Neighborhood Preservation Policy in 2009. The aim of the policy, as is stated on the town website, is “related to maintaining the character of the town and preserving the character of older neighborhoods.”

And I see this all day long when out with buyers. They are looking for top-quality finishes and not an inch of wasted space.

Marc says, “Our current designs incorporate materials that require less maintenance. For example, exteriors including stone panels, metal panels, pre-finished siding materials and metal roofing all are good choices to reduce maintenance over time. Creative use of recycled materials and other non-traditional surfaces is an exciting way to make each interior unique.”

For this trend, Chris had this to say: “State-of-the-art mechanical and electrical systems are integrated into each design to make the home energy efficient. The mechanical and plumbing systems should be centrally located to reduce plumbing and mechanical costs. Innovative insulation systems, together with highly efficient heating systems and the outside air ventilation systems with heat exchangers, insure lower energy bills.”

All of that being said, the example this week is not a $2,000,000 custom home. Nope. This condo, at $209,000, is the lowest priced two-bedroom condo on the market in the town of Breckenridge and it is close to the base of Peak 8. It was built in 1983, and over the past year it has been transformed with an outstanding renovation. The owner is a tradesperson, which means he invested in the best-quality materials. It is rare to see a condo in this price range that actually shows so well and incorporates so many of the most recent trends in the construction industry. That must be the reason this condo has had so many showings in the three weeks it has been on the market.

Pay attention to the long-term trends in the market before you buy. Think ahead and buy a property that will be popular when you go to resell it. Be very careful of buying a property which is on the tail-end of an old trend.

Daniel Webster Johnson has earned the national Quality Service Certified Platinum award, recognition of 100 percent client satisfaction. He is a broker associate at Resort Brokers Real Estate, Breckenridge. Call him at (970) 393-3300 or drop him a line at

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