Summit County 2020 real estate sales surpass $1 billion as Realtors see record-breaking September

KEYSTONE — With more than $344 million in sales, September was a record-breaking month for Summit County real estate. 

According to Land Title Guarantee Co., which compiles data from recorded deeds at the Summit County Clerk and Recorder’s office, September’s sales volume was up 87% from what was seen in the same month last year, and it’s far beyond every September since 2008. 

The September numbers are on top of what has been a crazy busy year for those in the real estate business. Total year-to-date sales have surpassed $1.3 billion.

Despite the hot market, year-to-date sales volume is just 1% above that in 2019, according to Land Title. That’s because March through June were below 2019 during the shutdown. Now summer and fall sales are reflecting pent-up demand.

“I haven’t seen numbers like this in my memory,” Summit Realtors President Dana Cottrell said. 

The county also saw 387 listings go under contract in September, which is 57% above September 2019, according to Land Title. The increase in sales combined with already low inventory shows that homes are selling faster than ever, Cottrell said. 

“There’s not much on the market, so when it hits, it’s a competition,” she said. 

Ned Walley, owner and broker with Nelson Walley Real Estate, said the county data is in line with what he’s seen at his agency. 

“We’re tracking right now to be 20% to 25% higher in sales volume for our business than we were last year, which boggles my mind,” Walley said. 

Walley attributes the increase in business to the “urban exodus,” which is the phenomenon of people living in urban areas like Denver moving to more rural areas, like Summit County, for an escape from the intensity of the pandemic. 

By the numbers

Total real estate sales

  • September 2019: 245
  • September 2020: 384
  • Percent change: 56.7%

Total sales volume

  • September 2019: $183,940,073
  • September 2020: $344,080,274
  • Percent change: 87.1%

Number of sales at or above $1 million

  • September 2019: 49
  • September 2020: 107
  • Percent change: 118.4%

Source: Land Title Guarantee Co. monthly reports

“Just like Denver is fleeing to the mountains, Boston is fleeing to Cape Cod, Manhattan is fleeing to the Hamptons. It’s just crazy,” he said. “My Realtor friends across the country — New York, L.A. and everywhere — are seeing the exact same things that we’re experiencing.”

Sellers are the ones benefiting the most from the activity in the market. As demand rises, so does the value of properties. Anyone who was considering selling a home in the mountains would be smart to take advantage of the current market, Walley said. 

According to the September report, the 2020 year-to-date average price of a single-family home is $1.1 million, which is 7% higher than in 2019.

“I don’t think it’s an understatement to say that if you have a single-family house, you have seen your value grow 15% to 20% just in the last three months, which is unprecedented,” he said. 

It isn’t all doom and gloom for the buyers, however. Across the country, mortgage brokers are continuing to offer record-low interest rates on home loans. As of Nov. 5, the average 30-year mortgage interest rate was at 2.78%, according to Freddie Mac. 

Even with rising case numbers and more restrictions due to the novel coronavirus, both Cottrell and Walley believe the record-high numbers are here to stay. The biggest potential blow to the county’s market would be a closure of the ski areas, Cottrell said. 

“I’d hate to see anything happen to the ski areas. I think that would have an impact,” she said. “Ultimately, we live in a beautiful place. People want to come up. They still want to come up and go hiking and boating and biking. … They can come here and still get that escape. As long as we’re accessible and offer that escape, I believe we’re still desirable.”

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