Summit County real esate deals in February top $50 million
February’s Magic Numbers
109 — Total real estate sales
94 — Total real estate sales (2014)
$50.018 million — Total value of all sales
$44.249 million — Total value of all sales (2014)
$2.6 million — Most expensive sale
$3.5 million — Most expensive sale (2014)
4 — Sales of at least $1 million
Source: Summit County Assessor.
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.
February is far from a banner month for High Country real estate.
Over the decades — yes, even during the record-setting year in 2007 — markets ranging from Breckenridge to big, bad, multi-billion-dollar Aspen tend to hit a mid-winter lull shortly before the start of buying season in late spring and early summer.
The numbers speak for themselves, at least in terms of eye-catching transactions (or a lack thereof). This February, the entire county saw $50.018 million in residential, commercial and property sales. That’s nearly $12 million less than January, when 10 transactions topped the $1 million mark in a month when more than 130 deals were closed.
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In February, total transactions dropped slightly to 109. There were just four that topped $1 million, led by an undeveloped Breckenridge lodging plot purchased for $2.6 million by Hotel Breck LLC and Truimph Development LLC of Bethesda, Maryland.
Now, back to the $12 million disparity from January and February. Not only could it be undone with a few $1 million home purchases here and there, it’s also roughly the price Home Depot paid last September to own outright an 8-acre parcel in Silverthorne, which the home improvement giant now plans to sell away.
It speaks to the ever-changing nature of alpine real estate: One massive transaction can set the tone for an entire year, particularly when inventory is at a premium.
“I think the real story is the continuation of the progression,” says Jack Wolfe, owner of the commercial real estate firm Wolfe and Company in Breckenridge. “There’s no one transaction like that Home Depot transaction, but the volume continues to rise. It’s significant — we aren’t seeing prices topping out the way they did in 2006 and 2007, but as the transactions go up and the inventory goes down, the prices will eventually go up.”
TO RAZE OR NOT TO RAZE?
Despite the promise of inevitably higher prices for residential and commercial properties, Wolfe says developers and investors are taking risks they haven’t in several years.
Look at the newest local brewpub, Baker’s Brewery in Silverthorne. When Village Inn opted to leave a prime interstate location in 2012, a group of local and out-of-state investors pooled money together for renovations. Wolfe, who represented the owner of the Village Inn building (not Village Inn itself), says the property was on the market for nearly a year and a half before it was sold to the Baker’s Brewery founders in May 2014. The market was rebounding by then, but most developers were still leery of sinking cash into an unknown.
But here’s the rub: The building already had restaurant musts, including costly additions like kitchen hoods and ventilation systems. All it needed was a facelift.
“In this instance, it was such a well-located property that I know the buyer was interested in the visibility,” Wolfe says of the Baker’s Brewery founders.
Baker’s Brewery now looks nothing like a Village Inn. It’s an alpine brewpub to the core, and Wolfe believes developers will again take chances on previously unsavory properties — even if it’s only a trend for now.
“We’re seeing significant reinvestment right now,” Wolfe says. “I am seeing that trend. It’s not necessarily like you’re seeing scrapes, where you buy a building and put an entirely new one in its place, but there will come a point where people can’t find what they’re looking for and will have a building built for their use.”
But for now, availability is a roadblock. Breckenridge is nearly built out on the residential and commercial sides, while Frisco is rapidly courting major new commercial projects, such as a proposed Natural Grocers right off the east Frisco exit.
Which brings us to marijuana. Dillon recently welcomed its first dispensary, Alpenglow of Breckenridge. Co-owner Justin Williams wasn’t fazed when he heard that a stellar retail space required more than $100,000 in renovations to repair flood damage and install ventilation. He willingly ate the cost, as will two additional dispensaries now waiting on town building permits to renovate neighboring properties in the next month or two.
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