Summit real estate hotter than ever
Up, up, up is the only way to describe the local real estate market, whether youre looking back at 2005 or looking ahead at the rest of this year. “Its crazy,” said Bonnie Smith Allen, owner/broker at Exclusive Mountain Retreats in Breckenridge. “Theres a lack of inventory in certain price points. Certainly, condos under $400,000 are flying off the shelves, and were up about 32 percent in the number of sold homes and condos priced over $1 million,” she said. “Everything is starting to explode. Ive not seen anything quite like it.” But high demand doesnt mean Summit County is about to see a bursting real estate bubble, Smith Allen said, identifying a real concern in some parts of the country as interest rates climb.”I dont think were in a bubble here. When you look at our value to dollar ratio, your money goes a lot farther here than in other resort towns,” Smith Allen said. “Our average price per home, per condo is holding steady compared to places like Jackson Hole or Sun Valley.”The prospect of a bubble scares people from other parts of the country, but Smith Allen said local prices have been climbing “a little more cautiously” than in other desirable real estate markets.Smith Allen said she has noticed a marked shift in buyer demographics from five years ago, when there was a great deal of high-flying dot-com money around, and buyers were looking for instant gratification.
“Were seeing fewer spec homes. Our upper end buyers are now at the older end of the baby boom wave,” she said. “They want very specific homes and they dont mind taking a year to plan and build.”Real estate brokers across the county expect high demand will likely continue to spur record sales this year.”Theres a lack of inventory in certain price points,” Smith Allen said, and Frisco-based Chris Eby, of Buyers Resource Real Estate, agreed.”Frisco is having a supply problem,” Eby said. Well-priced units are going off the market so quickly that in some cases, Eby has bought attractive listings and then assigned the contract to buyers.”By the time a buyer gets a chance to turn on his computer and look at a listing, it could be gone,” Eby said, describing a market thats hungry for “irreplaceable locations, with good views or backing up to open space.”Eby also identified one market segment that could be a little softer, namely the infill development in some parts of town, where older structures are being torn and replaced by “setback to setback” high-end multi-family units.That observation led Eby to warn potential buyers of a “surprise factor.””That log cabin next to the house you buy could be a four-plex next year,” he said, cautioning buyers to do their homework.The 2005 market was also friendly on the lower end of the scale, said Breckenridge-based Coldwell Banker broker Turk Montepare.”The interest rates were good and that allowed local buyers to get into the market,” Montepare said. “And the big-money buyers see Summit County as a good place to invest.”Montepare said lot sales took an upward turn in 2005 after languishing slightly for a few years, a trend he expects will continue this year. As the supply of available land dwindles, unique lots, with “big views” and other desirable attributes are sure to increase in value, he said.
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