BRECKENRIDGE — Activity in Summit County’s real estate market is up this year over last, with strong action in the under $600,000 category the first six months of the year.
The number of sales is up yet prices remain steady, despite expectation within the industry that home values would rise this summer. Summit County prices dropped from their peaks by 20 to 25 percent with the housing crash.
“During the early summer and late spring we saw a nice influx of showings and contracts, so I was hopeful that would carry through this summer,” said Jeff Moore, managing broker at Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate’s Breckenridge office. “We’ve had a good summer, but I was forecasting a little more action.”
Summit County's prime selling season traditionally kicks off with the Fourth of July holiday and lasts until Halloween. Moore said sales of homes priced above $1 million have been slow throughout the county this year, mirroring activity in Eagle County, where the luxury home market begins at $3 million.
Although Denver’s market is hot, that hasn’t repeated itself here or in neighboring Vail. Moore said mountain markets generally follow the metro area by eight months to a year.
Some pockets of Summit County have shown hot activity this summer, including Frisco, where inventory remains low, and downtown Breckenridge, where buyers are looking for “walkability,” or foot-access to shops and restaurants. Condos, single-family homes, and even historic renovations located in the core commercial districts have been popular of late.
Prices are not on the rise but the market is more balanced than since the recession, Moore said, now that distressed properties are flushed out.
The first six months of 2013 brought 626 land and homes sales in Summit County, compared to 550 last year and 465 in 2011, according to an analysis by Slifer Smith and Frampton that includes all information from the county MLS service. Sales volume is also up for the period, totaling $290 million, compared to $264 million in 2012 and $234 million in 2011, the company said.
“A lot of that volume is made up of those smaller-transaction sales,” said Moore, referring to the under-$600,000 price category. In addition to locals, many buyers are second-homeowners purchasing their first vacation homes, he added.
Breckenridge reaped the most benefit, seeing a 23 percent increase in sales volume and a 40 percent jump in condo sales, according to the report.
A contributing factor includes price reductions at the Vail Resorts-owned One Ski Hill Place, where a 30-percent price cut reaped more than a dozen sales since the first of the year. Yet other areas are helping sales figures, including new townhome construction at Shock Hill Landing, and spec home building in Shock Hill, Highlands and Timber Trail, a ski-in, ski-out subdivision on Peak 8.
This year’s activity shows that Summit County living is as desirable as ever. That’s also evidenced by its most-recent accolade from the national magazine Best Of lists. Moore points out that Breckenridge was named one of America’s Prettiest Towns by Forbes.