Vail real estate hurting, but not like it is in some resorts | AspenTimes.com

Vail real estate hurting, but not like it is in some resorts

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colo. – Over the first few months of this year, real estate brokers around Jackson, Wyo., could go weeks between closings.

In Telluride, Realtor Mathew Hintermeister has received plenty of offers on a home he recently listed at a new, lower price, but the offers have been 40 percent or more below even the discounted price. Around Park City, the real estate market is on track for a sales volume number less than half the one posted just three years ago.

In short, the Vail Valley isn’t the only mountain resort area with a wounded real estate market.

At a recent Vail Board of Realtors meeting at Avon’s Westin Riverfront Resort, a panel discussion focused on the state of the market around the region. There are signs of life in some areas, but current market around the mountain resort area is still reeling from the collapse of the country’s financial sector last September and the continuing national economic slump.

The Telluride area seems to be the hardest hit.

“There’s been a complete stall in transactions,” Hintermeister said. “Sellers are willing to drop up to 20 percent, but buyers are looking for 40 percent.”

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People looking for deals extend to hotel guests and condos. In Mountain Village – which is sort of Beaver Creek to Telluride’s Vail – a new Capella hotel hasn’t closed any deals on condos. The hotel is also hoping for top room rates north of $800 per night, Hintermeister said, but guests are landing rooms for around $225.

The news isn’t much different in Jackson, Wyo. Panel member Jack Delay said there were more sales contracts signed in June and July than the first five months of the year combined. Still, sales through the first seven months of the year are off by more than 70 percent from the same period last year.

“People are waiting for the bottom,” Delay said. “They’re waiting for the golden ray of light that tells them when to buy.”

Some sellers are negotiating, Delay said, “but you aren’t going to see drastic discounts.”

Tyler Richardson, of Park City, said developers aren’t rolling out many incentives these days, although “there are deals to be had,” he said.

A couple of projects coming out of bankruptcy are the exception to that rule, Richardson said.

With a few exceptions, foreclosures in other resort areas are up over the past few years, but few of those filings end up being auctioned on the courthouse steps.

There have been 236 foreclosure filings so far this year in Eagle County. The area around Park City has seen 191 in 2009, Richardson said.

Hintermeister said the Telluride area has only eight “short sale” listings – homes that can be sold quickly at relatively bargain prices to satisfy a lender.

The same is true in the Jackson area, Delay said. But, he added, some communities in nearby Idaho have been hard-hit.

This year has seen more short sales than the past around Park City, Richardson said.

“There’s almost a daily increase in what we’re seeing,” he said, adding that of the roughly 3,500 listings in the area, almost 10 percent are for short sales.

While the down market has hit virtually every broker in the pocketbook, the Realtors’ associations in most resort areas haven’t seen much of a drop in membership.

Vail’s Realtors may be hanging in best. Vail Board of Realtors Chairman Chad Brasington said the group these days has about 750 members, down from a high of 810 last year.

Telluride again, seems hardest hit, with about a 20 percent drop in that area’s board of Realtors. But, Hintermeister said, the group that’s taking the hardest hit because of the slump is local real estate appraisers.

“Just about every appraiser I know is looking for another job,” he said.

Despite the slump, people in the real estate business are optimists by nature, and the brokers on the panel said they believe better days are coming.

“Our numbers are increasing every day,” Delay said. “We’re hopeful for the future.”

smiller@vaildaily.com