Grand County real estate trends by area
November 24, 2016
Jean Wolter, Janene Johnson, broker/owners of Real Estate of Winter Park.
While both owners don’t feel like the Fraser Valley is necessarily booming, they speak of a lack of inventory that creates an interesting marketing.
“We are cautiously optimistic that we are heading in the right direction and putting Winter Park and Fraser on the map,” said Wolter.
When it comes to boom and bust in the real estate market both Wolter and Johnson have seen it all. Now they say the real estate market is manageable with sustainable growth.
Their clients tend to be mostly Front Range buyers looking for a second home.
“They have skied here and they want their kids to learn to ski at Winter Park,” said Johnson.
“We are seeing a lot more people interested in the new homebuyer class,” said Wolter.
She volunteers to teach the class that will help to education about buying property.
And, they are working with locals who are interesting in buying more than ever. “To get state qualified loans you have to take the class,” she said.
“We started the class before the recession and had about 15 people per class, and during recession it was cancelled due to lack of interest.”
The advice they give their new clients or people interested in buying is to have patience and prepare in advance.
“Get approved, get a great realtor because it can be a six-month process,” said Wolter.
“It might not be your dream home but it’s possible to find and buy a home in the Fraser Valley.
“I tell my buyers and sellers, as a ski resort, the Fraser Valley is the best deal there is, value-priced,” said Johnson.
“If you are patient and you wait, there will be something on the market in your price range. We are still so value-driven, so family oriented and we offer this world-renowned ski resort and national park. We are a good investment.”
“We are seeing an inventory shortage in the Fraser Valley,” said Wolter. “My role as a realtor is educating buyers and sellers what the market looks like. Even though we have an inventory shortage it doesn’t mean buyers won’t find anything. With the Front Range and entire state growing, clients have come through the Denver market and are used to multiple offers.”
When asked what they think the area will look like in five years Wolter said,
“Fanch and Bessie are helping to change the face of Winter Park and Fraser.”
“Community Builders in Fraser is moving forward with a traffic plan and making a grant proposal to get it started. In 5 years it will change a bit.”
Johnson said there is a lot of energy being created in Winter Park and Fraser.
“The Ecological and Community Center (HECC) is creating excitement and it will have an event center. We will have a new grocery store coming in. And with townhomes slated to be built, the core area is growing.”
In Fraser the big stores are doing great and have created energy, she said.
“They create a good atmosphere to have a whole life here and the reality is I don’t know what it is going to look like. We are on the brink.”
Grand Lake Donna Ready, Mountain Lake Properties
With all the changes in government in Grand Lake, Ready said that Grand Lake is much more business friendly than in the past, consequently more commercial properties are selling.
“We are going to have new exciting things happening in town,” she said.
“Winter is a good time for this to happen and people are making plans. We will see changes by next summer.”
Her business and downtown businesses had an excellent summer.
“I have 14 properties under contract in November which is a lot,” Ready said.
Her clients have always been second homeowners, primarily Front Range.
“About 70 percent of property owners are Front Range, and 30 percent are out of state or local.”
She noticed that there is interest in land recently.
“For years after the recession everything went down about 20 percent and little land was sold. This year the number of sold vacant land was up and people are planning to build. We will see new construction next year.”
Lance Gutersohn, owner of RE/MAX Peak to Peak
The market in Granby has improved dramatically and the inventory in Granby Ranch and Innsbruck is getting tight, said Gutersohn.
“There is an upward movement in prices.”
There are few properties under $200,000 with only nine condos currently listed in Granby at this price.
He also mentioned that in the Granby area, only three homes are listed that are under $300,000.
“I listed a home on Diamond Ave. in Granby on Thursday and it was under contract on Saturday.
The average days on market is 86 days; down from well over 200 days on market a year ago, he said.
Vacant land and commercial is sluggish.
“We need more inventory.”
“I tell buyers they need to be pre-qualified so they can jump at an offer.”
Sellers will get multiple offers if they are priced well in the market and there is a waitlist.
Gutersohn’s clients are traditionally 75 percent Front Range and 25 percent out of state or local buyers.
On Tuesday afternoon he closed on a home in the Lakes area that was priced over a million dollars; the first in nine year. It sold for $1,685,000.
“If you are interested in selling your property get a market analysis because things have changed. And talk to your favorite, local broker if you are thinking of selling,” he said.
Kristen Meyer, broker associate for RE/MAX Peak to Peak
“With all the changes going on in the town of Winter Park, we are doing better with real estate,” said Meyer.
“More people are coming here and Denver is growing so we are seeing more of those people decide on a second home.”
Winter Park is easy to get to and a closer drive for Denver residents which is resulting in more interest. The feedback Meyer is getting from people is that they prefer a low-key, authentic mountain town.
Meyer specializes in the high-end, real estate market in the Fraser Valley; homes over $1.2 million.
“This is the most activity that we’ve seen in years,” she said.
She has closed a large number of sales over $1.2 million.
“That is a great trend, seeing inventory move. Building cost have gone up and it’s so difficult to build so buyers are choosing to purchase existing homes.”
Even with the more expensive home securing a loan is difficult.
“It’s a painful process for everyone,” she said.
“Even higher-end sales are taking advantage of good interest rates, but the process can take time.”
Carrie George, broker associate, Omni Real Estate in Kremmling
Low inventory has been a trend for two years, said George.
“This year more so than last year. However there is a lot of commercial and vacant land to choose from in Kremmling.
“The most popular price range is $250,000 and under,” she said.
“People from Summit County are considering options in Kremmling. With the highway project done they see the drive more palatable than Leadville or Fairplay.”
This is putting pressure on the Kremmling market.
“It’s not a bad drive to Summit County from Kremmling. There is a river, the road has been widened and the wildlife fence makes the drive really safe.”
Most of George’s clients are primary residents, with a few second homeowners.
“Visitors who just happened to pick up a map see how close we are to ski resorts,” she said.
“Front Range people are saying Kremmling could be a possibility. People who have lived in the Front Range all their life say it’s too crowded and they have no sense of community. They are searching for a community feel. I have clients looking for a slower pace where neighbors help each other out. They want to relocate and some may work remotely.”
George believes that Kremmling will continue to be a desirable place in five years and people who are looking to move here full-time or as second homeowners will do so due to the proximity to ski resorts, reservoirs, and all the outdoor offerings the area offers.
She notes that it is important for buyers to be prequalified with lenders and be ready to go.
“It’s helpful to use a mountain lender, such as a Grand County bank or mortgage broker where underwriters understand our unique situation in rural and mountain area, it makes the loan process go smoother.”
Front Range lenders don’t understand the environment here, she said.
“Typical delays are when buyers use non-mountain lender; it causes delays in underwriting.”