Where’s Grand County’s real estate market heading?
March 24, 2016
The real estate market in the Fraser Valley has made plenty of headlines over the last few months, for better or for worse.
The issue of attainable housing has put much pressure on communities to find a solution to shrinking inventory, and with large residential development projects underway in Winter Park, many are wondering when things will change.
It all depends on whom you ask.
Realtor Lance Gutersohn of Remax Peak to Peak in Winter Park says business has been booming.
His business is up 40 percent for the year in gross commissions when compared to last year, when they had two fewer brokers.
In Winter Park, total sales volume and the number of units sold for residential condos and townhomes has increased significantly over the first three months of 2016 from last year.
"What's interesting is that it's not just Winter Park that's seeing a huge increase right now," Gutersohn said.
Numbers are up in Granby and Grand Lake as well.
In January, the total transaction volume in Grand County had increased 20.5 percent from January 2015, according to data from Land Title Guarantee Company in Winter Park.
Despite the frenzy of activity, inventory has continued to shrink.
There are about 3.5 months of condominium inventory in Winter Park – at the same time last year, it was around 7 months.
Days on market has dropped from 240 in October to around 80.
"My biggest fear right now, as far as being a company owner, is that we're going to run short on inventory here," Gutersohn said. "But it's interesting because there is new inventory replenishing old inventory, but it's still considerably less."
Prices are rising "considerably" across the board, excluding vacant land, which has stayed relatively stagnant, Gutersohn said.
All these statistics point toward the Denver market and its growing sway on Grand County's market, Gutersohn said.
So when can buyers expect some relief, perhaps in the form of a significant inventory increase?
It could be a while.
Though development is under way in Winter Park, those projects are still a fair way out.
Gutersohn saw the same situation in the mid to late '90s.
"Now what's happening is the same thing that happened back in '95 and '96," Gutersohn said. "We're at a tipping point where it will cost you as much to buy something used on the market as it will to build it."
As prices balance out, more developers will come to build in the community, and homebuyers will show more interest in vacant land.
Gutersohn said he expects that shift to become apparent this summer, though it seems that it may have already begun in parts of the Fraser Valley.
Ann Burks, sales manager for the Rendezvous development, said sales have picked up in Rendezvous, including new construction.
"People are definitely more really ready to contract on new construction starts where over the last couple of years, people had to see what they were buying," Burks said. "There wasn't the comfort level in buying a new construction start that we're seeing now."
So what about some sort of 'boom?'
Gutersohn is wary of the word but said it's almost inevitable.
"What everyone assumes would have happened years ago, it seems to be coming," Gutersohn said, adding that it's still a ways out – three to five years, he estimates.
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