Breckenridge Land Sales Still Down

July 3rd, 2010

The Breckenridge Colorado real estate market is feeling the effects of the Great Recession. Breckenridge homes, condos and land have all seen an increase in the available inventory and a reduction in the number of sales when compared to the market highs during the 2005-2007 time frame. This has lead to a reduction in sale prices for all three property types.

Breckenridge land sales have been especially hard hit. In 2006 there were 260 vacant lots sold in Breckenridge. In 2009 there were only 40. And about half-way through 2010, it would appear that this year is going to be about the same as last.

The decline in land values that have resulted from the reduction in the number of transaction has been dramatic. The following are just a few examples of Breckenridge Colorado land sales during the past year showing the magnitude of the losses that vacant lot Sellers are experiencing:

1. LOT 146 HIGHLANDS AT BRECKECKENRIDGE (835 GOLD RUN ROAD) : The Seller had paid $550,000 for this land on 05/31/07 and sold it for $403,000 on 08/14/09.

2. LOT 200 HIGHLANDS AT BRECKENRIDGE (834 PRESTON WAY) : The previous owner of this land had paid $427,500 for it on 07/24/07. Now the bank has it under Contract after having listed it for a price of $297,900.

3. LOT 109 HIGHLANDS AT BRECKENRIDGE (517 HAMILTON COURT) : The previous owner of this vacant lot bought it for $435,000 on 10/01/07. Now the bank has it listed for $265,500.

The above are just a few examples. There are many more like these in Breckenridge and all throughout Summit County Colorado. And land value loss paints only part of the picture when it comes to the Breckenridge Colorado land market. Another important aspect of this market is the relation of available land inventory to the number of vacant lot transactions taking place.

As of this writing, there are 283 vacant lots for sale in Breckenridge Colorado. This is more than has ever sold in a single year and is about 6.5 times more than has sold in the previous 12 months. This concept can be further broken down by price range:

  • Between $250K and $400K, there are currently 51 active vacant lot listings with 8 closings in this price range during the previous 12 months. This equates to about a 6.5 year available inventory.
  • Below $250K there are currently 111 active vacant lot listings with 21 sales in this price range during the previous 12 months. This equates to about a 5.25 year available inventory.
  • Above $400K there are currently 124 active vacant lot listings with 15 sales in this price range during the previous 12 months. This equates to about a 8.25 year available inventory.

By comparison, there is about a 2 year inventory of single family homes for sale in Breckenridge and about a 2.25 year inventory of multi-family properties (i.e. condos, townhomes, duplexes, etc.).

Of course all of this is bad news for those who have Breckenridge Colorado real estate for sale. But it could be great news for those looking to buy Breckenridge real estate, especially when it comes to those interested in purchasing vacant land.

If you would like to learn more about the Breckenridge land market, contact Ted Amenta – Breckenridge Colorado Real Estate Broker at (970) 453-8025 or visit for listing details and photos of all active Summit County Colorado real estate listings.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by Ted Amenta
Notice: Publishers are free to republish this article on an ezine or website provided the article is reprinted in its entirety including copyright and author information, and all links remain intact and active.

Help Save Heeney Colorado!

April 16th, 2010

The National Forest Service is considering the relocation of the Heeney Marina to the Cow Creek Campground on the opposite side of Green Mountain Reservoir from the town of Heeney.

Such a relocation could negatively impact the town of Heeney and its residents in several ways:

  1. Boat ownership and lake access are important components to the quality of life for many Heeney residents. Moving the marina away from the population center would mean that many residents would have to drive several extra miles to access and use their boats docked at the marina.
  2. Security is also a concern. The boats that are kept at the marina and the equipment on them are valuable and moving the marina alongside Rt. 9 could increase the risk of vandalism and theft.
  3. In addition to the marina itself, the proposed expansion of the Cow Creek campground and added lighting would create an increase in the noise and light pollution that the residents of Heeney would be exposed to from the other side of the lake.
  4. Restaurant, retail, and lodging businesses of Heeney could be negatively impacted by the closing of the present marina. These business are part of the character of Heeney and loosing them would be a loss to the town as a whole.
  5. Combined, all of the above could mean lower property values in Heeney and therefore a reduction in revenues generated from Summit County Real Estate property taxes.

Some improvements to the Cow Creek and other Heeney campgrounds may be appropriate to facilitate inspections for zebra mussels and to create more convenient lake access for non-Heeney residents. But not at the expense of the current Heeney marina or with added lighting at Cow Creek.

To voice your opposition to this proposal, please contact:

Scott Fitzwilliams – White River National Forest supervisor.

Please also contact the elected officials which represent Summit County Colorado:

  • Governor: Bill Ritter
  • US Senators: Michael Bennett and Mark Udall
  • US Rep : Jared Polis
  • CO Senator : Dan Gibbs
  • CO Rep : Christine Scanlan
  • Summit County Commissioners: Bob French, Thomas Davidson, and Karn Stiegelmeier

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by Ted Amenta

Notice: Publishers are free to republish this article on an ezine or website provided the article is reprinted in its entirety including copyright and author information, and all links remain intact and active.

The Breckenridge Ski Resort opened today!

November 12th, 2009

Early guests on opening day enjoyed free pancakes, courtesy of The Breckenridge Ski Resort, and then headed off to enjoy any one of three lifts (Rip’s Ride, Chair 5, and the Colorado Super Chair. These three lifts serviced skiing and snowboarding on four trails: Crescendo, Spruce, Springmeier, and Trygve’s. In total, 108 skiable acres were open, just about 5% of the total available at Breckenridge.

The week leading up to opening day has been warm and dry. But prior to that, the 09-10 ski season had been off to a good start. In fact, early fall conditions were so favorable that one local ski area, Loveland, was able to open on October 7th. This was the earliest that any ski resort has ever opened for the season in the state of Colorado!

And as of this writing, Vail Pass is under a Winter Storm Warning through 6am on Saturday and parking is free in most lots through Sunday. So dust off the skis and snowboards, check the air in the snow tires, and head to Breckenridge for the weekend. See ya on the hill…

Summit County real estate and the Recession

October 29th, 2009

The Summit County Colorado Real Estate market is feeling the full force of the recession. In fact, market data shows that the market decline began about the same time that Bear Sterns collapsed. Prior to that time, Summit County had been fairly immune to the problems facing much of the rest of the real estate industry throughout the US. There are many reasons for this, among them:

  1. Compared to the rest of the country, Summit County has a fairly low percentage of sub-prime borrowers and the loan defaults that plagued other markets was not much of a factor in Summit County.
  2. Summit County did not experience the speculative bubble that occurred in some other markets. Being a four sessions destination resort market, most Summit County real estate Buyers purchase for the purpose of personal use and/or tourist rental income, not with the intent to sell in the short term.
  3. In the absence of the speculative bubble, and being surrounded by mountains and National Forest, over development in Summit County did not take off as it did in other markets.

Of course, there are counter-examples to each of the above points which are included only as a comparison to other markets and to give a general overview of the real estate market in Summit County leading into the first quarter of 2008. To a large extent, the Summit County real estate market had been, and continues to be, defined by the overall US economy and not necessarily the trends within the real estate industry as a whole.

And with the exception of a hand full of talking heads and Wall Street bail-out recipients, most of the rest of us know that the economy is not doing well.

The recession has resulted in a decline of Summit County real estate sales prices, number of sales, and overall sales volume. Meanwhile new listings continue to come on the market resulting in an abundance of inventory.

One of the hardest hit sectors of the Summit County real estate market has been vacant land as the following chart will show:

Market Snapshot for Summit County Colorado Land Listings and Sales:
Active Listings
(Jan 16, 2010)
Sales 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
372 Summit County 68 137 313 394 437
244 _Breckenridge 40 79 190 260 282
47 County $400K-$500K 12 19 37 27 30
27 _Breck $400K-$500K 5 10 27 20 24

To investigate the above table further, the following will examine the lots that sold in Breckenridge Colorado during 2009 in the $400,000 to $500,000 price range:

  • The first was a resale of a lot in the Highlands at Breckenridge for $403,000 on 08/14/09. In this case, the Seller had paid $550,000 for the land on 05/31/07 when the market was it its peak.
  • The second was a sale by the developer of Western Sky Ranch in Breckenridge of a 4.98 acre lot for $499,000 on 09/22/09. Being a developer sale, there is no previous sales information for this property. But, the closest comparable sale within Western Sky Ranch for the adjoining lot of 3.58 acres which sold for $725,000 on 01/04/08, also prior to the market contraction.
  • The third was another resale in the Highlands at Breckenridge on 11/03/2009 for $465,000 which was originally listed for $599,000 on 06/16/2009. The Seller of this property purchased it in 1996 for $165,000.
  • The fourth was a sale in the Warriors Preserve subdivision which was originally listed for $595,000 on 01/03/2008 and which sold for $415,000 on 12/11/2009. The Seller’s purchase information is not available.
  • The fifth was a lot in the Warrior’s Mark West subdivision for $420,000 which was originally listed for $550,000 on 06/16/2009. Once again, The Seller’s purchase information is not available.

Five sales in a narrow price range do not define the entire Breckenridge real estate market for vacant land. Breckenridge does not define Summit County as a whole. And the market for vacant land does not directly translate to that of residential property. But the most generalized Summit County Colorado market data also shows inventory up, transactions down, and prices reflecting these facts.

There are also some positive signs for what the future of the Summit County real estate market may hold:

  • Interest rates are down. As of this writing, the interest rate on a 30 year fixed mortgage is about 5%. A year ago it was about 6%. This means a lower monthly payment of about $63 per $100,000 borrowed. Alternatively, a $1,000 a monthly payment a year ago would cover a mortgage of about $167,000. Today, this same payment would cover a mortgage of about $186,000.
  • In anticipation of inflation, money is moving toward hard assets. The recent record high prices of gold reflect this. Real estate is also a historic hedge against inflation and the discrepancy between the price of gold and the price of real estate is near the highest in US history. In other words, it now takes fewer ounces of gold to buy an average home than almost ever before. And with bullion and numismatic gold becoming increasingly difficult to find, and the inventory of available real estate on the rise, how long can this trend last?
  • Colorado is one of the states projected to be the least impacted by the recession. Unemployment in Colorado is lower than the national average, personal income is higher, and the Colorado economy has significant high-tech, natural resource, and alternative energy sectors.
  • Bloomberg recently reported that Vail Resorts Inc., which owns both Breckenridge and Keystone, is projecting skier visits and overall bookings to be up this ski season over last and one component of the Summit County real estate market is rental income generated from renting homes and condos to tourists.

With inventory up and prices and interest rates down, this may be the ideal time to invest in Summit County real estate. For more information, contact Ted Amenta – Summit County real estate agent.

Breckenridge Ski Season Ending Well

April 16th, 2009

The last day that the Breckenridge Colorado ski area will be open for the ’08-’09 season will be this Sunday April 19, 2009 and it is expected to be one of the best powder days of the year!

A winter storm warning is in effect from noon today (Thursday) through noon on Saturday and total snow accumulation is expected to be measured in feet.  After this Sunday, the only Summit County ski area that will remain open will be Arapahoe Basin which typically stays open as long as snow conditions and skier numbers allow.

The ski season started off well but then Colorado had the driest February on record.  The dry spell continued through mid March and then some late March storms brought snow pack levels to slightly above average for the time of year.  This current storm system is great news for those looking forward to spring / early summer fishing, rafting, and lake boating in and around Summit County as reservoirs are expected to fill to capacity and river flows are expected to be strong.  In fact, the fishing this year is already off to a fantastic start.

So…get ready to come up to Breckenridge this weekend and then break out the summer toys!

Breckenridge Real Estate Market – $250K to $300K condos

March 4th, 2009

The following conversation involves a specific Breckenridge condo in the $250K to $300K price range as well as the general Breckenridge real estate market conditions:

Client> Where do you see the market going this Spring?  Any stronger?

I hope that the market strengthens this spring and summer.  So far, I have seen little evidence of this happening.  Summit County real estate sales volume in January ’09 was down about 60% from what it was in January of ’08.  We started seeing the market contract in the spring of last year.  Sales data comes out about one month after the end of the month.  This gives time to get the public records updated.

My office seems to have had a good February but people I know in other offices are not telling me that they are seeing an increase in activity so this may just be a statistical anomaly for us.

Looking forward, I anticipate an excess of inventory.  In fact we are already there.  In the past 12 months, there were 432 sales of properties in the Breckenridge area priced over $100K.  At the moment, there are 771 such properties on the market.  This would be a slightly high number of active listings in July and is very high for us now.  I expect to see 1000+ such properties on the market this summer.

More specific to this particular property, there are currently 34 Breckenridge condos for sale priced between $250K and $300K.  There were 10 sales in the past 12 months in this price range.

Let it Snow!

March 2nd, 2009

February 2009 was the driest February on record for Colorado.  And to make matters worse for the ski areas, the National Weather Service is forecasting that March is expected to be warmer than average with less than average precipitation.  During the first week of March, high temperature records have already been broken.  And more such records are expected to be broken later in the week.

Of course none of this is good news for the Colorado ski areas, rental property owners, ski town merchants, or anyone who just wants to get some powder turns in.

But this could mean an early start to the summer season in the high country.  Summer never seems to last very long up here and I for one would not mind getting another month of biking and boating in this year.  People are already playing golf in Denver which hit a record high temp of 74 degrees today.

The ski season started out well and snow pack is now about average for this time of year.  And some of our snowiest springs have followed very dry mid seasons.  So check back and I will keep you posted if we do get any big storms…

Beaver Run & Liftside rental condos

February 18th, 2009

The following is a copy of some of my recent correspondence that might be of interest to others considering the purchase of investment property in Summit County Colorado.

This correspondence refers to Beaver Run Condo and Liftside Condo.  Both are good ski-in / ski-out rental investment properties in Breckenridge.

Buyer> Thanks! I’m surprised that the studio did hardly better than the townhouse. My knee jerk reaction would be that the smaller the place is the better it would do.

It is often the case that studios will out perform larger condos at the same property on a rental basis.  The two bedroom I selected on this page is particularly attractive in terms of price / quality / rental numbers.  This is the reason I choose it.  Had I picked any other two
bedroom condo on the market at Beaver Run at the time, the net income as a percentage of list price would have lower.

Buyer> How are prices doing? I know ski country inflated later than other areas in the US but is finally being hit in some places (like Park City, UT). Is Breckenridge seeing any downward pressure?

We are seeing downward pressure on prices in that Buyers are making low offers and then walking away when the Sellers refuse to accept a price that is not at least close to a recent sale of comparable property.  This is causing overall sales volume to be down but prices are remaining mostly flat.  For us, flat is a shift in the market having seen fairly modest but steady appreciation for the last decade or more.  I saw similar market conditions for a few months after 9/11.  We are now about year into this market.

Sellers have been willing to keep their properties based on their past experiences with renting them.  Bookings are down this ski season due to the economy and I expect that we might see real estate prices reflect this soon.  The only hesitation I have with this notion is the current state of the financial markets.  Sellers consider their properties worth at least what they were when the DOW was approaching 14,000.  Today the DOW closed at 7,552 and I do not see many bullish financial analysts out there.  Many investment property owners are reluctant to come off their price without an attractive alternative investment to put their money into.

Liftside Condo offers a good case study into the above points.  There were two sales at Liftside in ’08.  One for $329,000 and the other for $330,000.  The last sale was on 02/27/08 yet there are currently only 7 such properties on the market.  At first, this may seem like a lot with nothing selling there in almost a year.  But there are 120 Liftside Condos in the building.  I remember other times when there were 20+ listings at Liftside and they were selling.

$1 Trillion “Stimulus” Bill

February 14th, 2009

Regardless of what you think of the $1 Trillion “Stimulus” Bill which President Obama is expected to sign in Denver on Tuesday, you might be interested in the real estate related provisions contained within it.  Here are the highlights:

1) Jumbo loan limits will be raised to $727,000 in high cost areas.
2) An $8,000 tax credit will allowed for qualified real estate purchases.  This is less than the $15,000 first proposed but it is a true credit and not a government backed loan which had also been discussed.
3) There is over $50 Billion set aside for foreclosure mitigation.

In addition to the above, the existing mortgage interest rate deductibility and capital gains exclusions of $250,000 (for singles) and $500,000 (for couples filing jointly) will remain unchanged.

The Bill was passed on a Friday afternoon prior to a holiday weekend having just been completed at 11pm the night before, allowing little time for Congressional Republicans, the Press, or most importantly – We The People to review it prior to passage.

Joe Biden stated “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong”.

So, did they do it right?  And if not, what effect do you suppose that will have on the odds he gave?

Grand Opening!

February 10th, 2009

This is the launching of the new blog.  Blog topics could include anything but will typically involve Summit County Colorado news and events, with particular focus on real estate related matters.  Please feel free to get involved by posting your own requests for topics to be covered along with your own thoughts on the posts of others.  Also, come back soon for the launching of a Summit County Colorado message forum designed for discussions of more timeless topics than what might be found on this blog.