Be Ready Now.
Vail Resorts has a new reservation system for ski mountain access during the upcoming 2020-21 winter season. THE RESERVATION HOTLINE OPENS NOVEMBER 6th AND CLOSES DECEMBER 8th. IF YOU DO NOT MAKE YOUR RESERVATION DURING THAT TIME, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO DO SO. Only EPIC pass holders may reserve seven specific days in advance. We recommend you book those MUST-HAVE ski days as soon as possible. Availability during most of the season is likely except for those unusually high in demand weeks. Take advantage of the priority system to ensure skiing during Christmas/New Years, President’s Day, Spring Break, and all other high visitation periods.
If you would like to look at real estate while you are in Vail or Beaver Creek, please call us at 970-390-8850.
Go to the Epic Pass website to learn more:
Greg Strahan & Connie Kincaid-Strahan
Remote working has been around for decades but not without employers being concerned over the lack of supervision and non-participation in synergist group behavior. While this technological advancement was destined to become industry standard over time, when CV-19 came on to the scene that evolution became a revolution with the virus a catalyst for immediate mainstream acceptance. Remote working is here to stay and will forever change how people work and where they live as we move into the age of on-line everything. So, let’s take a look at what this will mean for vacation home real estate.
The pandemic produced the most violent downturn in history with destination travel front and center as the public shunned flying and the economy locked down. Spring is typically our slowest time of year as snowpack melts and the weather unpredictable. After the ski areas closed mid-March, we were certain that summer visitation was going to greatly affected, but during the month of May some very unusual activity began to emerge. Vacation home use has always been measured in days given obligations at the office. We were surprised when buyers from all across America began calling citing an increased tether to work which meant changing the use pattern from days to months which now may become a new norm.
This unusual behavior and five months of insane demand has confirmed that people intend to work from higher quality of life places driving this flurry of interest. Properties have been selling in weeks if not days while reducing inventory to almost non-existent levels. The Wall Street Journal proclaimed that mountain property is on fire, which based upon the last five months is probably true but for reasons more complex than just the pandemic. As of May there have been 430 properties sold or under contract in the ski proximate neighborhoods we track culminating in an astounding $1.2 billion of dollar volume with an average selling price of $1.6M. All of this happened during an excruciating high risk economic downturn which made no sense but happened, nevertheless. Families started reaching out to us as social distancing took hold expressing an interest in the Vail Valley but with their timing being next year. This hesitation made complete sense given a lessening risk profile along with the promise of vaccines and/or other effective therapeutics.
Six months have gone by and based upon additional information and client input we have concluded that this summer’s frenzy was not an outlier/renegade event but rather an early adopter movement. Remote working is changing the playing field with most decision makers enjoying a longer leash to the office. If these early adopters represent only a fraction of this emerging trend, buyer demand for Vail Valley real estate will explode next year with significant implications. Inventory will likely decrease as ownership reconsiders selling for the same reasons’ buyers are buying. If demand does nothing more than repeat next summer that alone will drive prices 10% higher. If demand multiplies by a factor of two or three then a 20% increase is likely. While these prognostications might seem a bit fanciful data analysis confirms that real estate moves in stair step patterns and is not a linear progression asset. The last burst happened Q3 2017 when prices exploded 20%-25% as the longest bull market run in history converged with record low rates of unemployment. While our predictions are based on a completely different premise there is historical precedence for burst pricing. We urgently recommend buyers take action as soon as possible with the biggest problem being a serious lack of inventory.
If the idea of a Vail Valley home is on the radar screen, this matter must be prioritized with buyers becoming fully engaged because asking us to send you a ‘great deal via email’ is just not going to cut it. It takes time, focus, patience and perseverance along with making a broker your new best friend if a Top 10% property is going to come your way. If renting is the backup there are going to be problems with that strategy as well. As owners begin to use their homes for extended increments during prime time winter and summer months rents will increase and availability curtailed.
If you have questions or are interested in learning more about how our world class resort real estate works, please give us a call or reply via email. As the only vacation home investment advisory firm in the Central Rockies and Eagle County’s only buyer brokerage company for more than 20 years we are committed to your best interest as client fiduciaries. We will make every effort to exceed expectations with information that is factual, and data based which is what our advisory platform is all about.
Best regards from high up in the Rocky Mountains where the fall colors are vivid hues of yellow, red and purple, and the weather delightful with winter right around the corner.
Greg Strahan and Connie Kincaid-Strahan
40 Years’ Experience. One Billion Dollars Completed Transactions. Hundreds of Happy Families.
Lifestyle enhancement coordinators and real estate guides to the Vail Valley.
The biggest stock market comeback in modern history is defying all valuation methodologies in favor of the view that the pandemic will be over by this time next year so who cares about what is going on around the country. 3.3 million small businesses, 22% of all the firms in the US, have shut their doors since February as compared to 730,000 during the Great Recession. Irrational Exuberance is now being mentioned in hushed tones as the only explanation for a pre-Covid stock indices making the capital markets look more like Las Vegas gambling than a real investor playing field. There are no real connections to P&L, consumer confidence or unemployment which is probably closer to $30M with 20% of America’s workforce out of a job despite lower statistics to the contrary. Expectations that the FED will do whatever it takes to keep the recovery going with $3T of printed money already approved. Chairman Jerome Powell is prepared to go as high as $6T if necessary, which is a staggering sum of money when compared to total US debt of $22T and rising. The DJIA fell 1862 points last week in response to the virus’ spread with more than half the country setting record high infection numbers. Until vaccines or therapeutics are developed Covid 19 is not going away so get ready for two steps forward one step back until such time as one of these two solutions become available.
The cost of housing has grown twice as fast as wage earner income with fewer homes on the market than in any year since 1982. Demand for lower priced properties drove appreciation at twice the rate of high end neighborhoods. Once the backbone of US wealth, housing has become a political, economic, and environmental catastrophe. Renting has become even worse with costs increasing by 16% compared to wages at 5%. After 2011 4M units under $800 a month have all but disappeared due to demolition, co-ops and condo conversions. Half of all renters spend 30% of their salaries on rent; but for the poor that number is closer to 50%. Minimum wage earners would have to work 127 hours a week to pay for a two bedroom rental. In 1990 it took 18 months of medium salary to buy a house in 72 of the top 100 cities; today that number is just 25 which is a staggering 65% reduction. The US is more than 10 million homes undersupplied as a result of the Great Recession with no solutions in sight. So, giddy up and buy residential properties because increasing valuations are almost guaranteed based upon the national numbers but will depend on specific SMSA locations and economic activity.
Vail Valley Market Overview
Rumors abound that Eagle County’s housing market is red hot. Currently there are 348 pending sales with May setting an all-time monthly record. Covid 19 is changing all prior seasonal patterns with buyer activity very strong for what is typically the slowest month of the year. Eagle County has averaged about 2400 transactions per year since 2017 producing $2.2 billion in annual volume. That yearly average of 200 homes per month would seem to support May’s red hot status but it’s not that simple. At an average price of about a million dollars, 348 sales translates into $350M which is only 15% of countywide volume. July is the height of our inventory accumulation cycle with 682 homes currently on the market and if every home were to sell that’s $600M plus the under contract $320M for less than one billion dollars or roughly half of pre-Covid volume. Is the local real estate market on fire? Well sort of with most of the action happening at seven digit numbers. Local demand is in the tank given 48% employment as reported by the Rocky Mountain Alliance which means the market is almost 100% driven by out of area buyers. The pandemic has created unexpected demand at an unexpected time for city dwellers who want social distancing and family getaway properties. Zoom has proven that not all workers have to be in the office which is going to be a game changer for how and where we work, changing the ‘must be on-site’ paradigm forever. We are not seeing a massive exodus from urban areas to outlying communities but rather the realization that a second home can make real sense given on-line working and increased flexibility as to where people can or have to live. Urban flight from NYC after 911 is being talked about but we just don’t see a change in primary residences, but rather an escape valve option for lifestyle enhancement in less congested lower hassle safe places.
Best regards from our part of the world to yours where in the Rockies the colors glow against a background of towering peaks, crystal clear lakes, and views of an endless the horizon. Fall is right around the corner and if you can figure out a safe way to come and visit; we promise you will not be disappointed.
Greg Strahan and Connie Kincaid- Strahan
Lifestyle enhancement coordinators and real estate guides to the Vail Valley.
75 Years’ Combined Experience. One Billion of Completed Transactions. 250+ Happy Families
Greetings from high up the Rockies where summer is in full bloom and the weather magnificent. We have been getting a lot of questions as to how Vail might look over the next few months given current economic conditions and pandemic social distancing. Colorado has lifted a number of Eagle County restrictions for a Phase II rollout. Restaurants and retail are now allowed to open provided social distancing is maintained. Our big crowd events have been canceled but the season will look far more normal than we expected just a couple of weeks ago. On Thursday Vail Resorts announced it will begin mountain operations as of late June or early July which is clearly great news. We assume that means gondolas running and other on mountain activities although that is not yet clear. As to real estate I had expected the property market to be dead but to my surprise properties are selling with little or no discounting. Until the inventory accumulation cycle peaks the week of July 4th some of this commentary is an educated guess because like health professionals, I need more data.
1. Stock market indices are confounding. There are no reasons for the recent bull market run other than an anticipation that the economy will start recovering later this year with 2021 even stronger. Q3 data will be sobering with more bad news to follow through year end. The Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance reports a staggering 48% level of unemployment for CO ski towns. Corporate America top and bottom line performance along with forward guidance reports will be horrendous despite the Wall Street dream with unemployment at 25% (40M) which may eventually prove worse than the Great Depression. Small businesses are going under at an alarming rate because consumers are not spending money. TIME to turn all of this around is the enemy because the longer it takes to reopen the economy, an exponentially longer period of time will be required for employment to return, some jobs will never come back.
2. Americans have clearly raised their hands against the lockdown as being worse than the disease. Money for food and rent is trumping (no pun intended) the human death toll along with the disruptions of social distancing. The public is not going to accept another lockdown knowing that the cost will be more sickness and loss of life which will be the price to save our country from ruin while politicians sweep this reality under the rug.
3. High end luxury good spending is driven by confidence in employment income and investible asset performance. Real estate suffers when these elements falter in tandem. Income will be less for many and in particular for employees in the hardest hit one-third sector of the economy. Top 10% family wealth has remained relatively intact due to resilient capital markets with many suspicious that the fantasy party just can’t last. I am not expecting much in the way of distress for Vail Valley real estate given current activity and meager levels of inventory. The rich don’t typically sell during recessions resulting in fewer and maybe a lot fewer homes coming on the market. Buyers who are looking to diversify their portfolio, live in crowded cities with a “get out of town” mind set, and baby boomers who know time is running short will buy for lifestyle and family gathering reasons supported by mortgage interest rates that are headed towards historic sub 3% lows.
4. Investors are waking up to the fact that with enough printed money ($3T and counting) liquidity can trump asset valuation metrics. As the smartest economist I know said “DON’T FIGHT THE FED” with liquidity driving stock market indices to what might be unsustainable levels. Jerome Powell clearly stated he will do whatever it takes to prevent an economic meltdown on top of the already in place Covid 19 recession, even if that means saddling future generations with mountains of debt and inflation which over time helps lessen that burden.
5. If I were to place a bet it would be on an improving 2020 second half with even stronger growth next year. That doesn’t mean a return to pre Covid exuberance which is probably 4 years out, but a solid reassurance to the public that the worse is over. Consumer spending drives 70% of GNP. Confidence has to improve if we are going to get out this ‘health scare recession’ which is a must if we are going to get back on the economic road to recovery.
What does all of this mean for Vail? The rich are getting richer and while they might have less, they still have money. Fear, volatility and uncertainty are today’s distress issues which will lessen over the next 12 months. Buyers who want portfolio diversification and who doesn’t, have a renewed interest in lifestyle enhancement, and understand that they can make more money but not more time, will buy. Real estate has a resurgence coming driven by an estimated ten million home shortfall across the country as construction fell well below replacement levels during the GFC. Millennials & Generation X number almost 140 million Americans which is twice as large as my Baby Boomer generation, so don’t look for a solution to the housing crisis which just isn’t going to happen. No growth policies and NIMBY density restrictions will continue to drive prices higher causing future generations to suffer. The challenge continues to be a scarcity of inventory with affluent areas positioned for the biggest gains due to Top 10% earning price elasticity. If the right property can be found, at the right price, in the right location, with rental income offsets Vail Valley real estate will continue to be an above average performer for reasons further explained on our web site. While there are many unknows, nuances and narratives that go along with this bold declaration, the data is undeniable given limited supply and expanding household formations. As to buying real estate during a time of crisis, it is very difficult for most people to go against the grain when the herd is stampeding in an opposite direction. It takes conviction, purpose, confidence and focus to make major decisions in times of turmoil which also brings opportunities.