record pace continues


by: Scout Walton

The Gunnison-Crested Butte real estate market continued its fervid pace in April breaking more records.  Comparing the twelve months ending April 30, 2021 to the two prior twelve-month periods, sold listing volume in 2021 grew by 78% over 2020 and 45% over 2019.  Dollar volume for this same period in 2021 more than doubled over both prior years (see Note 1 below).  Focusing in on the monthly volumes for the first four months of 2021, the story is even more pronounced: 2021 is outpacing 2020 and 2019 by 2-3 times (see the charts below).

All data sourced from CREN MLS for market areas in Gunnison County

All data sourced from CREN MLS for market areas in Gunnison County

What segments of the market are registering more of this amazing growth? 


The North Valley accounts for a little over half of the total number of sold listings and more than two-thirds of the dollar value of those closings.  Residential sales represent approximately two-thirds of the sold listings and more than 75% of the dollar volume.  Land sales still contribute about one-third of the total sold listings in the County, but the actual number of closings during the twelve months ending April 2021 has exploded (see chart below).  Sold land listings in 2021 are up 125% over 2020 and 56% over 2019 and the dollar value of these closings is up in 2021 by 146% and 108% over the two prior twelve-month periods.

All data sourced from CREN MLS for market areas in Gunnison County

In the Crested Butte area at the north end of the Valley, the story for residential and land sales is much the same, only the performance over prior years is more staggering.  411 residential listings were sold in the twelve months ending April 30, 2021 compared to 229 sold listings in 2020 and 271 in 2019.  The dollar volume for the 2021 North Valley residential closings in 2021 was more than double that of 2020 and 2019.


As for North Valley land, 210 listings were sold in the twelve months ending April 30, 2021 compared to 79 in 2020 and 134 in 2019.  The dollar value of these 2021 closings was more than 2-3 times that of the two prior 12-month periods.


Where are the opportunities?


The coronavirus has triggered a massive shift in how people live their lives.  More time at home due to remote working (and schooling) accentuated the underlying attraction of the mountain west for many city folk coupled with some urban unrest, favorable financial markets and the perception of a safer environment.  In addition, the Gunnison-Crested Butte area has a unique collection of desirable attributes compared to our ski town competitors, including: drop-dead scenic beauty and year-round recreation; authentic, down-home community vibe; quality schools, healthcare and airport; Vail Resorts commitment to quality; smaller market and lower price points.  These macro and micro factors are still converging to propel the current frenzy through the summer and likely into the next ski season. 


The opportunity for sellers, and would-be sellers, is to cash-in on higher prices and lower competition among listed sellers.  During the last 12 months, North Valley residential and land average prices are up 18% and 30%, respectively.  At the same time, the supply of active MLS listings is at an all-time low: less than 5 months’ supply for residential and 10 months’ supply for land (compared to pre-pandemic levels of 10-20 months and 20-120 months for residential and land, respectively).  In addition, rising land values and construction costs will contribute to higher residential prices in the near term.  Finally, increasing vaccination levels and relaxing public health orders is fueling travel demand in the Gunnison Valley.  Advance bookings are up over last summer, which will translate into a steady stream of potential buyers.


The opportunity for buyers is to cash in on historically low interest rates (see chart below).  The Federal Reserve has communicated its intention to maintain its interbank lending rate at near-zero levels into 2022.  Mindful that a 1% increase in mortgage rates equates to a 10% decrease in loan amount (holding the debt service payment amount constant), buyers’ purchasing power has never been better.  Further, even though the number of properties active in the MLS is dramatically lower, Gunnison-Crested Butte still has more inventory than most competing markets.  Finally, new listings are coming to market every day, including the prospect of new developments on the horizon (stay tuned!).  

How to LIV the life you love?


To the extent that the virus and other macro-shifts have caused you to reconsider your real estate dreams, the broker professionals at LIV Sotheby’s International Realty in Crested Butte (LIV CB) can help.  As the perennial market leader, LIV CB closed 18% more buyer and seller transaction sides twelve months ending in April 2021 than the next two local brokerage firms (see the chart below).  We are home to five of the top 25 active brokers in the MLS (including the number one agent for many years running), more than any other firm.  Intensifying competition requires proactive monitoring of the ever-changing market dynamics (including changes in “shadow inventory”), a professional approach to pricing and valuation and seasoned negotiation and transaction management to navigate an environment of aggressive deal terms (e.g. escalation clauses, appraisal gaps, inspection waivers). 


Please give us a call!

All data sourced from CREN MLS for market areas in Gunnison County

Note 1:   The sale of a large ranch property located in the southwest portion of Gunnison County closed in January 2021 for $27 million, which skews the analysis of the broader market for more typical properties sold in the local area.

Note 2:   All transaction data cited above is from Gunnison County closings sourced from Colorado Real Estate Network MLS.

Note 3: The firm comparison chart was labeled wrong and includes the past 12 months of sales.