The work-from-home trend has buyers looking for an escape in the mountains
KEYSTONE — Despite a dismal April and May, Summit County Realtors are seeing a shocking jump in the market.
The past two weeks have been record-breaking for Land Title Guarantee Co., which oversees 90% of business in Summit County. Land Title Director of Sales and Marketing Brooke Roberts said June orders were up 116% from June 2019.
A major factor in Land Title’s jump in business is that the company recently hired two additional closers from Stewart Title, who brought their business with them. However, the jump in activity is being seen across Summit County and in other resort markets.
Roberts said her counterpart in Eagle County is seeing a similar jump, and she’s even heard of a steady market in Tahoe, California.
“This was a complete shock to me and my entire staff at Land Title,” she said. “We had absolutely no idea this was going to happen.”
Leah Canfield, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties, said Summit County had 282 properties go under contract in June, 30% of which were priced above $1 million.
“On a personal level, we’ve been getting a lot of calls. We’ve been extremely busy showing property,” Canfield said. “Last weekend, I showed four clients property on Saturday. Our team put together six contracts over the weekend, which is a lot.”
Dennis Clauer, owner and broker at Real Estate of the Summit, said his company has “no doubt” seen an uptick in activity.
“We’ve seen a substantial uptick in the number of showings in our company,” he said.
Realtors have a number of potential theories for the uptick in sales. Clauer said he believes the pause in the market in March, April, and May created built-up demand.
“Part of what is happening now is that we’re seeing people that may have paused are getting back into the market,” he said. “They had intentions of making an investment previously. With things shut down … there wasn’t really even an opportunity to have prospective buyers come up and stay.”
Now that short-term rentals and lodging are running, Clauer said more of his clients are coming up and viewing properties.
Canfield said Summit County itself is unique in that it doesn’t have room to sprawl, creating low inventory, which ultimately drives up pricing.
“Our lack of available land and our inability to sprawl in our area creates a stabilization,” she said. “Our prices are going to continue to climb because of the lack of supply and growth that we face.”
Canfield, Roberts, and Clauer agreed that Summit County’s resort activities bring in buyers. Now that the pandemic has proven that working from home is a possibility, second-home owners are looking for an escape in the mountains.
“The demographics are changing,” Clauer said. “Rental income is not as important — more of an oasis for people to enjoy time with their family. If they can’t move here full time, many are fully expecting that their careers will allow them to spend a significant amount of time here and work here rather than tethered to an office.”
Regardless of the reasoning behind the boom, Realtors agree it’s a promising sign for the future of the county’s real estate market.
“It’s extremely optimistic,” Canfield said. “We were saying in April and March that we felt like we were going to come out of this strong because of people in the Front Range and some of our feeder states … they all want to be here more now than ever really in light of recent events.”