Summit County’s luxury real estate market remains strong headed into 2022

Jan Leopold, broker for Re/Max Properties of the Summit, helped sell this home, pictured in July. The home is on Slalom Drive in Breckenridge, and according to the Summit County Assessor’s Office, its sale price was $2.5 million.
Jonathan Huffman/Courtesy photo

The reason why so many people are interested in purchasing a second home in Summit County isn’t a mystery. The area boasts plenty of recreational opportunities year-round, the scenery is impeccable, and it’s the first big stop along the westbound Interstate 70 mountain corridor, boasting four ski resorts.

These perks combined with the pandemic’s boost in remote working has created a hot real estate market in Summit County all year long — and especially so for the luxury market.

Jan Leopold, broker for Re/Max Properties of the Summit, said that in 2020, there was about twice as much inventory on the market than there is today, and in 2019, there was nearly 4.5 times as much as there is today. The low amount of inventory creates a strong seller’s market, and Leopold said many of these buyers are making cash offers.

According to data from the Summit Association of Realtors, Leopold said there were about 110 units on the market as of mid-November, and 63 of those were considered to be luxury or priced at $1 million or more. This means most of the inventory that is available is considered luxury.

In total, sales for luxury units were the strongest in the third quarter of 2021, according to Land Title Guarantee Co.’s monthly reports. The third quarter of the year raked in nearly $500 million in gross volume for sales priced at $1 million or more. Second quarter was close behind with about $420 million in gross sales. First quarter lagged behind at just more than $240 million.

Land Title’s reports show that Breckenridge consistently has the highest volume in transactions. However, Marc Warshawsky, Realtor for nationwide real estate firm Compass, said Silverthorne is usually a close second, followed by Frisco. Warshawsky said he believes Silverthorne’s strong market is due not only to the town’s growth, but also its prime location in the county.

“It’s very desirable from a lot of perspectives,” Warshawsky said. “Silverthorne has a lot of great views, and Silverthorne is right off of (Interstate) 70. It is the closest, easiest access to Denver, to the airport. It’s the first town you arrive to, and then if you’re not living in Breckenridge, Silverthorne is actually the most conveniently located to everything else.”

So far this year, Warshawsky’s biggest sale was a $2.8 million home with five bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms in the Highlands at Breckenridge. He said most of his buyers are looking for homes in the $1 million to $3 million range and that most are not moving to the county full time but are looking for a vacation home. Similar to Leopold, most of Warshawsky’s buyers are coming from Texas, Illinois and Florida.

Leopold said about half her business is in luxury real estate. Her highest sale so far this year was a $2.7 million home with four bedrooms and 3 1/3 bathrooms in Breckenridge. She’s been selling in the county’s real estate market for over 20 years and said she’s seeing a change in the kinds of homes most desired as of late.

“Big is back. … We used to have the bigger homes before the Great Recession, and then people started looking toward smaller homes and building smaller homes,” Leopold said. “So big is back with the open floor plans designed for multigenerational gatherings, a compound that their extended family can come to for vacation.”

Like the more affordable residential real estate market, buyers might have to exercise patience if they are looking for a specific piece of property. Not only is there not as much inventory on the market, but according to the Summit Association of Realtors, the average number of days a unit was on the market in Breckenridge in October was 31, which is down 72{d4d1dfc03659490934346f23c59135b993ced5bc8cc26281e129c43fe68630c9} compared to the same month last year. The association reported last year that the average number of days a unit was on the market until it sold was 112.