In the 1850s and 1860s people flocked to Colorado for the Gold Rush. In the present day, people are doing the same except they’re looking to strike it rich in real estate. The post-recession housing rebound in Colorado has bounced back like a rubber ball on the moon. In other words, it’s still ascending with no end in sight. With inventory at an all-time low and housing prices rising yearly since 2012, now may be a great time to get in on the action before supply runs out.
Colorado has seen over a half million people move to the state from 2009-2016 and many of them have come from lucrative industries like oil and tech, creating a competitive housing market. Rent prices have gone up, while availability has decreased. Many people are now turning to home ownership, but the demand is high and the supply is low. There are still some homes for sale out there and with a median listing price of $450,000, Winter Park remains a desirable location with mountain amenities, without the mountain prices that are prevalent in towns like Aspen, Telluride, and Vail.
Compared to Winter Park, buyers dollars only go half as far in Aspen where the median sales price for homes is $875,000. Telluride is next at $756,000, followed by Vail at $563,000. While all those towns are known for their ski resorts and other outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and camping, so is Winter Park. The latter has one other advantage that those pricier ski towns don’t have: its proximity to Denver. You can get from Denver International Airport to the ski slopes in less than two hours making it a great option for a second home. Being so close means small town living with big city amenities that are always within reach.
Most cities and towns in Colorado saw real estate prices plummet when the market crashed in 2008 and Winter Park was no exception. Property values went down about 20-percent and very little land was sold after that time. While prices in Denver and most mountain towns recovered dramatically in the years since, Winter Park’s prices increased slowly, making it a smart place to invest in.
It wasn’t until 2015 that the market really started to take off with a post-recession record of $168 million in total sales. From 2016 to 2017 Winter Park saw a sales price increase of 21% and from 2017 to 2018 the market trends indicated an increase of $157,800 or 55% in median home sales. This means that 2018 is on track to smash the previous best year to date. Condos saw fewer units sold, but a price increase of 14%. Investors still see land as a finite commodity and while purchasing property is a small portion of the overall real estate sales, the number of listings sold is up over 50% in the last year and the prices for land have shot up 78% in a single year. The rising numbers show confidence in the market and there doesn’t appear to be any indication of it topping out.
Total sales in 2017 were $274 million compared to $207 in 2016. The old record of $244 million in 2006 is long gone. With inventory being low and prices continuing to rise, competition for the most sought after properties becomes fierce, with many homes going under contract within the first week they are on the market. These properties are often sold for the list price or even higher offers.
Despite the record-breaking numbers, one reason that Winter Park real estate is still a good investment looking into the future is the ski industry. In 2017, Alterra Mountain Company. acquired Steamboat and Winter Park Resort. Previous owners, Intrawest Resorts sold the resorts in a $1.5 billion deal to Alterra, increasing their portfolio to compete against the largest resort operator, Vail Resorts. In 2002, when Intrawest purchased Winter Park, the area saw a real estate boom and if 2017-2018 real estate records are any proof, the same upswing is occurring. With ski resort passes covering more mountains, people are traveling to different resorts more than ever, which means savvy investors are snatching up properties looking to make a buck on appreciation and generate short-term rental income.
While Intrawest invested $50 million into ski resort improvements, Alterra Mountain Company is on a different level financially with backers like KSL Capital Partners. The acquisition will likely lead to mountain upgrades and real estate plans will be turned over to private developers. Some locals fear that Winter Park might turn into Aspen, with increased prices negatively affecting the family atmosphere of the town, but Alterra has made it clear they will preserve the culture of the community, which can only help to improve the real estate market.
After analyzing real estate trends and comparing the market in multiple Colorado mountain towns, it would appear that Winter Park is a safe town to bet on to invest into the future. The recent ski resort merger will provide a boost to the market so there has been no better time to get in on the affordable outdoor lifestyle that Winter Park provides. The only challenge presented to buyers may be the amount of inventory available, which is why it’s important to develop a relationship with a local realtor so that they understand the wants and needs of the buyer to match them with the right property when it happens to come on the market.
Contact the team at Coldwell Banker Mountain Properties to review your options for available properties, from duplexes to single-family homes, to semi-custom new construction homesites in the Lakota community. Featuring views of the Continental Divide, Winter Park and Mary Jane resorts, Lakota is nestled along Arapaho National Forest and provides easy access music, art, shopping, and dining experiences, as well as recreational opportunities like over 600 miles of trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, biking, and hiking.