The local real estate market has found its footing again in the past few years in the wake of the nationwide economic slump that first hit in 2008. Brokers in the western valley are particularly busy. The most recent figures are available from Land Title Guarantee Co. — which covers transactions recorded through the Eagle County Clerk & Recorder’s Office in August. Those figures show the town of Eagle with the most sales of any single area.
Tucked in among questions about potty-training and plumber recommendations, the popular Vail Moms Facebook page recently featured an urgent appeal for housing from Ariel Graham.
Graham isn’t a single, ski season transient. She is the married mother of a 4-year-old and a 9-month-old and she actually grew up in the valley. She moved away to attend college but she always wanted to return to her hometown. The trouble is, even though both Graham and her husband are employed full-time, they are having a very difficult time making their move work.
If you apply for a seasonal job at Venture Sports – or just about anywhere else in the valley – then one question is going to come up at the beginning of the interview: Do you have a place to live? “If you don’t have housing, I won’t promise you a job until you get here and show me a lease,” Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said. “If you show up and don’t have a place and then leave, I’m doubly out of luck.”
With that in mind, though, Brumbaugh said he’s doing pretty well getting his stores ready for the winter, estimating that all three Venture Sports stores have about 70 percent of their winter employees hired.
The local economy is humming along at the moment, but there are some blotches in the picture. That was the overall opinion of several local experts at Wednesday’s Vail Valley Business Forum, a joint production of the Vail Symposium and the Vail Valley Partnership, the valleywide chamber of commerce. That forum provided a good look at the county’s economic picture.
On the heels of the latest news on Vail’s housing plan, now is a good time to roll out facts and perspective on the lower end of the non-deed restricted housing market across Eagle County — the niches in the traditional real estate market where buyers are looking for suitable starter homes and where savvy employers acquire rental properties to house their key employees.
The availability of sufficient workforce housing has been a perennial problem in the Vail Valley, but this past year it reached a critical mass. It was the No. 1 concern in the recent town survey as business owners are saying they are working longer hours as they struggle to offset a shortage of employees; some are even giving serious consideration to closing up shop and leaving the area. And on the other side of the cash register, there are growing complaints about the availability of service in the businesses. In some ways, we are fast approaching a perfect storm.
A friend sent me a newspaper column that focused on the community impacts resulting from a lack of workforce housing along the Oregon coast. It outlined the case of tourism-driven communities whose housing crisis can’t be solved by the freemarket alone and whose communities are negatively impacted by the lack of affordable housing options.
This town’s chronic housing shortage is as bad now as it ever has been. But what will the town, its residents and its businesses do about it? Alan Nazzaro, the town’s housing director, has only been on the job about a year, but he’s spent most of the past several
months assessing the town’s shortage, and working on a plan to help alleviate it. Nazzaro
is now putting the finishing touches on a plan that could actually produce some new housing in and around the town in the next three to five years.
With ski season winding down in Colorado’s high country and the Denver and Boulder housing markets so strong, real estate experts say Front Range buyers appear to be turning their attention to second-home and investment opportunities in the state’s major ski-town markets.
Shrinking housing inventories increase cost of housing: A leader in the local development and real estate industry tells the Vail Homeowners Association that the current inventory of available housing in Vail is less than both normal (1,400 units) and prerecession
(2,400 units) levels, standing at 1,100 units by the end of 2015. It is this lack of inventory that is driving up housing prices.