I’m sure you have been hearing how good real estate has been doing during the pandemic. There have been news reports saying people have been leaving cities and heading to the suburbs. People can work from anywhere and are finding more desirable places to be. People are wanting more spaces for their family and are buying second homes. I cannot vouch for people moving out of cities and into suburbs but a lot of people have been buying homes in Summit County, which is a big second home market.
Summit County is close to Denver
As you probably know, Summit County is just about an hour or so from the Denver metro area. We have 4 ski areas within our county borders and 3 more a short drive into neighboring counties. We have Lake Dillon and Green Mountain Reservoir for your sailing, fishing, kayaking and other water activities. Summit County is approximately 80% public lands which means we have tons of hiking, biking, horseback, etc. in Wilderness Areas and National Forest lands. If you are patient and know where to look, wildlife may be spotted periodically. The pandemic caused some changes. Outdoor dining was moved to Main Street in both Breck and Frisco creating a fun new atmosphere in town. With formal events cancelled and the outdoors being safer areas to congregate, the draw to Summit County has been even stronger.
Selling & buying homes in 2020 starts out as expected
Residential real estate activity in 2020 started as a typical year. January and February were pretty close to 2019 sales & activity. Then all hell broke loose. The pandemic was here and everybody shut down. Most closings scheduled for March were able to be held together and close which let March have pretty normal sales. With everyone locked down for March and April, we really had minimal activity and, as a result, minimal sales in April and May. April sales were just 71, the fewest April sales since 2010. May sales were even worse with just 63 and the fewest for May in at least 20 years. Somehow June was able to rebound and was a typical June with 118 residential sales that month. Then it got really crazy.
A Threepeat in the second six months of 2020
Sales in the second half of the year skyrocketed. Selling and buying homes in Summit County continued on. We made up for the sales we missed in April and May and over took 2019 sales and more. In fact, Summit County residential real estate sales in 2020 ended up being the highest number of sales in the county since 2006. On top of that, there were three months in 2020 that had over 300 sales each month. In the last 20 years, there have never been three months with over 300 sales in a single year. Only one month a year, usually September or October, has exceeded 300 residential sales. That 300 sales mark has only been hit in three of the last 20 years. It is no small feat to hit 300 sales. To do it three times in one year is truly exceptional. Adding to the feat, previously, the highest 300+ sales numbers were in 2006 when September had 316 sales. 2020 outdid that one too. We had 300 sales in August, 313 sales in September and 366 in October.
Another amazing statistic
Let’s add one more factor to the mix of record setting selling and buying homes in Summit County; inventory. Inventory is the number of properties listed for sale. It has been extremely low all year. Our high inventory level in the last ten years was when we had over 2000 properties for sale in Summit County. It has been steadily declining, with seasonal fluctuations, since about 2010. Currently, we have 148 properties for sale in the county. Roughly 7% of the highs seen in the last decade, and fewer than one months of average sales in 2020.
The beginning of the year is typically a time when inventory and sales both decline. Visitors are here to ski. They enjoy their time here in the winter and most will come back in the summer to buy property in the place they love. Properties are being rented, generating higher winter income, so not as many are available for sale. Even so, last January, there were an additional 300 properties for sale. Current inventory levels are unusually low.
Will selling and buying homes in Summit County continue into 2021?
Of course it will continue. There is still buyer demand. There are still sellers selling. It will take a lot of properties coming on the market to quench the thirst of all the buyers out there. If interest rates and purchase prices push up too high and buyer and lender funds dry up, it could dampen the buyer demand. I think that scenario is unlikely though.