With $235 million in transactions, August raises roof on Summit County real estate sales


Capping off a blockbuster summer for Summit County's real estate sales was the most active month so far this year.

Summer is always the strongest time of the year for real estate sales in the High Country, but the number of transactions and volume of sales for August absolutely blew the roof off just about everything else on record.

For example, August 2017 was an exceptionally strong month for property sales as well, but this August crushed it with the number of transactions, overall sales volume, most expensive sale and number of luxury homes sold all vastly exceeding what they were the same month a year ago.

"It's almost like every month continues to get better," said Dennis Clauer, broker and owner of Real Estate of the Summit, referencing the county's continuously improving statistics for sales volume and value added on Summit County properties.


Records at the Summit County assessor's office show 317 property transactions worth over $235 million in August. Compare that to August 2017, when the assessor had 265 sales for $163 million on file, and it shows just how big the month was for the real estate market, which has been consistently breaking records since emerging from the recession.

According to Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate's monthly report, August was the most active month so far this year with 199 residential transactions alone worth $172 million combined.

The month also saw more luxury housing sales — defined as any home sold at or over $1 million — than any other month in Summit County history with 54. It should be noted Slifer Smith and Frampton, like other real estate firms, tracks the market with MLS data, which doesn't always match perfectly with local property records. Still, both are highly reliable methods to track market trends.

It's not terribly hard to track the luxury housing record because the county previously broke it in July. Slifer Smith and Frampton noted in its latest report that one out of every five transactions in Summit County this year has been for a luxury home.

The most expensive housing sale in August was for a 3,729-square-foot, five-bedroom home with 6.5 bathrooms in Breckenridge's Timber Trail subdivision, which went for $4.5 million. However, a little over three acres of grazing land along the Green Mountain Reservoir sold for $6.6 million, marking the month's most expensive property sale.

Additionally, year-to-date residential sales volume is over $800 million for the second time after barely eclipsing $600 million in 2016, according to Slifer Smith and Frampton. Sales volume, residential volume, land transactions and $1 million-plus sales are all up anywhere from 3 to 12 percent.

However, the available inventory remains extremely low with 533 residential property listings and 734 listings for land and residential properties across Summit County, which Slifer Smith and Frampton says is "the lowest in the last decade for September."

Additionally, the number of days the average home spends on the market is at an all-time low while the average sales price and price per square foot are at all-time highs.

Because sales can take a little while to be recorded, Summit's hot summer of housing sales should continue showing up on the monthly sales reports through September before slowing down in October as the county begins to enter one of the slowest times of year for the market. Still, Clauer sees no signs of a slowdown outside regular market trends.

"I don't want to sound like a broken record, but as the Dow Jones Industrial Average approaches the 27,000-point mark, there's been a tremendous amount of wealth created over the last couple years and people are spreading money around (by investing in real estate)," Clauer said, adding that with those profits, more people have the ability to invest in the higher-end market and many sellers, and even buyers, have benefited greatly from that.


This Colorado ZIP code is the 2nd-hottest in the nationColorado has three ZIP codes on Realtor.com's list of the 50 "hottest" across the U.S. in 2018.


Colorado Springs has the No. 2 spot on Realtor.com's new list of the "2018 Top 10 Hottest ZIP Codes."

The rankings are derived from an analysis of 32,000 ZIP codes, based on the time it takes properties to sell and how frequently homes are viewed in each ZIP code on Realtor.com.

Colorado Springs' 80922 ZIP code, which received an overall "hotness" score of 99.3, has a median listing price of $297,811. Homes remain on the market an average of 15 days, about 19 days faster than the rest of El Paso County.

The number of households in 80922 grew 21 percent between 2010 and 2018, and 80 percent of residents of all ages are homeowners. Among millennials, 68 percent are homeowners.

The No. 1 "hottest" ZIP code in the U.S. is Kentwood, Michigan (49508). After Colorado Springs' 80922 are ZIP codes in Watauga, Texas (76148), Castro Valley, California (94546) and Peabody, Massachusetts (09160).

Other Colorado ZIP codes among the top 50 are Greeley's 80631 (No. 44, "hotness" score of 93.4) and Broomfield's 80021 (No. 48, "hotness score of 93.0).

Read the full report here.


Colorado could raise property tax rates for short-term rentals like Airbnb

Change could cause an increase from the 7.2 percent of value taxed for residential to 29 percent for commercial

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
Home owner John Krauklis is pictured inside the newly renovated living room of his VRBO in Capitol Hill on February 29, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. He operates this house as a short term vacation rental throughout the year.

As elected officials across Colorado struggle to avoid steep budget cuts to rural fire stations, libraries and other public services, one group is looking to short-term rentals such as Airbnbs for a possible solution.

Right now, those properties are valued and taxed as homes. But a draft bill awaiting approval from the Alternatives to the Gallagher Amendment Interim Study Committee would make owners pay commercial property tax rates for every short-term rental, which is defined as a property that’s available for rent for periods shorter than 30 days.

“We have people who don’t live in the area who own 10 or 15 condos,” said Beverly Breakstone, the assessor in Summit County, which is home to Breckenridge and other resort communities. “We’re thinking from the fairness point of view.”

Assessment rates are basically what portion of your property’s value can be taxed. A state constitutional amendment called Gallagher sets those rates, and in 2018 it was 7.2 percent for residential and 29 percent for commercial.

If the owner lives in part of the house, it would be taxed like a bed and breakfast, where the private parts of the home are assessed at the residential property tax rate. If the owner doesn’t live in the house, the whole house would be taxed like a commercial property.

The change would create more commercial property in the state, which means it would change how Gallagher is calculated and potentially reverse the trend of falling property taxes across rural Colorado.

In Summit County, where about one in five homes is used as a short-term rental, Legislative Council Staff estimated this could raise the amount of assessed value in the county by 63 percent. In Mineral County, the increase could be as high as 51 percent.

That’s a lot of extra potential dollars for counties staring down the barrel of a constitutional trigger that’s expected to cut residential property taxes by 15 percent in 2019.

“Here it makes a difference on whether the fire department is funded,” Mineral County Assessor Libby Lamb said.