From 2006 to 2007, single-family homes in Summit County saw the largest increase in value out of all types of property, including vacant land. In 2007, the average sales price of a single-family or duplex in Summit County was $856,045, compared to $751,848 in 2006, for an increase of 13.8%.
The year prior saw a 15.7% increase, from $649,596 in 2005 to $751,848. From 2004 to 2005, the increase was 16.1% (average sales $559,150 in 2004). A total of 638 homes sold for 97% of their asking price and stayed on the market for an average of 145 days in 2007.
In 2007, the average price of a condo or townhome in Summit County was $417,749, compared to $338,770 in 2006 — a 23.3% increase. In 2005, the average price was $292,937, a 15.6% increase within 12 months, and the average price was $272,015 in 2004 — a 7.6% increase.
Due to the scarcity of land, Summit County lots increased more than condos in 2007. In 2004, land went for an average of $228,886. In 2005, it jumped to $285,347— a 24.6% increase. From 2005 to 2006, land rose 10.2%. From 2006 to 2007, it increased from $314,579 to $401,112 — a 27.5% increase. Land had the biggest volume of sales, at 1,487 in 2007, but it also had the longest number of days on the market out of all properties, at 227.
Anytime is a good time to buy property in Summit County. However, most rental properties are vacant during the “shoulder seasons,” between mid-April and early June, or late September to late November, so it's usually easier to get in to see the properties then. Plus, off-season is a great time to visit Summit County because many local restaurants offer 2-for-1 specials, stores give discounts and property management companies provide good deals on lodging to spruce up business.
Many properties, including single-family homes, go on the market on June 1 for the summer selling season, but winter is increasingly becoming a popular time to list properties.
No; the season you buy in doesn't make a difference in Summit County. Though business at restaurants and stores may ebb and flow from off-season to ski season, the real estate market is active year-round up here.
If you find a property you like, I suggest making an offer based on the last sale in the complex or subdivision. Be careful not to price your offer too low because doing so can frustrate sellers, causing them to ignore your offer.
If you're looking for high name recognition and the most active town in Summit County, featuring a sense of history, an arts district, a bustling Main Street with shopping and great dining, excellent recreation amenities including a state-of-the-art recreation center, an indoor ice rink, golfing and world-class skiing, look no further than Breckenridge.
Breckenridge is a bustling town that attracts young and old alike. You can live close to the action, in-town, close to the ski area with ski-in, ski-out homes and Breckenridge condominiums (both ultra luxury and older properties), on or near the golf course, on or near a stream, or just outside of town, nestled in a wooded area. Breckenridge offers everything, within one town.
One of the only downsides is that it is the farthest town in Summit County from Interstate 70, so if you travel to Denver often, you may want to choose a town closer to the interstate. Breckenridge is about 16 miles from Copper Mountain and about 9 miles from Frisco.
Frisco lies in the heart of Summit County. Though it doesn't have a ski area attached to it, it's about 7 miles from Copper Mountain and about 9 miles from Breckenridge. It's also a short drive down Interstate 70, about 6 miles, to Silverthorne, and a short distance across the Dam Road to the town of Dillon (about 6 miles). From Dillon, it's about 5 miles to Keystone Resort. It is the closest town to Summit County's hospital, which is less than 2 miles from Main Street.
Frisco is an active town with access to Lake Dillon via the Frisco Marina in the summer, and a Main Street full of historic significance, shops and great restaurants. The Frisco Peninsula offers year-round recreation, from Nordic skiing in the winter to disc golfing in the summer. Out of all of the Summit County towns without ski areas, Frisco real estate is the most expensive, since it is central to so many towns and recreation opportunities in Summit County. It is quickly running out of buildable land, so many in-town developments are teardowns.
Copper Mountain lies on the western end of Summit County. It's a great choice if you're looking for a property within a ski area, with the easiest access to Interstate 70, as Copper is right off of the highway. It is the closest resort to Vail Resort, about 21 miles over Vail Pass (which can sometimes be difficult to drive in stormy winter weather). Copper is about 11 miles from Silverthorne, which is the closest Summit County town to Denver.
Copper Mountain has grown a lot since Intrawest bought it in 1997. Intrawest, an international leader in resort operations and development, updated the ski area with high-speed quads and new world-class villages, condos, homes, shops and restaurants. Copper Mountain is now a lively part of Summit County year-round. It draws top-name musical acts for festivals during the spring and summer, and offers amazing skiing throughout the winter. The nice thing about living at Copper Mountain is its community feel. The area is small enough to interact with your neighbors, many of whom will be second homeowners. The area offers biking, hiking and horseback riding through high-alpine terrain and wetlands in the summer.
Keystone Resort is one of the three world-class ski resorts in Summit County, with three mountains, five bowls and the state's largest night skiing operation. Since the development of River Run, it has also become a hot spot in the summer, with music, art and wine festivals. It also boasts one of the country's best downhill mountain biking trail systems. Keystone is also known for its upscale restaurants that serve award-winning cuisine. The town has a very small grocery store; otherwise, the nearest large chain grocery store is about 6 miles away. Various villages throughout Keystone offer different feels: River Run, near the gondola, is the “newest kid on the block,” and as such, holds festivals in its streets, so if you like festivities and don't mind a little noise now and then, owning a condo there allows close access to the mountain. For quieter living that's still close to the base of the resort, try properties by the Mountain House. Keystone also offers single- and multi-family properties near the Snake River and Keystone Lake, as well as golf-course community living and homes nestled within the woods.
Keystone is about 8 miles southeast of Interstate 70, on Highway 6. It is the closest ski area to Arapahoe Basin, about 7 miles away. Swan Mountain Road connects Keystone to Breckenridge, but the road is somewhat steep and windy, which makes it a little tough on stormy days. While Keystone has its own 5-acre lake that offers skating in the winter and paddle-boating in the summer, it is also located a short drive (about 6 miles) from the expansive Lake Dillon, which allows motorboats.
Dillon is a quieter town than others in Summit County. It's an absolutely gorgeous place to live, because Dillon condos and homes overlook Lake Dillon, which is surrounded by snow-capped mountains. People living in town can walk to the marina, bars and restaurants, the post office, the live theater, Lake Dillon Amphitheater, Colorado Community College, the bowling alley and parks perched on the side of the lake.
But in-town living is just one aspect of Dillon real estate. Dillon is also made up of Dillon Valley, Summit Cove and a couple other neighborhoods, such as Corinthian Hill and Summerwood, both of which offer spectacular views of the lake. Dillon Valley and Summit Cove are both predominately residential areas, which tend to draw locals because they are a little more affordable. Summit Cove is just a couple miles from Keystone Resort, at the base of Swan Mountain Road, and Dillon Valley is located in a valley that runs parallel with Interstate 70. The town of Dillon is located about 6 miles from Keystone Resort and about 6 miles over the Dam Road from Frisco. It's just a couple miles from Silverthorne. Dillon has a major grocery store, a movie theater complex and other national-chain stores.
Silverthorne is the first town in Summit County that visitors arrive to when traveling west on Interstate 70 from Denver. It is about 70 miles west of Denver and 90 miles southeast of Steamboat. It is about 14 miles from Breckenridge and about 6 miles from Frisco.
Though not located within a ski area or near a large lake, Silverthorne offers a variety of recreational opportunities. It is the closest town to Green Mountain Reservoir, the closest reservoir that allows water skiing (Lake Dillon does not). One of Silverthorne's greatest assets is the Gold Medal Blue River, which draws fisherman nationwide to test their skills catching large rainbow trout. Raven Golf Club at Three Peaks is considered the No. 1 mountain golf course in Colorado. The town also has an incredible recreation center and discount shopping at 60 name-brand stores at the Outlets at Silverthorne.
Most management companies charge 40% of the gross rental income your property generates. The management fee includes housekeeping services, reservations, credit card fees and usually light maintenance (such as replacing a light bulb or fixing a leaking faucet).
If you shop around, some management companies charge 30%. However, beware of other hidden costs within the structure of these management companies. Many will charge you (or your guests) for credit card fees, cleaning fees and more. Make sure you clarify exactly what you are getting and what additional services you'll have to pay for when working with any management company.
Here's a list of current rents as of summer, 2008, in the local newspaper. Rent can go up slightly once the ski season comes around, and it's often easiest to find renters then (the downside to renting then is that some people just want to stay for the winter season, leaving your unit empty in the summer to put on the rental market again; however, it's relatively easy to rent out a unit in Summit County nearly anytime of the year). Rental rates are also subject to vary by location in a town, and by amenities included.
Breckenridge: Studio to 1-bedroom: $700-$1,200, 2-bedroom: $1250-$1,600 ($2,500 for premium, short walk to slopes), 3-bedroom: $1,750, 4-bedroom: $3,500
Dillon: 1-bedroom condo: $825-$1,000; 2-bedroom: $1,400, 3-bedroom: $1,600-$1,800
Frisco: Studio: $775, 1-bedroom: $1,100, 2-bedroom: $1,250-$1,500
Keystone: 2-bedroom: $1,200-2,000, 3-bedroom: $1,700
Silverthorne: Studio: $650-$975, 1-bedroom: $1,250, 2-bedroom: $875-$1,500, 3-bedroom: $1,600-$2,000
Short-term rental rates vary wildly from season to season, night to night and location to location. Most management companies take 40% of the nightly rate; those that charge less usually also charge additional fees. It's best to call a management company for exact prices your unit would fetch, but here's an idea of what an in-town Breckenridge condo would rent for (before management fees), depending on the season (the peak season is Christmas through New Year's). Short-term rentals outside of Breckenridge would be about 20% less, unless they are at Keystone or Copper Mountain Resort. Also, ski-in, ski-out properties go for much more — as much as $800 or more a night during the peak Christmas season for a 1 bedroom.
Breckenridge in-town rates (not ski-in, ski-out):
1 bedroom: $95-$325/night
2 bedroom: $125-$450/night
3 bedroom: $175-$895/night
In total, the tax rate for Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne is 7.775%. It's 8.275% for Breckenridge. Each town also has an additional lodging tax for short-term rentals, which ranges from 2%-2.4%.
Property taxes in Summit County are relatively low, because there are a lot of more expensive second homes to help pay for town and county services. The government determines property taxes by multiplying the tax rate (set locally) by the assessed property value.
County assessors calculate assessed values by multiplying the actual market value of residential properties by 9.74%. (This percentage is subject to change through the Colorado Legislature.)
Every year, county commissioners, city councils, school boards and special districts hold budget hearings to decide how much money they'll need for annual operations. They set a tax rate (or mill levy) based on the total value of taxable property.
In 2007 (for collection in 2008), the average mill levy in Summit County was 51.610, or 5.1610%. If a home is worth $600,000, it would be multiplied by 9.74% to calculate the value assessment percentage of $58,440. The tax bill would be calculated as follows:
Actual ($600,000) x 9.74% (or $58,440) x .05160 = $3,015.50.
The following table shows the home's worth and the amount of taxes due in 2008, using the average mill levy in Summit County:
$100,000 = $502.58
$200,000 = $1005.16
$300,000 = $1507.75
$400,000 = $2010.33
$500,000 = $2512.92
$600,000 = $3,015.50
$700,000 = $3,518.08
$800,000 = $4,020.67
$900,000 = $4,523.25
$1,000,000 = $5,025.84
The transfer tax is usually tax deductible, as it goes to the towns for recreation centers, transportation, etc.
In Frisco and Breckenridge, the transfer tax is 1%, though new Breckenridge developments on Peak 7 and 8 (One Ski Hill Place and Crystal Peak Lodge) are 2% or more. For newer condos in River Run Village in Keystone, it's 2%, and for newer Copper Mountain condos, it's 1.5%. Dillon and Blue River do not have transfer taxes.
One reason Summit County property is more expensive than property in Denver is because the Front Range has more land available for development. Summit County just doesn't have that much land to develop, because the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management administer about 80% of its land.
Another compelling reason Summit County property is more expensive lies in the tourism and recreation industry. Summit County boasts three world-class ski resorts, plus Arapahoe Basin, a locals' favorite, which just expanded by 80% with the opening of Montezuma Bowl. Lake Dillon reservoir, as well as festivals and events that resorts and towns hold in the summer, are also a big tourist draw. The region draws visitors worldwide. In the 1990s, Summit County ranked among the fastest growing regions in the nation, and today it continues to grow at a high rate.
Because Summit County is a straight-shot up Interstate 70 from Denver, about 70 miles, it is a very popular weekend and vacation destination for people who live in Denver and along the Front Range. Many Front Rangers buy second homes in Summit County to spend weekends there.
Compared to Vail and Aspen, Summit County real estate prices are still a deal. In Eagle County, which is where Vail is located, the average price for all transactions in 2007 was $1,101,375, which was an increase of nearly 25% over 2006 figures. This compares to an average 2007 sales for all transactions of $558,302 in Summit County.
In Aspen, the numbers are even bigger. The average price of a single-family home in 2007 was $4,648,584 (over $4.6 million, compared to Summit County's $856,045). The average price of a multi-family home in 2007 was $1,450,226 (compared to Summit County's $417,749), and the average price of land that year was $2,386,360 (compared to Summit County's $401,112).
As you can see, for the recreation, convenience to Denver and Denver International Airport, and amenities Summit County offers, real estate is a deal, when compared to other mountain towns that are farther from Denver and offer world-class resorts.