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Vail, Breckenridge Hot Spots for Vacation Homes

Posted at Mar 26, 2021 12:23:52 PM by Pat O'Connor

buying a second home colorado

While the real estate market along Colorado’s Front Range continues to sizzle, sales of vacation and second-homes in the mountains are setting a blistering pace as well.

According to a recent report by the National Association of Realtors, home sales in ski towns increased 36 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020. In fact, buyer activity in mountain towns was higher than that of warmer areas of the country.

Two Colorado towns -- Vail and Breckenridge -- made it into the top 7 of most popular destinations for people buying a vacation home, according to Vacasa, a vacation rental management firm. The study found that the median home cost in Vail was $648,651; Breckenridge was $588,324.

The company analyzed home sales data from the last 12 months in popular vacation destinations and ranked the markets using their cap rate, and factoring averages for property taxes, utilities, homeowner association fees, insurance and property management fees, and median home costs. Vail ranked 5th while Breckenridge came in 7th.

Since the pandemic hit a year ago, many people owning vacation homes decided to take up permanent residence in their second homes. For some, it was a temporary move; others decided it was time to ditch city living and take advantage of residing in a small town.

Home Sales in Vail are Skyrocketing

According to an article in the Vail Daily, the total sales volume in February in the Vail Valley increased 59 percent compared to February of last year. Additionally, there has been a 24 percent increase in the number of homes sold year-over-year (February 2020 compared to February 2021). 

Vail’s proximity to the Front Range, its inclusive community, world-class skiing facilities and numerous summer activities comprise just some of the reasons people choose to have a permanent, retirement or second-home in the valley.

A vacation home offers many advantages. First and foremost, it provides an opportunity to enjoy the mountains with a home base. No more need to plan ahead, book hotel rooms and schlep equipment back and forth. Furthermore, people living along the Front Range and out-of-staters appreciate the option of renting out their second-homes when not using them to subsidize the mortgage or property improvements. Homeowners have the flexibility to establish dates they will be using the property and open their homes to short-term renters for the rest of the time.

Single-Family Homes Offer Privacy, Control Over Costs

If you’re considering purchasing a second-home, a single-family home provides the utmost in privacy, security, space and comfort. A free-standing structure has the advantage of less noise from neighbors (and no shared walls) and often a backyard/outdoor space where you can entertain your family and friends. Many single-family homes have attached or detached garages, which come in handy when it’s cold and snowing. 

In most circumstances, single-family homes tend to appreciate and serve as a valuable tool to diversify your investment portfolio. Depending upon the location and the market, homeowners often seek double-digit returns on their investment. Furthermore, if you decide to rent out your home when it’s not being used, you can take advantage of the passive income. 

Many people prefer having control over the costs associated with their second home. If you own a single-family home, you can choose your own insurance company, internet provider and sometimes even the garbage collector. Also, you can decide on appropriate exterior finishes you want on your home and what additions would be advantageous to give it your personal touch. Sometimes, homeowners’ associations have regulations regarding what  can and can’t be done in the community so keep that in mind as well.

Condos are Affordable, Convenient and Often Have Great Amenities

That being said, many people prefer to purchase a condo. Condominium living has become more and more popular, especially among people looking for amenities, an easy lifestyle and less stress when owning a second-home. Whether you’re looking for a home near the slopes, close to downtown or amenities you don’t have with your primary residence, a condo often fills the need.

When escaping to a mountain home, many people want conveniences that improve their experience and allow them to relax. Condominium or townhome developments often include fitness centers, swimming pools, common areas and other amenities that make for easy living. You can focus on your outdoor activities and pursuits without thinking about repairs, upkeep, cleaning or shoveling. A condo provides a great way of “downsizing” and physically bringing your family and friends closer together.

Many condos are close to the downtown area and provide easy access to restaurants, parks, bike/walking trails and entertainment.

Keep in mind that the majority of multi-family homes come with homeowners’ association fees. These fees cover the pool and common grounds maintenance, trash removal, some utilities and other costs. Make sure you understand the fees and do your own research. 

See Homes For Sale in Colorado Mountain Towns

Vacation Homes Can Generate Income, Help with Expenses

Many travelers appreciate the opportunity to rent entire homes or large condos in order to accommodate extended families or groups of friends. By offering people a variety of accommodations when traveling for business or pleasure, online short-term rentals have opened up a whole new way for people to enjoy their time away from home. No longer stuck with hotel rooms or expensive property-managed condos, travelers enjoy flexibility and often less expensive lodging options through Airbnb and other online rental platforms. 

For people who have second homes, having the opportunity to rent out their properties when they aren’t using them provides extra income and security knowing that the home isn’t sitting vacant. Property owners can select the time frames they’ll be using their home and rent it out the rest of the time. This is an easy way to help pay off your mortgage, build equity and invest in your future. 

If you’re thinking about purchasing a second home in the Vail Valley or Summit County, please contact us at Usaj Realty. We are passionate about providing excellent service and look forward to finding your dream home in the mountains.

Posted by Pat O'Connor

Pat O’Connor has dual citizenship in both Wisconsin and Colorado, having been born and raised in Wisconsin Dells, but later adopted by the Centennial State. A graduate of the University of Colorado (B.S. Journalism, 1980), O’Connor began her career as a sportswriter at the Boulder Daily Camera under the tutelage of the venerable Dan Creedon. Her experience also includes stints in public relations at Aspen Highlands Ski Area, the Colorado Trial Lawyers and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. When she isn’t piecing together sentences, the self-proclaimed “Cheesehead” enjoys hanging out with her three kids and assortment of family pets, running, playing golf, hiking 14ers, horseback riding and skiing. As a mother to two (at one time three) competitive swimmers, her favorite fragrance is eau de chlorine. During football season, she can be found cheering for the Buffs on Saturdays and screaming when the Packers score on Sundays. She loves talking sports and giving recommendations on cheese curds.

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