Despite the moderate snowfall this past ski season, the builders, investors, buyers, and sellers in the Summit County real estate market hope to ride the wave of increasing nationwide sales.  The National Association of Realtors® reported a surge in investment and vacation-home sales in 2011.

Summit County Colorado homes for sale include ski resort real estate in Breckenridge and Keystone, along with vacation homes near rivers or streams, and Lake Dillon homes, as well as secluded mountain cabins and elegant country homes in and around Breckenridge and Blue River and Summit County golf-course homes.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, “Sales of investment and vacation homes jumped in 2011, with the combined market share rising to the highest level since 2005.”  A survey conducted by the organization covered existing homes and new-home transactions throughout the United States.The survey of transactions in 2011 reveals a steep uptick from 749,000 investment-home sales in 2010 to over 1.2 million in 2011.  That is a phenomenal 64.5 percent increase.  Sales of vacation homes nationally also rose (albeit only 7 percent), while owner-occupied purchases fell 15.5 percent.

Real estate investors jumped into the market for many reasons.  Interest rates remain low and home prices are down.  Investors see that their money will more readily pay off through rental income than through bank account interest.  Many of these buyers are small-time investors and first-time investors capitalizing on the surplus of bank-owned real estate.The distressed market accounted for half of the investment-home purchases and 39 percent of vacation-home purchases.

RIS Media reported additional information in their March 29, 2012 article entitled, “NAR: Investment and Vacation Home Sales Surge in 2011.”  Almost half of the investment buyers in 2011 paid cash as did 42 percent of vacation-homebuyers.  In addition, buyers who financed purchases with mortgages contributed large cash down payments to the transactions.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun explained a large number of cash purchases.“Given the tight credit in recent years, many would-be normal homebuyers for owner occupancy declined.”

The typical investment-home and vacation-home buyer in 2011 had a median age of 50 years and earned over $85,000 annually.  Generally, investment homes were purchased within an average 25 miles of the owners’ primary residences.  A good number were purchased for the use of family members, i.e. school housing and most are in suburban areas.  These investors plan to hold onto the properties for a median 5 years.

The typical vacation home purchased in 2011 was located a median 305 miles from primary residences.  A third of the vacation homes were within 100 miles of primary residences with another third more than 500 miles away.  Vacation/recreation properties are in rural or suburban locations.

Vacation-home buyers plan to keep their vacation properties for a median of 10 years.  A good number of these buyers are younger households looking for long-term investments.Almost a third plan to use the properties as primary residences in the future.

For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

In 1960, a simple mountain lifestyle infused Breckenridge real estate in Summit County Colorado with quiet seclusion for the town’s few hundred residents.  The Summit County Development Corporation sought to start a ski area at the southern end of the Ten Mile Range.  The move would begin the expansion of Victorian Breckenridge CO real estate to include resort condominiums, Breckenridge golf course real estate, and exclusive Breckenridge mountain homes.

Breckenridge Ski Resort opened as “Peak 8” on December 16, 1961– riding the wave of the national and international trend and yen for skiing.  During the first year, 17,000 skiers flew down the six ski runs.  Named Northstar, Springmeier, Winger, Rounder, Duke’s, and Crescendo, those first runs were named for local personalities and pioneers in the ski industry.

Other early runs included Callie’s Alley and Four O’clock.  The Four O’clock run remains as a centerpiece of Breckenridge Ski Resort today.  It received its name as the main trail that skiers rode back to town at the end of the day of skiing.

Breckenridge Heritage Alliance director Larissa O’Neil explained the early days of Breckenridge Ski Resort in a Summit Daily News article by Caddie Nath on November 20, 2011.  The price for an all-day ski ticket was $4.  The ticket included access to one Heron double chairlift and a short T-bar lift for beginners.  Lines were long.

The old-fashioned wooden and metal skis were also long and restrictive.  There was no way a skier in the 1960s could execute similarly to skiers in 2012.  It was tricky to carve the turns, especially before the advent of the snow cat groomers.

For the article, Nath talked to Robin Theobald who recalled the early days of skiing in Breckenridge.  “Skiing was a subculture.  There were few enough people skiing that everybody knew everybody.  You saw the same people over and over.”  She explained how each skier was responsible to determine the safety of the terrain because there was no grooming.

The original owner of the resort was Bill Rounds.  The 1960s produced the dawning of what ski magazine called “the Golden age for skiing.”  Multiplying numbers of skiers were accommodated by the opening of many new resorts in Colorado and burgeoning ski equipment and ski apparel industries.  As part of marketing efforts, historical records reveal that the ski area added women employees wearing modern ski gear to “beautify the ski slopes.”

Rounds and the Summit County Development Company sold the Breckenridge ski area in 1970 to Aspen Ski Corporation. The new company planned to open ski terrain on Peak 7.

For more information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge golf course homes for sale

The industrious Town of Breckenridge Colorado adds great value to Breckenridge Colorado resort real estate.  Building on a rich heritage handed down from the gold-mining era, the Town of Breckenridge is more than its authentic Victorian charm and historic districts.  The residents of Breckenridge CO homes are refreshingly creative and proactive in attitude.

Breckenridge leads all of Summit County real estate and it small towns with verve. Partnering with several organizations, including Vail Resorts, residents and visitors magnetize serious competitive and artistic elements to the Rocky Mountain community.

Perched at 9603 feet above sea level on the western slope of the Continental Divide, Breckenridge incorporated in 1859.  Today, the small town of 3500 residents continues to draw visitors from around the world to its world-class ski resort and year-round recreational and cultural activities.  From the Breckenridge Ski Resort to the state-of-the-art Recreation Center and Gold Run Nordic Center to Breckenridge Golf Course, and hockey at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge offers a long list of healthy activities.

Laced with trail systems, the Town is comprised of an area approximately 2 miles wide and 7 miles long.  About one third of the town’s 3690 acres are undeveloped.  Forty-one acres of community parks and 536 acres of open space protect the natural landscape.  The Open Space and Trails programs allow extensive access to the beautiful surrounding forests and natural areas.

The small mountain town features hundreds of restaurants, shops, boutiques, and specialty stores.Equally enticing, residents and guests of Breckenridge real estate relax during concerts at the Riverwalk Center, performances at the Backstage Theatre, fabulous Arts District, and many events and festivals that encourage excellence in cuisine, arts, music, and film.

In addition, the community is home to several interesting museums, historic structures, mining sites, and artifacts.  These resources are protected by a Heritage Tourism Strategic Plan.  Breckenridge Heritage Alliance also offers a wide variety of programs and tours.  Iowa Hill is a hiking trail with interpretive signs and displays representing 145 years of mining history.

Barney Ford House Museum tells the story of the man who escaped slavery and became a prosperous Colorado businessman and national civil rights advocate. The Edwin Carter Cabin Restoration features exhibits dedicated to the “log cabin naturalist.”  The Engine #9 locomotive, cemetery, the Dredge, and the Rotary Snowplow Park are other recently completed projects.

Located in the heart of the Blue River Plaza, the new Breckenridge Welcome Center invites visitors to experience a taste of the spectrum and depth of the beautiful Summit County community.  Come see how the vibrant Town continues reinventing itself and endearing present and future landowners.

For more information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge homes under $1,000,000  for sale

Real estate agents in Breckenridge, Keystone, Frisco, and Silverthorne anticipate improvements in the 2012 resort and second-home market.  As the low interest rates edge up, and could double over the next year, Summit County homebuyers who are dependent upon mortgages are out shopping.

What fuels the Breckenridge real estate market in Summit County?  Vacationers fall in love with the charming Victorian community.  Visitors to the world-class ski resort comprise most buyers of Breckenridge homes, including Blue River Colorado homes, and Breckenridge golf homes in the Highland area.  There is a similar dynamic in Keystone real estate.

A good number of partially retired folks enjoy their beautiful Summit County real estate in between attending meetings or working remotely.  For some, what began as a vacation home turns into the primary residence at some point.

Lawrence Yun, chief economist of The National Association of Realtors, recently presented details suggesting an upswing in the second-home market.  Yun encouraged realtors to communicate data to the public so buyers have an understanding of what is happening in the real estate market.  The National Association of Realtors Resort and Second Home Symposium on Kiawah Island set the stage for Yun’s comments.

Sales are up across the nation.  Factors affecting the rebound in the housing market include job creation, stabilizing stock market, and increasing rent prices.  According to Yun, the traditional resort real estate market is also experiencing reduced inventories, which will lead to higher prices.

Baby boomers are an increasing dynamic in the resort and second-home market.  However, young professional families are increasingly jumping into the second-home market.  According to Lauren Ratcliffe of Charleston Regional Business Journal on March 20, 2012, two demographics are emerging.  There are the aging boomer/savers and a younger spectrum who are inheriting wealth from parents who saved and invested.

Colorado resort real estate also benefits from the upswing in metropolitan Denver.  A large percentage of timeshare, fractional, condominium, and single-family homebuyers in Summit County reside in the nearby cities.  The high-end market in Denver is steadily improving as is the overall housing market.

Although many resort areas in warmer climates, especially those with deflated foreclosure prices, saw dramatic sales increases in the past year, our more stable market and year-round destination sales continue to improve. Movement across the nation is allowing buyers who qualify and those who pay cash the flexibility of taking advantage of the today’s values for years of tomorrow’s vacation memories.

Come on out to find Summit County Colorado real estate for sale fits your budget and dream.  For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Quite a few families of serious winter-sport athletes relocate to Breckenridge CO homes full-time or have purchased Breckenridge real estate in Summit County Colorado for seasonal use.

Breckenridge ski real estateAmid news that Vail Resorts extended the Breckenridge ski season through April for the 2012 season, visitors with up-and-coming athletes might consider this a great time to explore the opportunities to purchase Summit County CO real estate in Breckenridge or Blue River Colorado, Keystone, Frisco, Silverthorne, or Dillon.  Proximity to the slopes can make all the difference for talented youngsters.

Take a look at these Team Breck athletes. Competing in Steamboat Springs last week, Team Breck’s Dylan Walczyk and Anna Park performed well in the Junior National Championships. Walczyk also recently won the NorAm tour. The two are competing again in Italy this week at the Junior Worlds.

According to a Summit Daily News article on March 15, 2012, Dylan’s family moved to Breckenridge five years ago. Fourteen-year-old Anna is splitting time between her home in Davis, California and Breckenridge. She will be living full-time in Colorado next season.

Breckenridge resident Bobby Brown won X Games Gold recently at Winter X Games Tignes in France, according to the Denver Post on March 16. Narrowly defeating Tom Wallish, who took Gold in Aspen in January, Brown has mastered the Misty 450 Japan and throwing double cork 1260s in both directions.Brown has collected six of the coveted first-place medals.

Breckenridge CO ski homesLast year, United States ski resorts experienced the second busiest season on record with snowfall up 30%. Seeing less snow, the 2011-2012 ski season allowed competing athletes to take advantage of more space and fewer crowds to hone their skills no matter what the conditions.

Breckenridge is very close to numerous world-class ski resorts, which offer a variety of terrains and terrain parks. Competitive skiers and snowboarders may also practice at Vail, Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, Aspen, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, and Winter Park.

Breckenridge Ski Resort celebrated 50 years of glorious skiing during this season. Special activities and events highlighting the milestone culminated last Wednesday, when Breckenridge granted the last of 50 Wishes of the celebration. The resort announced that season passes will remain valid for an extra two weeks and visiting skiers get $50 lift tickets and free parking.  This is the first time the ski season has been extended since 1996 when Vail Resorts merged with Breckenridge.

During the final two weekends April 20-22 and April 27-29, the Peak 8 terrain and lifts including Imperial Express SuperChair will operate from 9 AM to 4 PM. Special lesson prices start at $59 for adult half-day and $99 for children’s full day lessons.

Come on out to see what Summit County Colorado real estate for sale fits your budget and dream.  For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor® at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge Ski Area celebrated its 50th anniversary on December 16, 2011. In 1960, three friends who met in Aspen – Bill Rounds and Norwegian friends Sigurd Rockne and Trygve Berge – set out to build summer cabins in the valley where exclusive Breckenridge Colorado mountain real estate is now located.  The irony is that because the ski area was created, Breckenridge developed way beyond summer cabins there are now a full range of second homes in Breckenridge with prices ranging from modest to very expensive.

In the beginning Breckenridge was mostly old piles of river rock left over from gold dredging in the gold boom.  The idea of summer cabins led to wondering what people would do in the winter.  Familiar with the skiing in Aspen the trio tossed around the idea of putting in some ski runs in Breckenridge.  They scouted out and marked the first runs in the spring and early summer of 1961 and that winter they were open for skiing.

In the beginning, locals left over from the mining era thought a ski area was a crazy idea that would never work.  It wasn’t long before the vision and enthusiasm of the ski area brought out the adventurous and entrepreneurial alike.

Breckenridge Ski Area weathered many peaks and valleys but ultimately has become one of the top ski resorts in North America.  The historic Victorian mining town of Breckenridge and the characters who have called her home over the past 50 years can take the credit for the success of the ski area.

The Rounds family went on to purchase many prime parcels of land around Breckenridge, which over the years have been developed into some of the most prime second home subdivisions in Summit County and Colorado.  Trygve and Sigurd started the first ski school.  Soon after, Sigurd sold his half to Trygve and went on to build custom vacation homes around Breckenridge.  Both raised families in Breckenridge.  Sigurd still lives in Breckenridge with his wife, children and grand children.  Trygve lives in Denver and at 80 years old still gets in more days on the runs than most locals.

For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor at (970) 390-2560.

Breckenridge Ski Properties for Sale

For information about Breckenridge Colorado real estate and other Summit County properties for sale including Keystone CO real estate and homes in Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, or Copper Mountain, call Barrie Stimson at 970-390-2560.   

From the desk of Barrie Stimson


* I believe the most relevant statistic today is the number of transactions that take place.  These are actual sales.  I believe prices follow, or lag.  Even though transactions started to decline in 2006 prices didn’t peak until 2007.  So, now you can get a sense of why I think we may be at least leveling out.

I am not fooling myself.  I do believe that this is going to be a very slow recovery.  In past recessions lowering interest rates was helpful in stimulating the market.  Unfortunately, interest rates are about as low as they are going to get.

Number of Transactions Year-to-Year in Breckenridge (excluding vacant land)

2002 – 628
2003 – 762 (+21%)
2004 – 863 (+13%)
2005 – 983 (+14%)
2006 – 941 (-4%) ← transactions started to decline here
2007 – 793 (-16%) ← prices peaked here
2008 – 482 (-39%)
2009 – 364 (-24%)
2010 – 410 (+12%)
2011 – 495 (+20%)

Breckenridge Real EstateAs a general statement the price you pay today is about what you would have paid in 2005.


We all hear various updates on the construction market across the country, but our clients are always asking us, “What’s happening in Summit County?” Over the past year permits have increased, and our local market for new custom homes is certainly looking stronger! In 2011, custom home construction permits increased by 50% over 2010, signaling that the market is definitely getting better, and we are currently working with more prospective clients right now than in the past three years.

Here’s the year-to-date info for 2011:

  • Breckenridge increased to 18 custom home permits in 2011 from 10 in 2010 (80%)
  • Summit Co increased to 45 custom home permits in 2011 from 30 in 2010 (50%)

*** Foreclosures

2011     2010     2009     2008
145       104       47         33

Gather the family together this week to search for a vacation home in Breckenridge.  A fascinating drama unfolds while watching some of the world top snow/ice sculpting teams in action at the Riverwalk Center.  And the market for Breckenridge Colorado real estate is hot!  We kid you not.

The historic Victorian village of Breckenridge nestles into the pristine properties of Summit County in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  As it intertwines the charming town with the world-class Breckenridge Ski Resort, the vibrant Breckenridge community has drawn exciting new talent to the 2012 Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships Presented by Cadillac.  This is 22nd annual competition held in Breckenridge.

Breckenridge HomesLast week, residents of Breckenridge CO homes and their guests welcomed artists from several countries, including many medal winners.  Acclaimed Team China and Team Canada-Yukon are among them.  The ardently prepared 20-ton blocks of ice are ready to be transformed.

Sculpting begins at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, January 24, 2012 and continues throughSaturday, January 28, 2012.  Fifteen top-notch snow-sculpting teams will use hand tools “to uncover the beauty frozen within the blocks.”

On January 20, 2012, Kimberly Nicoletti quoted event cofounder Rob Neyland in the Summit Daily News describing the excitement on tap.  “A lot of these teams bring their charismatic color to the event….Snow sculpting is a performing art; it is a living art form that is performed on the public stage.”Neyland is describing the zest embodied in the living process of creating monumental ice sculptures.  And onlookers watch in awe.

The Breckenridge competition is one of the top 10 international snow/ice sculpting competitions.  Each year the caliber of teams, designs, and quality of sculpting has improved.  Only 15 of 32 entrants have been chosen to participate in the 2012 event.  Judges evaluated each team’s proposal and selected those that looked the most striking and practical.  They also took into consideration each team’s competitive standing and ability to make the trek to the United States.

Other participating teams include Team Breckenridge, Team Alaska, Team Wisconsin, Team Greece/USA-Idaho, Team Australia/USA, three teams from Canada and others from Spain, China, Finland, Germany, Baltic, Mexico, and Switzerland.

Anyone who misses the actual sculpture “performance” this week can still come out to the finished ice artwork through Sunday, February 5, 2012.  Next year’s Budweiser International Snow Sculpture Championships will be held January 22-26, 2013 with the viewing week January 27 through February 3, 2013.

For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain villages, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor®  at (970) 390-2560.

Beautiful Breckenridge is swaddled by the White River National Forest, Summit County mountain homes, and the popular Breckenridge Ski Resort.  Breckenridge Ski Resort extends over four adjacent peaks of the Ten Mile Mountain Range in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

In 2011, Breckenridge Ski Resort is celebrating 50 years of fabulous skiing and riding.  When it opened in 1961 as the Peak 8 Area, the ski operation rekindled real estate development in the historic gold-mining Town of Breckenridge and all of Summit County.  Today, Breckenridge real estate ranges from Victorian homes downtown to on-mountain luxury condominiums to homes on the Breckenridge Golf Course.Skiing families along the Front Range return to their Breckenridge homes for getaways and vacations all year round.

Historic Downtown and the Breckenridge Ski Resort merge into a rich and colorful blend of friendly activity that is a signature of the community.  It is a global destination.  Since opening on December 16, 1961, visitors have hailed from all 50 states and 60 countries.  In 1961, there were two lifts serving 17,000 skiers.  In 2010-2011, over 1.6 million skier visits were recorded, registering Breckenridge as one of two most visited ski resorts in North America.

Breckenridge Ski Resort features 2,358 acres of terrain and 155 trails.  From a base elevation at 9,600 feet to the summit at 12,998 feet, the resort includes a 3,398 foot vertical rise.  Breckenridge features 722 acres of bowls.

From Peak 7 to the north to Peak 10 on the south, the four mountains satisfy the abilities and skill sets of everyone.  Peak 8, the original ski area, offers intermediate and some advanced access as well as access to the Back Bowls and the cornices at Lake Chutes.  On Peak 7 are the northernmost and westernmost bowls with very difficult terrain and slopes up to 55 degrees.

Peak 9 is mostly intermediate terrain with beginner runs on the lower part.  It offers access to expert runs such as Devil’s Crotch and Windows.  Peak 10 on the south end features difficult and intermediate terrain at Crystal, Centennial, and Doublejack.

Pioneering in 1984, Breck was the first Colorado ski area to allow snowboarding.  Freestylers and experts agree that Breckenridge boasts the best pipes and terrain parks in the world.  There are currently five terrain parks and two half-pipes.  In mid-December, the Winter Dew Tour for winter sports draws athletes from around the world.

In less than ten minutes, the BreckConnect Gondola runs from downtown through Cucumber Gulch Preserve to a mid-station at Shock Hill, to a mid-station at the base of Peak 7, and on to the base at Peak 8.  The efficient lift system at Breckenridge is capable of moving 37,880 skiers per hour.  It includes the world’s highest quad chair lift and the continent’s first high-speed quad chairlift as well as its only double-loading lift.The Imperial Express lift glides up to 12,840 feet elevations where the magnificent Summit County vistas extend forever.

For information about buying real estate in the scenic mountain village, call Barrie Stimson, Breckenridge Realtor®  at (970) 390-2560.

Summit County Area Photo Slide Show

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