Colorado Ski Visits Down 11%

colorado-ski-map-620x406According to The Colorado Springs Business Journal ski visits across the state of Colorado are down 11.5% so far this season, compared to the same period last year. The Journal sites the lack of snow and late openings for many Colorado resorts as major factors in the drop of skier traffic.

“First period is largely fueled by in-state visitors, and an unseasonably warm October and November kept many Coloradans from tallying lots of ski days” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit industry group that represents several of the state’s largest ski resorts. “Snow did not arrive in earnest until mid-December.”

Despite the slow start, ski areas saw a strong holiday period with conditions more in line with an average year. The New Year started with storms, which bodes well for the rest of the season, she said.

“There is some real buoyancy in the indicators for the months ahead. February and March hotel bookings are pacing ahead of last year by 3.5 percent and 8.6 percent respectively,” Mills said. “Carnival and Easter are well-timed for ski visitation this year and Colorado’s traditional snowier months lie ahead.”.

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Colorado Revenue Continues to Grow, Economists Say

imagesColorado’s economy continues to outperform expectations, spurred on by tax revenue from stock sales, although unemployment remains high, state economists told lawmakers Monday.  The state’s tax receipts are expected to be $548.2 million, or 7.1 percent higher, this budget year than the prior year, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economists. The latest quarterly forecast from state economists touched on familiar trends of past reports: Colorado’s economy is outperforming the national economy, but there remains caution because of the revenue growth is driven by taxes on one-time stock sales.  “We have clue after clue that what we’re dealing with is volatile revenue stream,” said Henry Sobanet, Hickenlooper’s budget director.  With the adjusted revenue numbers from December, the state’s general fund is expected to be $8.3 billion for the fiscal year that began in July. The general fund now exceeds the pre-Great Recession peak of $7.7 billion in 2007. The quarterly forecast released Monday afternoon will play a key role in the upcoming debate over the budget, especially as lawmakers debate an overhaul of the state’s system to fund schools. Lawmakers typically give final approval to the budget next month.  State legislative economists also delivered a separate forecast to lawmakers Monday with a similar outlook of cautious optimism for the state.  “I believe it is the spring of this recovery. However, know that storms can still happen in the spring,” said Natalie Mullis, the Legislature’s chief economist.

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Telluride’s Real Estate Recovery

imagesAfter a half decade of strong real estate sales, the Telluride real estate market peaked in 2006 and 2007. During this peak more homes, condos and lots were sold at higher prices than ever before. Nearly every segment of the regional real estate market established a new high mark in either 2006 or 2007. This rising tide lifted Telluride, Mountain Village, Aldasoro and the Mesas.
When the national economy began its historic recession in 2008, the Telluride real estate market followed suit. The impact of the recession took its toll in the regional market with a breathtaking fall off in the number of transactions and an unprecedented softening of property prices.
While the recession kicked into full gear, second homebuyers sat on the sidelines. Notably, the bellwether segment of single family homes in the Town of Telluride fell from 33 homes sales in 2007 to only 10 home sales in 2009. In Mountain Village, 85 condos were sold in 2006 while only 36 were sold in 2009. Buyers across the nation deemed it too risky to wade into the Telluride market. While many sellers chose to wait out the storm, some sellers found themselves in a position where they had to sell. The lack of demand from second homebuyers led to a level of illiquidity that forced these sellers to significantly reduce prices to find a buyer.  This reduction in prices marked the first true period of price softening in memory.

Telluride Real Estate Sales Surge in August

image.axdThis is an interesting analysis of August’s Real Estate numbers from the Telluride Daily Planet.

After a slower than average start to the year, real estate sales picked up in a big way  in August.  Through the first seven months of the year, the number of sales was down around 13 percent from 2012 while the dollar volume of sales was down  10 percent, according to numbers compiled by Telluride Consulting. But August brought a major boost; the number of sales for the month was up 23 percent from August of 2012 while the dollar volume was up 56 percent. With the August activity, the number of sales for the year is now down only 7 percent from last year and the dollar volume is back to even.
Local realtors are optimistic that things could pick up again in September, but say it’s too early to predict. According to Judi Kiernan, who owns Telluride Consulting, the August numbers were a big boost for the year. “One month can make a huge difference because we are such a small market and the news [about August] is a big contrast to July,” Kiernan said, but added that “one month does not a trend make.  “I don’t think there’s actually a reason, I think it’s as random as last month’s poor performance,” she said.
In all, 48 sales were made in August, up from 38 last year and it was best August since 2007. The dollar volume of the sales totaled $46.9 million, up from $30.1 million in August of 2012. It came on the heels of a poorly performing July, which saw 27 sales, down from 34 in July of 2012. The dollar volume for the month was down 43 percent compared with   July of 2012, meanwhile. Kiernan said about $10 million of the August sales came from condominiums in Mountain Village and another $6.5 million came from land transfers in Telluride.

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Sales Tax Revenues Continue to Grow

imagesThe Town of Telluride’s sales tax revenues have continued their upward climb in 2013, a trend that could lead to a third consecutive year of record-breaking collections.  According to numbers from the town, sales tax revenues were up every month from January through May (the most recent reports). Revenues were up over 2012 by 14.4 percent in January, 9.3 percent in March and 18 percent in April, and the town had collected $1.8 million by the end of May.

This comes on the heels of two excellent years of sales tax collections for the town, and it reflects what many say is a tourist economy growing stronger due to word of mouth, targeted marketing and new and bigger events. “We’re busy, very busy, and that’s a good thing,” said Michael Martelon, president of the Telluride Tourism Board. “If summer finishes the way it [has been going], we will have three record seasons in a row.”

Telluride’s sales tax revenues began their upward climb in 2010. The town collected $4.03 million in 2009, $4.2 million in 2010, $4.37 million in 2011 and $4.5 in 2012 — the biggest year ever for the town.

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2012-13 Skier Visits Creep Up by 4 Percent in Colorado

Arapahoe Basin Ski AreaColorado’s ski areas hosted 11.4 million skier visits last season, a nearly 4 percent increase over the previous season’s 11 million.

The 11.4 million mark, while an increase over the dismal and dry 2011-12 season, is the third-slowest season in the past decade, and the annual increase falls well below the national spike of 11 percent.

Colorado Ski Country USA, the trade group that represents 21 of the state’s 25 ski areas, reported 6.4 million skier visits in 2012-13, an increase of 3.8 percent, or 235,000 skier visits, over 2011-12. Vail Resorts’ four Colorado ski areas — Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and Beaver Creek — saw about 5 million skier visits.

Colorado’s 2012-13 season started slowly, with weak snow and local skiers staying home. Storms in late December and late spring fueled a rebound in visitation. But it wasn’t enough to pull the state closer to the 12 million-skier-visit benchmark it reached in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

Declining skier visits does not necessarily correlate to decreasing revenues, as evidenced by ski areas that saw increased revenues in 2011-12, which saw record declines in visitation.

South Fir Street Lots to be Developed

imagesA key piece of property in downtown Telluride between the commercial core and the gondola may soon be developed. But what that development will look like remains to be seen.
Longtime locals Pamela Zoline and John Lifton (Lifton Zoline International) have partnered with the Los Angeles and Boulder-based real estate developers Meriwether Companies to purchase the South Fir Street properties from the estate of Joseph T. Zoline. The area, known as the “Four Corners,” is at the intersection of South Fir Street and Pacific Avenue. It includes the west side of South Fir Street between Pacific and San Juan Avenue, as well as Fir north of Pacific where Village Market and Baked in Telluride stand. It also includes the lot on the southeast corner, next to the library.

Developers say they don’t yet know what plans for the area will include, but they will be working closely with the Town of Telluride to see it to fruition. According to the town’s masterplan, it has been identified as a site for public parking, arts, cultural and educational uses. But developers are not revealing details.
“What we know is that it will be planned as a very diverse mixed use and we know that we intend to make it a really lively part of downtown Telluride,” Pamela Zoline said. Noah Hahn, a managing partner with Meriwether Companies, said he plans on meeting with town officials soon. Hahn said Meriwether has experience building in mountain resorts and understands what Telluride is about. “Authentic is the word we keep coming back to,” Hahn said. “We are not trying to redefine Telluride in any way. We are going to build a project that is consistent with what Telluride is about.”
Mayor Stu Fraser said the project will create an anchor in the downtown core where there is currently unused, but extremely valuable space. The town has formed a task force for the development of the area since the town owns the northeast parcel of the intersection. “It’s a major part of the puzzle of downtown Telluride,” Fraser said. “It will have tremendous importance to the future of Telluride. My feeling is it will be done extremely well. Whatever it is, it will benefit the community in a variety of ways.”

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Report Suggests Another Strong Year in Real Estate in Telluride

imagesA new 28-year market analysis, recently published by Telluride Consulting, offers a detailed review of the Telluride region’s cyclical real estate history and offers a positive outlook for 2013.

Statistics compiled in the report suggest a positive real estate trend will continue after a strong 2012.

For the first time since the real estate market took a plunge in 2008, in the region encompassing Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County, 2012 delivered positive news in both the number of sales and the dollar volume of those sales. According to Telluride Consulting’s Judi Kiernan, there was a 16 percent increase in the number of sales in 2012 and a 47 percent increase in the dollar volume of sales over the 2011 numbers.

For the past five years, the compound annual growth rate for the number of sales has increased 7 percent while the total dollar volume for those sales shows an annual growth rate of 2 percent. And despite a slow January, first quarter statistics indicate 2013 will be another positive year in both the number of sales and dollar volume of those sales. So far, 2013 sales and dollar volumes are close to first quarter statistics posted in 2012.

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Real Housewives’ Sonja Morgan Puts Her Colorado Ski Home on the Market for $9m

indexSonja Morgan has made no secret of her money woes.

The 49-year-old ex-wife of J.P. Morgan heir John Morgan has listed her sprawling Telluride, Colorado dwelling at a not-so-modest price of $9.15 million.  The couple divorced in 2006 and she’s now selling the home in an effort to divide their assets and get on with her life.  Sonja has complained on the show about her lack of ready cash, but if she gets a buyer and a price close to what she wants for her scenic retreat she might stop the lamenting.

The amazing property boasts 35 acres of rolling hills and breathtaking snow-capped mountain views. The house itself is 8,300 square feet of luxury from it’s 35-foot-high ceilings to it’s rustic hardwood floors. In what once was a 19th Century barn, the home boasts numerous other features including an observatory, a waterfall and a tennis court if one so feels inclined.

There’s also quarters for a nanny, a must among the rich and famous, and a library for quiet, restful reading. The living area not only has lofty ceilings but an antler chandelier and wide windows offer views of the rugged countryside at every turn. 

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The Telluride Real Estate Market is Getting Its Edge Back

Like a new pair of Solomon Shogun skis, the Telluride real estate market is getting its edge back. The last few years have been slow, and like many real estate markets, Telluride’s spectacular real estate value rise since the 1980’s slowed to a crawl. Inventory increased and transactions were not keeping up with the supply. That is now changing. Transactions both in volume and dollar amounts have increased significantly in 2012. The town of Telluride is leading the charge with single family home sales. Condominium sales in the Mountain Village are picking up. The supply of competitively priced properties is shrinking. It is a Buyers market, but many property owners and sellers in the Telluride market have a limited amount of lender exposure on their properties, and this has given good price stability. There is still good value to be purchased, but as the properties are absorbed, new listings will most likely come with a higher asking price.

The commercial market is coming back. Lease rates are stable and vacancy rates are near zero for retail and 2%-3% for office.  During the down turn, Telluride was blessed with good snow conditions and our visitor count was minimally affected. The summer season of course is packed with fun events, Bluegrass, Jazz, and Blue & Brews music festivals, and Mountain Film and Film Festival. The future is bright for Telluride and Telluride’s real estate market. Come and enjoy our mountains.