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Telluride, Colorado: Real estate market analysis

  • Telluride’s thriving real estate market exceeds expectations year after year.
  • The town is home to a variety of luxurious properties such as multi-million dollar estates, ski chalets, and condominiums.
  • The popular ski town also offers magnificent views, exciting activities, and a vibrant community.
  • Telluride is a great investment opportunity for both younger and older buyers.

Telluride, Colorado is a picturesque town in San Miguel County found at the foot of the scenic San Juan Mountains. This ski town has gained popularity for its natural beauty and rare topographical layout.

Spanning a breadth of approximately one square mile, Telluride exudes an elegant and inviting European flair. It combines the culture and sophistication of world-renowned ski destinations with the charming and casual atmosphere of a quaint and homey town.

Surrounded by southwestern Colorado’s best communities and incredible upscale amenities, it’s of little surprise why people from all over the country (and from the rest of the world) flock to this lovely town.

Learn more about the reasons people are so eager to call this town home. Let’s take a closer look at what makes Telluride, CO tick in the real estate market:

Introduction to Telluride, CO real estate

The Telluride, CO real estate market faces a unique set of characteristics. Unlike other types of resort property real estate, the town of Telluride is surrounded by United States Forest Service (USFS) property. This essentially limits the number of development properties in the region.

Most private grounds are subject to a master plan by the local government which restricts real estate development for a certain time in a certain location. These strict regulations have helped to preserve the rare landscape of the area while, at the same time, promoting steady development over the years.

This limited regional zoning has resulted in competitive Telluride real estate prices and a hot market of luxury resort properties. This has fueled the controlled growth of the marketplace, both in terms of volume and value for the future.

In addition to being a federally protected area, Telluride is also a National Historic District. This cultural distinction enables the state to protect the picturesque Victorian architecture of buildings found all over town. It is these aesthetically pleasing structures that add to Telluride’s appeal.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historical and Architectural Review Commission have set up strict guidelines to ensure that future developers protect and maintain the architectural integrity of the town.

In their own bid to keep Telluride as postcard-pretty as ever, the Telluride Mountain Village created a detailed set of Design Guidelines and a Land Use Code. That way, developers are obligated to come up with only the best quality builds for the town. These rules and regulations have helped to establish a firm tone throughout various upscale projects under the review of the Design Review Board.

Telluride real estate market analysis

For a more in-depth understanding of local real estate conditions, here are some important facts and figures about the market:

  • What type of properties are in Telluride, CO?

    Housing in Telluride, CO is made up primarily of multi-million-dollar luxury estates. Properties in the area consist of a mix of primary residences, second homes, and vacant land.

    When browsing through Telluride homes for sale, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the sheer number of properties available, ranging from stunning ski chalets and expansive vacation homes to luxurious condos and promising investment properties.

    With that said, you won’t be surprised to see multi-story, single-family residences with three to five bedrooms and the same number of baths sitting on oversized lots.

    Popular architecture styles in the area include Victorian, neo-Victorian, contemporary, and custom. You’ll also find homes in log cabin styles with wood and stone exteriors to complement the breathtaking mountain landscape.

    It’s important to note that an increasing number of houses are taking on a redefined mountain architecture style, infused with contemporary elements to complement the luxury lifestyle. The basic elements of a log cabin-like home are still there but now, they’ve transformed into something sleeker and more modern. The change in design has also influenced interiors and furnishings to take on a more lavish, urban penthouse look.

    Most properties feature panoramic views of the majestic San Juan Mountains. Other standard amenities include at least one fireplace and toasty floor heating.

    The average home price in Telluride, CO is significantly higher compared to the median sales price in the state. As of October 2019, the Colorado Association of Realtors® also reported that the average house price in Colorado is $400,000, a 5.3% increase from the previous year’s $380,000.

  • Who’s buying real estate in Telluride, CO?

    Telluride’s residents and vacationers are a healthy mix of affluent individuals from all over the US and foreign investors. The town has conveniently located transportation centers, making it easy for buyers from different parts of the country to live and engage with the community.

    The town’s easy accessibility is the result of being in close proximity to Telluride Regional Airport. This airport accommodates flights to and from Denver, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other major metropolitan hubs.

    In a report of 2019’s Top & Emerging Ski Markets by Christie’s International Real Estate, a global luxury real estate network of upscale brokers and agents, the typical age of buyers is in the 35- to 50-year-old range.

    Young buyers with families are more inclined to purchase primary residences. They relocate to Telluride to take advantage of the small-town atmosphere, high-end amenities, and quality school district. Older buyers and/or those with large families, on the other hand, prefer second homes or vacation properties that they use purely for recreation.

    When it comes to wealthy domestic buyers, people from California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois dominate the buyer demographic in traditional ski resort counties like San Miguel and neighboring areas.

    If you’re buying a second home in Telluride, you’re in good company. Celebrities and Hollywood A-listers also favor Telluride as their ideal winter vacation destination. The privacy, small-town vibe, and world-class amenities make for a truly luxurious getaway. Notable personalities such as Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Jerry Seinfeld all owned or currently own property in this gorgeous ski town.

    Meanwhile, foreign investors continue to saturate the Colorado market and this trend isn’t likely to change soon. What attracts these foreign buyers to the area is the pleasing community atmosphere, as well as Colorado’s four-season climate. They also want to take advantage of the striking mountain landscape and numerous opportunities for recreation. Top foreign investors usually come from Canada, China, Singapore, France, and Germany.

  • State of the Telluride, CO real estate market in 2019

    Real estate in Telluride has been generally riding the wave of optimism in recent years as home values continue to grow with the increasing demand. However, this is not an encompassing trend as there was decreased development in some aspects of the market from the past year.

    With the Telluride real estate market showing mixed results in terms of growth, the astute buyer should be well-advised to understand the entire market situation before making their purchase. All factors should be considered, including external ones like the market performance of neighboring towns. Thus, recommendations from your real estate agent would be most welcome for the best next move.

    A total of 42 transactions highlighted December 2019 market activity for Telluride, the grand total of which amounted to $55,741,142. Unlike median or average home values, dollar volume transactions translate market activity into dollar-based figures

    For a clearer picture of what to expect when purchasing property in Telluride, see the table below with information on dollar transaction prices:

    Average Dollar Transaction Price $2,332,746
    Median Dollar Transaction Price $1,650,00
    Average Dollar Residential Price $2,441,382
    Median Dollar Residential Price $1,512,500
    Average Dollar Residential Price-Per-Square-Foot $1,152

    For savvy buyers who are eager to understand these market nuances so they can make fact-based predictions of their own, year-to-date information is a good number to get acquainted with.

    Year-to-date (YTD) data show transactions from the beginning of the year up to the latest month. For the January-December 2019 period, the Telluride market saw a total of 542 transactions amounting to $594,325,462 in terms of dollar volume transactions. See the table below for a more detailed look into Telluride’s latest overall total transactions and dollar volume transaction values:

    Average Dollar Price Transaction $1,663,797
    Median Dollar Price Transaction $990,000
    Average Dollar Residential Price $1,523,472
    Median Dollar Residential Price $930,000
    Average Dollar Residential Price-Per-Square-Foot $910

    For a better understanding of market trends in different transaction types during this time period, see the 2019 YTD gross sales reconciliation by transaction type below:

    Single Family Gross Volume $240,114,645
    Multi-Family Gross Volume $220,764,279
    Vacant Land Gross Volume $32,927,000

    To find out about areas where the Telluride real estate market has grown and those that registered declines, this comprehensive table shows the average prices of properties for the entirety of 2018 compared with YTD 2019:

    Single Family Homes – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Single Family Homes in 2018 $2,904,013
    Average Price for Single Family Homes in 2019 (YTD) $3,101,789
    Total Change versus Prior Year 7%

    Single Family Homes Price-Per-Square-Foot – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Single Family Homes in 2018 $1,032.38
    Average Price for Single Family Homes in 2019 (YTD) $1,302.31
    Total Change versus Prior Year 26%

    Multi-Family Homes – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Multi-Family Homes in 2018 $946,818
    Average Price for Multi-Family Homes in 2019 (YTD) $1,226,561
    Total Change versus Prior Year 30%

    Multi-Family Homes Price-Per-Square-Foot – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Multi-Family Homes in 2018 $777.67
    Average Price for Multi-Family Homes in 2019 (YTD) $836.74
    Total Change versus Prior Year 8%

    Vacant Land – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Vacant Land in 2018 $1,288,929
    Average Price for Vacant Land in 2019 (YTD) $883,333
    Total Change versus Prior Year -31%

    Vacant Land Price-Per-Acreage – Full Year 2018 vs. 2019 (YTD)

    Average Price for Vacant Land in 2018 $5,299,335
    Average Price for Vacant Land in 2019 (YTD) $13,732,941
    Total Change versus Prior Year 159%
  • Telluride’s 2019 end-of-year overview

    The number of transactions and dollar volume sales for Telluride has gone up drastically compared to 2018. The change in dollar volume has surged 18.6% while the total sales for Telluride has increased 24.1%.

      Dollar Volume Number of Sales
    2018 $527,500,000 499
    2019 $594,300,000 540

    Overall, San Miguel County closed 2019 with strong real estate sales with the largest dollar volume hitting $96,900,000. The local market is expected to see continued growth because of the 2019 average dollar value which compared to the prior five-year average of $516,000,000 is a considerable improvement. The slowdown of 2019 sales in comparison to the previous five-year average of 552 can be attributed to a smaller inventory and record-breaking price per square foot.

Overview of the luxury second-home market

Telluride’s real estate market has exceeded expectations in the past years with stellar market performances since 2017. Even with the slight decrease in market growth the following year due to limited inventory, there was a boost in vacant land sales, bolstered by the higher demand for design-build properties and new construction projects in Telluride.

To compare, sales of second homes in resort-lifestyle destinations like Telluride have surpassed the worldwide average.

If you’re a buyer looking to find the perfect second home, you must note that the more affluent buyers are choosing to purchase their second home or vacation property in resort communities.

For a fruitful experience in buying your second home, keep these wise tips in mind:

  • Know the type of second home you want. Not all vacation homes are made the same. Each luxury property has a customized feel meant to cater to the wants and needs of the homeowner. This is reflected in the increased number of buyers who want more wellness-centered home amenities such as home spas, gourmet kitchens, and fitness centers, alongside immediate ski accessibility.
  • Learn about second home ownership responsibilities. Owning a vacation property isn’t just about having a place to get away and relax—it’s a serious responsibility. For an easy and stress-free experience, you need to understand the costs beforehand and figure out how you’ll maintain your property when you’re not using it.
  • Get the help of the best Telluride real estate agents. With this kind of agent, you’ll be able to easily navigate the local luxury real estate market. Their expertise and experience in handling specialized transactions such as this will ensure that you won’t be making uninformed decisions.

The Telluride experience

It has been consistently noted here that Telluride is one of the best vacation destinations in the world. It is home to world-class ski resorts, majestic slopes, and wonderful festivals that celebrate culture like the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Wine Festival, and Telluride Liberal Arts Festival. With experiences like these and a community so vibrant, it is of little surprise that the Telluride lifestyle is so coveted.

The Telluride terrain offers dramatic steeps, chutes, and moguls that are perfect for skiing pros looking for the newest slopes to conquer. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders can find adventure in the progressive blue runs and wide-open cruisers. Meanwhile, beginners can enjoy many Learn-to-Ski areas. These are all set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

What makes Telluride so unique compared with the rest of its neighboring ski towns is its warm yet sophisticated old-town charm. The town offers more than just your typical ski resort amenities – it presents you with a distinct lifestyle, as well. Explore the downtown area and visit the diverse collection of shops, restaurants, and galleries. Discover the town’s rich history and go to the numerous historic sites in the area.

Rising appeal of the downtown urban lifestyle

Recently, an increasing number of Telluride homebuyers have been looking for homes in the urban downtown area instead of those closer to the ski slopes. Summer and fall months have seen an increase in activity with around 60% of annual sales happening during these seasons and in the periphery of the downtown area.

A majority of buyers of this particular real estate is composed of baby boomers, primarily due to the cool and low-humidity climate of Telluride, as well as the easily accessible shops, restaurants, and entertainment destinations in the town center. The summer outdoor opportunities like fishing, hiking, and biking, and golfing are also big pluses.

Enjoy a luxury lifestyle in Telluride, CO!

Explore your real estate options in Telluride, CO today with us, Team TD Smith. With our over 60 years of combined experience, we can expertly guide you on your mountain property purchase. Contact us today at 970.729.1577 or send an email to TD(at)TDSmith(dotted)com.