According to Realtor.com’s recent luxury market report, wealthy buyers are exiting metropolises in favor of suburban and more remote living. (Photo: Pexels).

Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder

If you’ve skied in the Rockies lately, you may have noticed lift lines are increasingly crowded. The statistics bear this out: the National Ski Areas Association reports that visits are up 18 percent since 1978, and the Rocky Mountain region alone saw a 54 percent jump in visits.

Jostling for your spot on the slopes could be one result of the migration of luxury home buyers. According to Realtor.com’s recent luxury market report, wealthy buyers are exiting metropolises in favor of suburban and more remote living.

Indicators point to a generally healthy high-end real estate market in the U.S., as people desire more — more square footage, more privacy, and more green space. Some market areas, though, are outperforming others.

Take Colorado, for example.

“Suburbs and secondary markets in Colorado and California saw especially strong growth, which follows the widespread trend of buyers choosing the suburbs over urban life during the pandemic, while big city markets like the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Boston and Hawaii saw the largest luxury home price declines,” says Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist.

Jefferson County, a suburb of Denver, is the fastest-growing luxury housing market of the fourth quarter with the entry point for luxury reaching $2.97 million, up 81% year over year.

Another Denver suburb, Arapahoe County, ranked No. 2 on the list of luxury leaps. The benchmark for a luxury listing hit $2.51 million in the fourth quarter, up 48.6% from the same time the year before.

In California, Riverside County took the third ranking, where an annual price increase of 45.8% left the luxury entry point at $2.27 million, reports Realtor.com.

Of the 95 areas tracked, fourth quarter price growth occurred in 83 of them, and luxury homes were selling in an average of 120 days, 15 days faster than 2019, according to the report.

“After slowing last spring, luxury home sales and prices outside urban city centers mostly rebounded last quarter, although not quite to their pre-pandemic levels,” she said.

Luxury listings make up the 5% of homes on the market, and the entry point rose to $3.4 million in the fourth quarter, up 14% from 2019. The online property portal tracks the top 5% most expensive residential listings in 95 counties for its luxury index, and it was suburbs and secondary luxury markets that had the most prosperous fourth quarter in 2020.

But back to long ski lift lines. One cause is the rise in population we have seen as many have taken full advantage of the live-anywhere benefit that sprang from the work-from-home mandate in place for almost a year now. Take Aspen – a bastion of luxury homes. Home sales reached a record high in the third quarter of 2020. And, since 1993, the population has increased 36 percent, according to OutsideOnline.com.

• Read the full luxury home story at realtor.com/news/real-estate-news/u-s-luxury-market-has-strong-end-of-2020-especially-in-suburban-and-second-home-areas.

• Read more about long lift lines at outsideonline.com/2408164/crowded-ski-hills-fix-crystal-mountain-traffic-jam#close.

By Tom Kalinski. Tom is the broker/owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, the local residential real estate company he established in 1977. He was inducted into Boulder County’s Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and has a 40-year background in residential and commercial real estate. For questions, e-mail tomkalinski33@gmail.com, call 303.441.5620 or visit boulderco.com.