Drive 30 minutes west—and drop 1,500 ear-popping feet in elevation—and you arrive in Eagle, the down-to-earth downvalley alternative to Vail. Some 6,500 folks, locals like Jeanne McCann, the Learning Services office manager at Colorado Mountain College, call the confluence of the Eagle River and Brush Creek home. A 25-year resident of the valley, McCann and her husband have lived in Vail and Avon but decided about 10 years ago that their two kids needed a yard and a bit more open space.
“It’s like an entirely different life out here,” says McCann. “There’s still a connection to the resorts, but it’s more peaceful and quiet.”
You can still snap up a large custom-built four-bedroom for under $800,000 or, if you’re a local, a just-built deed-restricted two-bedroom condo on Brush Creek for $300,000 in the master-planned community of Eagle Ranch, complete with a tidy Main Street that might have been “imagineered” by Disney.
There’s also been an influx of golfers who covet play on Eagle Ranch Golf Club’s public Arnold Palmer–designed course and at Frost Creek, the former Adam’s Rib country club reincarnated as a 1,100-acre private club with an impressive 40,000-square-foot clubhouse with a pool, a spa, and a fine-dining restaurant helmed by Larkspur and Sweet Basil veteran Marc Copenhaver.
Number of active listings (at press time): 28/29
Active median home price: $639k/$839,500
Number of homes sold in 2016: 28/14
Median price of homes sold here in 2016: $405,267/$567,500
Average number of days on the market: 85/96
No matter where you live, you probably have a piece of this town in your home—literally. After all, this downvalley burg’s namesake soft mineral is mined from the dusty hills on the outskirts of town and manufactured into drywall sheets at the American Gypsum Plant in, you guessed it, Gypsum.
Who lives here at the westernmost end of Eagle County? Folks like Berkshire Hathaway associate broker Scooter Slaughter, who was born and raised on his family’s 160-acre Gypsum ranch. Slaughter left in 1999 to attend college in Arizona but returned in 2001.
“I missed the mountains and my family,” he says. “Gypsum is really such a tight-knit community where everyone knows each other.”
Big open spaces, a new rec center, a library, a Costco, two exceptional golf courses (the public Gypsum Creek and private Cotton Ranch), and a craft distillery make this small community attractive to locals looking to live the good life on a resort worker’s wages. Take note of the location. Gypsum is known to locals as the last stop in Egypt, a no-man’s-land beyond Eagle and Gypsum (get it?). Better act soon: if you covet a Vail Valley address at a bargain price, a few fixer-uppers can still be had for under $200,000.
Number of active listings (at press time): 33
Active median home price: $379,500
Number of homes sold in 2016: 34
Median price of homes sold here in 2016: $376,500
Average number of days on the market: 88