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 Campus Enrollment Sservices Coordinator at Colorado Mountain College, call the confluence of the Eagle River and Brush Creek home. A 29-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.”
What’s the allure? Aside from being far removed from the highway, Broadway Street, Eagle’s original town center, boasts a Mayberry vibe, with broad streets and sidewalks, a saloon, a general store (The Almost Everything Store), and a craft brewery (Bonfire Brewing). On the other side of town, south of Brush Creek, Capitol Street, the commercial center of the master-planned community of Eagle Ranch, evokes Disney’s Main Street U.S.A., with an old-school movie theater, another bewpub (Seven Hermits), a family-style restaurant (The Boneyard) and an upscale bistro (The Assembly), a coffeehouse that roasts its own beans and bakes its own bread (Color Coffee Roasters), and a green grocer that sells produce direct from Lake Creek’s Knapp Ranch (Knapp Harvest). Add one of the state’s largest indoor climbing gyms (Eagle Climbing + Fitness) and a mountain bike trail system that rivals Moab as an MTB mecca, and you’ll understand why the only property available in the area for under $300,000 was an off-the-grid two-bedroom A-frame cabin in Fulford (a wilderness area 20 miles north of town); more common was a newly constructed 10-bedroom, 10-bathroom Craftsman-style bungalow on Silver Spur, listing for $3 million (sorry, that one sold before the end of this sentence).
“Our real story is that there are no properties in Eagle Ranch, zero, none, not a condo, townhouse, or single-family home, nothing,” says Rick Messmer, BHHS’s managing broker in Eagle Ranch. “Listings were in the doldrums in 2012, and we came out of the true bottom that September. The market has been climbing ever since. We thought we hit a peak in 2018, then Covid hit and we are seeing things we’ve never seen before, like our first home over $2 million under contract.”
So he feels lucky to call Eagle home.
“I moved down here for the four seasons, more opportunity to enjoy the outdoors,” he adds. “In East Vail, you get two seasons: a brief summer and a long winter. Here, I can go powder skiing in the morning, MTB, or fish in the same day. That’s a huge draw for me.” And, it seems, pretty much everyone.
Number of active listings on the market, at press time: 9
Median home price of active listings: $1.33M
Number of homes sold in 2020: 166
Median price of homes sold: $622K
Average number of days on the market: 79