SnowOnly.com recently spoke to Andrew Dolese, Broker Associate of Christie's International Real Estate in Telluride to find out a little more about Andrews background and how he got into Real Estate in Telluride, the resort, some history and what the market is like in general. If you are considering buying in Telluride then this is a must read.
SnowOnly: Please tell us a bit about yourself, how long have you been selling property in Telluride and how do you get into the business?
Andrew Dolese: I am originally from Baton Rouge, La. I was living in Atlanta in the early 1990's and was spending all of my free time in the north Georgia Mountains and was ready to buy a house in Helen, Ga. when my boss' girlfriend told me that I should not do that until I had been west and visited Telluride. She knew it due to her coming to Telluride for the Wine festival and she told me that I belonged there.So, I looked into Telluride and I called my oldest brother who had been to Colorado in the early 1980's and he knew about south western Colorado. I told him I was thinking of moving there and his response was, "That might be the best decision you could ever make." So, I quit my job in Atl, packed up my mountain bike, Kayak and most valuable outdoor possessions and took a trip out west. I traveled for 3 months and Telluride was in the middle of my trip. I knew the first day that I rolled into Telluride that I would do what ever it took to stay here. That was in the summer of 1994 and I am still here and so thankful I made that decision to quit everything and invest in lifestyle over a career.
SO: Please can you give us a introduction to Telluride resort.
AD: Telluride is rich in history. It was a sacred hunting ground for the Ute indian tribes since the 1500's. Then came the Spanish who were looking for an overland route to the Pacific. After exploring the area for a number of years they left and the only thing that they really did for the area was to name the mountains the San Juan range after the then king of Spain, Juan. Fast forward to gold being discovered in Colorado in 1852 and the great gold rush was on. By the late 1800's Telluride was a flurry of mining activity and the town was undergoing a huge boom cycle. The period of 1880 until the early 1930's was a great time of prosperity for the town and the area. Telluride had a population of over 10,000 people and the town had more saloons, brothels and legal gambling halls than churches. In the 1930's the mines started to close and the population started to dwindle. When WW1 arrived most of the young eligible men enlisted and went to war. Less than 10 % of them returned. The same thing happened with WW2, the Korean conflict and by the time Vietnam came around Telluride was a ghost town with a population of less than 600 people. In 1970 a developer named Joe Zoline came to Town with a proposal for a ski area and the Telluride Ski resort opened it's doors in the 1972. In those days you could have bought a lot in Town for back taxes and in many cases those lots sold for less than $100.00! in 2019 the cheapest lot in Town is just shy of $800k and the cheapest home is $1,350,000.00 It is interesting to note that in the early 1970's the town's leaders sought to have summer entertainment and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival as well as the Telluride Film Festival were born. Over the years Telluride has expanded its summer festival series and now we have a festival every weekend from Memorial Day,(Mountain Film Festival) to mid October with the Telluride Horror Film Festival. So, if you are not a fan of winter, Telluride really has a lot to offer in the summertime. In addition, summertime allows us to hike, bike, climb, fish, play high altitude golf,jeeping in the high country and if you want to ski you can always hike one of the many 14,000 foot mountains and make some turns into August!
SO: Please give us a brief history of the market and if it has evolved with the last 10 years?
AD: In the last 10 years, we have seen more and more new construction as most of the Town of Telluride has filled in the remaining vacant lots with single family homes and condo buildings while not losing it's natural Victorian charm. The town of Mountain Village is just over the ridge from Telluride and was originally a dairy cattle operation. Mountain village was incorporated as it's own town in 1994. There is a free Gondola that connects the two towns to one another and our Gondola is the only federally, local and state funded type of transportation of its kind in the United States. It runs from 7 am to 2 am and also serves as one of our ski lifts. In my opinion it is the best commute in the world! Currently the Town of Telluride is 98% built out and the Town of Mountain Village is about at 65% of buildout. I often tell people, you think our real estate prices are high now, wait until we have hit that max build out.
SO: How has telluride developed into a market leader for a dual season resort?
AD: Well, our sales tax revenues that are posted by the Telluride visitors center show that the last 5 years of sales tax in the summer has eclipsed the winter sales tax every year. I attribute this to the summer festival series plus, we get a lot more drive traffic in the summer than the winter.
SO: What percentage of buyers are buying for the summer instead of the winter?
AD: I would say it is split pretty evenly at this point.
SO: What is the main interest for purchasing from your buyers and where do they come from?
AD: The main interest is Buyers are looking for a property that they can invest in, feel good about their investment and they really want to be able to have those memories of family ski and summer vacations. The vast majority of our Buyers are coming from Texas, California and New York. Telluride is easy to reach these days with air service into the Montrose airport or direct in Telluride.
SO: Do you think there will be any change in the buyers demographic in the next 5-10 years?
AD: Yes, we are starting to see more and more of an international clientele and also we are seeing a fair amount of lone eagle buyers who can work from anywhere with the internet. I suspect we will continue to see more and more of those lone eagles and that has started to spread to wealthy millennials. We have so much to offer and since a lot of our Buyers are familiar with the other luxuy ski markets they come to Telluride and we look cheap and way less crowded compared to Aspen, Jackson, Sun Valley, Vail or Beaver Creek.
SO: Is the real estate market in a good place today?
AD: Yes, lack of inventory, natural barriers to expansion and a limited number of developable lots are helping to maintain and drive prices higher. Now, more than ever Telluride is easier to get to with the airlines. With the addition of Telluride being on the Epic pass for the 2018/19 season plus the 2019/20 season we are seeing more unique visits to Telluride than ever before.
SO: Is Telluride developing to cater for the demands of new buyers?
AD: Yes, it used to be that people wanted the biggest homes that they could get and now, we are seeing Buyer demand shift to homes in the 3-4,000 square foot size. With the advent of AirBnB and the other vacation rental property sites Buyers are looking for some kind of return on their investments when they are not here. That explosion is really driving the quality homes in A plus locations to sell faster.
SO: What is the best investment in Telluride?
AD: That depends on what the Buyer is looking for. Is it a ski in ski our large home for quality family time or a condo in the center of Town that can be short term rented when the owner is not in residence? For a deeper explanation please, feel free to contact me and tell me what your dream property would look like and how you see yourself using it.
SO: If you could buy one property in Telluride, which one would it be?
AD: For me, it would be MLS # 36736 which is a single family home located at 536 W. Pacific Ave. This charming Victorian style residence is perfectly located in the heart of Telluride. The home is comprised of six bedrooms, five bathrooms and can sleep up to 14 people. Downstairs features a comfortable living space perfect for entertaining or relaxing by the fireplace. Four large decks expand the indoor living space outdoors. Both north and south facing, the home features excellent solar exposure and views. The home is an easy one-block walk to the gondola, a quick two-block walk to the Coonskin ski lift, and minutes from main street restaurants and shops. This residence is located in 'Accommodations 1 Zone' which means it can be short- or long-term rented in addition to being a full-time residence. Id addition the house does not need a new owner to do anything to improve the house. It is being sold fully furnished down to the linens and silverware so all a new owner would need to bring is their clothes and a toothbrush and start living the good life here in Telluride.
If you are interested in seeing what is for sale in Telluride with SnowOnly then please click on the link here
If you would like to get in touch with Andrew Dolese from Christie's International Real Estate please contact us at [email protected] and we will put you in touch.
Happy Skiing from SnowOnly.