In December of 2017, Mirr Ranch Group closed a benchmark transaction at Elk Creek Ranch just outside Meeker, Colorado. This sale, combined with another dozen large transactions on Colorado’s western slope in 2017, is significant for a number of reasons and provides positive outlook to the area’s overall ranch market moving into 2018.
While over the past 12-18 months we have seen a strong upswing in activity and sales across the US ranch market, Colorado’s western slope did not follow that trend and lagged behind – staying sluggish throughout 2017. We feel that the sale of Cottonwood Bend at Elk Creek Ranch may indicate we’re finally seeing a positive change in western Colorado’s recreational ranch market. In addition, this transaction also marks a significant uptick within the smaller and contained market of Elk Creek Ranch itself, a totally unique private membership fly-fishing and sporting club, which has been relatively stagnant with low sales over the past two years. Cottonwood Bend’s sale price has reset the bar and should spark momentum to continue into 2018.
2016 was an off year across the board, with uncertainty in the market due to the US Presidential Election and a global economic slowdown. But conditions improved relatively quickly in 2017 and investor confidence bounced back. Colorado in specific saw some headline grabbing ranch sales in 2017, but it also experienced a strengthening and healthy balancing of both agricultural and sporting ranch sales volume. However for one reason or another, the western slope and Northwest Colorado took some time to catch up. But with a number of quality properties on the market, the western slope of Colorado is now primed for a strong 2018 as investment minded buyers could still find solid values. Unlike other areas of Colorado’s mountain territory the western slope is a widespread region and not dependent upon a resort driven economy, and as a result values are realistic and more representative of land quality.
Elk Creek Ranch should continue to see solid interest in the year ahead. With a limited inventory of current available properties, buyers who have had their sights set on this unique opportunity should seek to secure their interests before they are gone or prices continue to rise.