An iconic destination known for luxury and adventure, Vail is a big name with small town charm.
Endless hiking and mountain biking in summer months, world-class skiing come winter, and a bustling downtown scene make this Rocky Mountain hotspot a magnet for travelers, with upwards of 1 million visitors per year. And with tourism truly at the heart of Vail’s economy, it’s more than just a visitor’s paradise — buyers can also be wildly successful with a Vail investment property.
To help you understand the profit potential of a Vail investment property, we created a free, downloadable vacation rental market analysis. Inside you’ll find:
The findings in this analysis are based on Evolve’s Vail market averages in the last year and provide a general baseline for performance potential. They’re designed to help inform smart buying decisions when buying a Vail investment property.
Vail’s epic scenery, air of luxury, and wide range of things to do draw a broad base of interest — from celebrities and solo skiers to large family reunions. This means investors have more flexibility in the kind of property they purchase, and can earn the attention of guests with vacation rentals big or small.
Thanks to its abundance of summer and winter activities, Vail also sees two high seasons for demand (while many destinations only see one). For vacation rental owners, that translates to double the opportunity for bookings and income, not to mention more chances to collect five-star reviews and create the profit-driving momentum that accompanies positive feedback.
That said, Vail is an expensive market to buy into, with median home prices hovering around $1.6 million. It’s important to remember that there are properties available above and below that price point, though — so if your budget won’t allow for an initial investment of that caliber, keeping your finger on the pulse of the market can help you uncover options that might better fit your price range.
For investors eager to take the plunge now, well, there’s no time like the present — prices have been rising steadily since 2013 and show no signs of slowing, so getting into the market sooner is likely to create more return on investment in the long run.
With guests traveling to Vail for a large part of the year, investors have an opportunity to take home solid earnings. To gauge what your full potential looks like, consider these important factors.
Many visitors to the area look for luxury or family-size spaces, so larger homes are often the most profitable. Five-bedroom homes earn the highest nightly rates and the most annual income. Their four-bedroom counterparts don’t bring in quite as much in daily revenue, but their occupancy stays consistently higher — meaning they’re booked up for more of the year.
That said, larger properties make up the smallest percentage of available vacation rentals in Vail. The limited supply is part of what drives up nightly rates, but it also makes them harder for investors to come by.
And just because large properties are high-earners doesn’t mean travelers aren’t looking for smaller homes, too. While their nightly rates stay in more moderate territory, one-bedroom properties are actually booked the most throughout the year — and Evolve’s top-performer in Vail is a two-bedroom vacation rental. Homes of this more modest size also make up the majority of local inventory, so you can find one more easily, save some upfront costs, and grab consistent bookings.
Like any ski town worth buying in, proximity to resorts is major. Our real estate experts say the ability to walk or take a shuttle to a Vail gondola is a huge plus for winter travelers, and could grab you more bookings at higher rates.
The good news: the actual town of Vail is only about five square miles, so your property doesn’t need to be right at the base of the mountain to feel convenient for your guests. And because Vail isn’t the only mountain around, looking for homes close to nearby areas like Breckenridge, Keystone, and Frisco could expand how many guests you reach, in turn boosting your bottom line.
While resorts are a driving force in colder weather, finding a property that also gives guests easy access to summer activities is the best way to capture dual-season bookings. Look for homes near hiking trails, downtown dining, or popular events like the Vail Dance Festival to see a surge in renters during the summer high season.
In mountain towns like Vail, guests look for amenities like propane grills and ski storage. A deck with a mountain view doesn’t hurt, either.
Lots of Vail vacation rentals sit in larger condo communities. If this is the route for you, explore options with community pools or gyms. If you prefer to buy a standalone home, consider investing in amenities that can help make an impact on eager bookers. Installing a hot tub for après-ski, for example, could be the difference between a guest selecting “book now” and moving on to the next option.
Of course, complimentary toiletries, a well-stocked kitchen, an inviting interior, and functional backyard spaces are all highly sought-after by Vail guests as well, so look at how you can implement each of those when buying a Vail investment property to create right-at-home comfort.
With a stronghold on outdoor adventure and luxury, Vail’s tourism industry continues to be a huge part of what makes this stunning mountain town so valuable for vacation rental investment.
It’s chock-full of helpful insights, like:
Buying a Vail investment property shouldn’t be as hard as taking on a double black diamond. Use our report to gear up with key industry knowledge and start earning passive income as a vacation rental owner.