Colorado communities are harvesting record real estate transfer taxes. But they are not banking on the boom. |

Colorado communities are harvesting record real estate transfer taxes. But they are not banking on the boom.

Jason Blevins
Colorado Sun
Home sales in Telluride and Mountain Village surpassed $1 billion in 2020, an all-time high. Colorado's resort communities are seeing a surge of home buyers who are shattering real estate records.
Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun

After a billionaire went on a spending spree in downtown Crested Butte — and hordes of out-of-towners bought homes in the pandemic’s urban exodus — the end-of-the-road village of roughly 1,400 has spent close to $7 million on land acquisitions, easements, a B&B for workers and a transition to all-electric cars and vehicles. 

That’s all thanks to Crested Butte’s real estate transfer tax, which collects 3% from every property transaction for open space and capital projects, including affordable housing. That tax harvest — fueled by an unprecedented real estate boom — climbed 80% in 2020 over 2019 and 90% in 2021 over 2020. 

For the 12 mountain communities where voters approved real estate transfer taxes in the 1970s and 1980s — known as RETTs — before the passage of the 1992 Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights — or TABOR — the recent swell of home buying has filled real estate transfer tax coffers to record levels. 

In 2020 and 2021, as the mountain real estate market exploded, RETT collections in 10 of the 12 communities — Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Frisco, Gypsum, Snowmass Village, Telluride, Vail and Winter Park — climbed to an all-time high of $178 million. That’s an 84% increase from collections in 2018 and 2019, when collections reached $96 million.


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