Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Housing & Building

Real estate wrap-up : Throw supply/demand theory out the window


At the conclusion of 2014, the Steamboat Springs real estate market posted its fifth best year on record. Should 2015‘s trend hold, it may take over that recognition; in the first half of 2015, the Steamboat Springs MLS posted 441 transactions, bettering 2014’s mark of 438. More notable, however, is the supply side, where a 7 percent decline in listings occurred.

Usually, as demand increases and supply decreases, prices increase. However, that hasn’t happened yet in Steamboat, as 2015 prices in most property types have remained consistent with 2014.  With the drop in listings and near-equal sales, the supply versus demand dynamic should have resulted in higher property values. Conversely, overall Dollar Volume dropped 6 percent to $200 million, resulting in a 7 percent decline in the Average Price to $454,000.  Median Price also slipped, from $316,000 to $309,000. Despite a general drop in prices, foreclosures have continued to make up less of the market, as bank-owned real estate activity declined 25 percent in the first half of 2015 to 25 transactions.

Most likely, as inventory continues to deplete and demand continues to increase, prices will move upward. As of yet that hasn’t happened, giving buyers an opportunity to move before any change may occur.

The four most popular property types:

Single Family Residences In comparing all property types, the 12 percent decline in purchases of single family residences (SFR) was the biggest surprise, from 142 in 2014 to 125 in 2015. Median Price declined substantially from $528,750 in 2014 to $394,000 in 2015 for a 25 percent drop. This could be from a shift, geographically, away from the more expensive Steamboat Springs and South Valley areas. Purchases in these areas declined from 75 to 56, but the number of buyers in outlying areas increased slightly from 67 to 69 from 2014 to 2015.

The sales decline in these two areas could have occurred from lower inventories or possibly higher list prices. Average dollar-per-square foot values in these areas, a common benchmark for determining real estate value, increased, from 2014 ($296/square foot) to 2015 ($307/square foot). Stagecoach SFR’s enjoyed the greatest increase in activity, from 8 to 13 (63 percent), and dollar-per-square foot values increased by $1 to $140/square foot. Purchases of SFR foreclosures dropped from 18 to 15.

Town Homes One additional town home was purchased in 2015 (67) than in 2014. Median Price declined 17 percent in 2015, to $367,250, and dollar-per-square foot values followed suit, going from $267/square foot to $253/square foot. The first half of 2014 saw seven purchases over $1 million, while only two occurred in 2015.

Condominiums Condos were the only residential property type that posted a Median Price increase, a substantial 17 percent bump to $290,000. This could be due to the bottom of the condo market moving up. In 2014, 10 condos were purchased at a price point under $100,000. 2015 had only three. A 23 percent decline (40 to 31) was also seen in the next higher price range of $100,000 to $200,000. Correspondingly, activity increased in the $300k to $400k range by 64 percent to 23. Purchases above $1 million remained relatively steady, from 10 to 11 in 2015. Total condo activity was two better in 2015 (117) than 2014.

Land The most substantial improvement in activity of any property type was in land, which increased from 52 transactions to 76, a 46 percent increase. This could be a result of the lack of SFR inventory and the increase of SFR list prices. Median price saw a modest 4 percent increase to $187,497, but there were five purchases of $1 million or more in 2015, up from only one the prior year. Land activity is typically highest in mid to late summer.

Housing & Building Fast Facts

2014 average cost per square foot of a three bedroom single-family home: $164 (Routt County); $257 (Steamboat)

2015 (through July 31) average cost per square foot of a three bedroom single-family home: $192 (Routt County); $273 (Steamboat)

2014 median sales price for single-family home: $299,000 (Routt County); $610,000 (Steamboat)

2015 (through July 31) median sales price for single-family home: $302,500 (Routt County); $602,500 (Steamboat)

The Yampa Valley Housing Authority works to provide affordable housing for people with up to 120% of the area median income ($85,560 for a family of 3) in programs such as rental housing and deed restricted multi-family housing, and up to 150% ($106,950 for a family of 3) in the down payment assistance loan program.

– Douglas N. Labor –

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