Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Real estate trends reveal opportunities

Moving to Steamboat? It’s still a good time to buy. Since the turn of the century, market value in the Steamboat Springs real estate market has had its ups and downs. For the first half of 2014 the market has seen an increase in the median purchase price (red line in Graph 1) to $320,000, up from the year before at $284,000 and tied for the fourth highest median price the market has ever experienced.   Adding a trend Line (black) to the median price reveals just how aggressive the market was in the mid 2000s and how it overcorrected in the early 2010s.

However, should the second half of 2014 remain consistent with the first, prices as a whole may normalize. Analyzing different product types provides perspective as to which market segments merit opportunity and caution. Single family homes have seen the greatest activity and appreciation, realizing higher-than-average appreciation since 2000. They are also selling at the second highest median price in history, at $522,500.   The second most popular residential product are condominiums, which, at least for the time being, have appeared to have leveled off at $250,000. This number is far below the trend line path, which indicates median price should be closer to $300,000. This product type could prove a good investment at 20 percent below the trend.

Furthermore, no new condominium projects are on the horizon: The only product to meet future condo demand will be existing inventory, and this may soon begin to impact the median price.   The median pricing of townhomes enjoyed a significant bump in 2006, 2007 and 2008, however their 2014 median price of $444,000 is 7 percent below the 13-year historic trend. They, too, could prove to be a sound investment. “The local real estate scene is picking up steam,” says Cam Boyd, broker/owner for Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. “The average sale price has increased around 11 percent from last year and the total volume is up 14 percent. Our market is small and as consumer confidence increases, more investors will enter and the inventory will shrink faster. There are still some great opportunities in all price ranges and values are still well below the high point of the market in 2008. It seems that prices will continue to climb steadily as the demand outpaces the supply.”

Over the past seven years, the recession has taken its greatest toll on Routt County land values, where sellers have had to realize a more than 50 percent depreciation in value since 2008. Slowly recovering from its post-crash low in 2011 of $143,750, 2014 is posting a $175,000 median price and nearing the $190,000 trend line value.   Today’s buyer should be aware of the options available and the opportunities that remain. In 2014 the single family home market has caught the attention of many, and that window of investment opportunity may not be as open as in condos or townhomes.

Sellers should be realistic about market conditions and not price themselves out of the market. A number of wounds were inflicted over the past several years and although the market is recovering, most buyers remain cautious. –Douglas Labor is the broker/owner of Buyer’s Resource Real Estate of Steamboat, an exclusive buyer broker and 30-year resort real estate veteran.   Sidebar: Economy, quality of life driving market trends Steamboat’s high quality of life and improving labor market are continuing to lift Steamboat out of the recession, says local economic analyst Scott Ford. On the economic front, he says key indicators point to a continued recovery for Routt County, with gross retail sales and unemployment numbers improving in 2014. He adds that the group’s most recent forecast gives reason for optimism.

“We’ve seen an employment recovery, as well as growth in the retail trade sector,” he says. “And the job increases are coming in a number of sectors, including the technological, health care, construction industries and more. It’s a broad-based recovery with both part- and full-time job growth.” Ford also sees encouraging signs in the size of the local workforce and growing income levels. “More than 70 percent of the local work force is working full-time jobs, which is pretty active” he says. “We’re also seeing household income growth greater rate than the rate of inflation.”

Behind it all, he adds, is something most towns don’t have the benefit of: an attractive, family-friendly community. “We live in an extraordinary place, which gives us the best of both worlds,” he says. “We’re still seeing a lot of young families move here, bringing jobs or employment with them.”

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