Median home price declines by 22.5 percent |

Median home price declines by 22.5 percent

Tom Ross

Home price changes

Median single-family home

County Oct. '08 Oct. '07 Change

Eagle $839,300 $810,000 +3.6%

Garfield $372,500 $394,950 -6%

Pitkin $4.1M $3.7M +11%

Routt $511,000 $660,000 -22.5%

Summit $657,500 $648,750 +1%

Source: Land Guarantee Title Co.

The average price of single-family homes in Steamboat Springs is holding relatively strong at $996,816, but a 22.5 percent decline in the median home price in Rout County tells a different story.

Land Title Guarantee Co. reports that the median price of a single-family home here dropped from $660,000, based on statistics through the end of October 2007, to $511,000 at the end of October 2008.

The median price reflects the middle of the range and a decline suggests the range widened, either at the high or low end.

Prudential Steamboat Realty’s Pam Vanatta has concluded it was the latter.

“It has slipped quite a bit at the low end,” Vanatta said. “That doesn’t surprise me. There may be some homeowners who are a little leveraged and want to get out of the monthly payments.”

Steamboat’s decline in the median price of housing is in line with the entire western U.S., according to Land Title Guarantee Co., but not with Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties, which have experienced slight increases in median home value.

The average price of a single-family home here in the second quarter of 2007 was about $890,000.

Vanatta said the new year might bring some changes to the local market.

“There hasn’t been a real price drop in prices here in 2008,” Vanatta said. “I think in 2009, we’ll see some sales that will affect the market. We just haven’t seen it yet.”

Vanatta said she would pay close attention to appraisers next year as they look for comparable sales to use in determining the value of properties. She said she would not be surprised if some appraisals next year are based on a single comparison.

It is difficult to discern a trend in the Steamboat market right now, Vanatta said. Isolated sales range from a modest Chinook Townhome to a luxury home in The Sanctuary.

“Our market is spotty right now, but things are selling,” she said. “I just put a house under contract in Fox Estates. They didn’t give it away.”

Phone volume at Prudential Steamboat has picked up this month, and prospective buyers are being very specific about what kind of property they are seeking.

“They’re asking things like, ‘I’m looking for a condo at the mountain. What’s the best deal on the market right now?’ It’s a great buyer’s market if you’re looking at high-end homes,” Vanatta said.

She is optimistic that sales volume, driven by declining interest rates, will increase in 2009.

– To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205

or e-mail

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