Charting a course to $1 billion

Southern migration drives median home price down slightly

Tom Ross

Steamboat Springs is poised to become a billion-dollar real-estate market.

The Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service is reporting record sales of $605 million in 2005. However, the Routt County Clerk’s Office and private title companies confirm the size of the local real estate market last year was more than $880 million. If the pace of growth in real estate dollar volume of the past two years continues in 2006, the local market is poised to crack 10 figures.

The Multiple Listing Service is reporting that the value of real estate sold within its boundaries last year (essentially Routt County) grew by 31 percent from 2004’s total of $462 million.

“We pretty much hit records in all categories with the exception that the median price came down in a couple of categories,” Doug Labor of Buyers Resource Real Estate said. He is the statistician for the MLS.

The large discrepancy bet-ween sales reported by the MLS and the $880 million reported by the county can be explained by the fact that not all real estate transactions involve a Realtor. However, if one applied the 31 percent growth rate realized by the MLS in 2005 to the $880 million, it quickly becomes clear that this market is set to surpass $1 billion this year. If the broader market were to achieve 14 percent growth in dollar volume this year, it would eclipse $1 billion.

Labor has spied a trend within a trend in the year-end MLS sales figures. The number of residential transactions of all types was up 15 percent last year and the dollar volume was up 25 percent. However, the median price of a residential unit dropped 8 percent — from $290,000 in 2004 to $266,500 in 2005.

“I think it’s a result of where people are buying,” Labor said. The West of Steamboat market was largely stagnant in 2005, Labor said, because of a lack of new inventory. That sent homebuyers elsewhere in the county, including Stagecoach, where the number of transactions grew 63 percent, from 19 in 2004 to 31 in 2005.

The price of single-family homes in Hayden was up 21 percent last year, from $169,500 to $205,000, Labor said. However, the number of transactions in that category was down 18 percent, from 33 to 27. The explanation can be found in the growth in sales of undeveloped lots, from 18 to 33, he said.

Although the median price of residential units in the Steamboat MLS declined slightly in 2005, that trend was not observed among single-family homes within Steamboat Springs city limits. The median price of a home in the city rose 23 percent from $530,000 in 2004 to $650,000 last year.

Realtor Ray Wright of Steam–boat Village Brokers said his research shows prices in the neighborhoods south of Walton Creek Road, where many modest homes are situated, are typically $300 per square foot.

Labor predicts the growth trend in the county beyond Steamboat will continue in 2006.

“Nothing’s going to happen (in terms of new single-family housing developments) close to town in the next 12 months that’s going to make a real change,” he said. “People will continue to look for opportunities.”

People who are finding opportunities inside the city limits are finding them in condominiums. The number of condominium sales last year grew to 412 from 321 in 2004. Although the medium price of a condo here grew 14 percent last year, it still sits just below $250,000. And it’s still possible to find a condo for $180,000 Labor said.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or e-mail

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.