Routt County buyers find value across real estate spectrum

Tom Ross

— Real estate buyers are finding value at both ends of the spectrum as summer turns into fall.

The price per square foot for bank-owned homes in August went as low as $35.29 for a home on East Meyers Street in Oak Creek that was owned by Fannie Mae.

Some of the best values are being produced by bank-owned townhomes in one of the oldest projects in Stagecoach — Project I & II. The name may not have a ring to it, but at 1,428 square feet with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, the townhomes are livable for a family. They date back to 1973, when the Woodmoor Corp. was building a small Alpine ski area at Stagecoach long before the reservoir was built.

The ski area never took off, but the original resort housing on Schussmark Trail on the south side of the lake has returned to value pricing after some unfortunate people paid more than $200,000 for the units in the middle of the past decade.

Today, prices are less than $70,000, and prices per square foot are less than $50.

Stan Urban, of Land Title Guarantee Co., reports that the August sales volume of $46.52 million was up four-tenths of a point from 2010. That’s essentially flat, but the real estate community will greet the trend happily given that August 2009 recorded just $27.2 million in dollar volume.

Transaction volume is another story. The 134 closings in August were down more than 50 percent from the 271 in August 2010 but still relatively robust when compared with 70 and 72 in August 2008 and 2009, respectively.

Urban knows where the buyers of eight homes that sold for $1 million or more in August came from. Three hailed from Texas with single buyers coming from Vienna, Va.; Casco, Maine; Saint Augustine, Fla.; Casper, Wyo.; and Little Rock, Ark.

Three of those million-dollar homes sold for less than $250 per square foot. The lowest-priced purchase on that basis was the $220 per square foot paid for a 4,540-square-foot home in Mountain View Estates near North Steamboat Boulevard. That home was not in foreclosure.

Urban’s research of Routt County records shows that the sale of a large ranch in southwest Routt County boosted sales in the rural Hayden area to $10.5 million on four transactions.

Oak Creek saw three transactions in August for a combined $200,900, while Stagecoach saw four transactions for $168,900. However, the sale of large ranches in rural South Routt drove transactions there to $2.69 million on seven sales. That put rural South Routt on equal footing with downtown Steamboat in terms of August dollar volume. Downtown saw seven sales for a combined $2.4 million.

As they have historically, the neighborhoods at the base of Steamboat Ski Area accounted for the single biggest slice of the real estate cake, with 30 transactions and $13.9 million in dollar volume. That translates to 30 percent of the overall dollar volume and 22.4 percent of unit volume.

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