Routt County’s $540.2 million in real estate volume through November easily surpasses all of 2013

Tom Ross
This single-family home being built by Gerber Berend Design Build in Graystone on the Green is among several under construction through the depth of winter this year. Sales of Routt County homes priced between $1 million and $2 million increased dramatically in 2014.
Tom Ross

— Fueled by strong interest in homes priced from $1 million to $2 million, but also by increasing values for homes in West Steamboat, where the median price year-to-date is up 23 percent, the Routt County real estate market already has posted the highest gross dollar volume in six years — $540.2 million — and December has yet to be counted.

Total gross volume in 2013 was $503.7 million, according to Melissa Gibson, of Land Title Guarantee Co.

The last time annual gross dollar volume in Routt County was higher than $540 million was in 2008 when it reached $725 million on the cusp of a deep recession. Dollar volume for 2009 slumped to $439.8 million and it has been a long time rebounding.

“November was a decent month with $41.4 million in gross sales and 106 transaction,” Gibson wrote in her just-released November market analysis. “While this is down from the last few months, it is good for this time of year.”

She was referring to the fact that September volume was $81.4 million and October volume was $75 million. But November 2014, despite lower dollar volume from the preceding months, was up more than 25 percent over November 2012 and 2013.

Realtor Doug Labor, of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty, said there were 24 sales of single-family homes in West Steamboat in 2014 representing 16 percent of sales in the Steamboat market. It’s the most affordable area for single-family homes in Steamboat, with an average price per square foot of $196 and a median price of $472,250, he said.

Across the range of residential properties here, it’s typical for inventory to be at a seasonal low in January, Labor said, because people are reluctant to put their homes on the market during the holidays. However, the current inventory for modestly priced single-family homes is unusually low in West Steamboat, downtown and the Fish Creek area.

The current number of seven active listings represents just four months of inventory in West Steamboat. There is a three-month supply of single-family homes in downtown where 12 listings are active and the median price last year for homes was $538,750 at an average price per square foot of $339 for typically smaller homes. In Fish Creek, where the median price was $647,500 and the average price per square foot was $285, the inventory of 15 active listings represents a six-month supply, Labor said.

Incoming chairwoman of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors Penny Fletcher, of Colorado Group Realty, said she thinks a significant share of the strength of the 2014 market can be attributed to buyers who have been scrutinizing the real estate opportunities for an extended time.

“Our market got much stronger in 2014,” Fletcher said. “We were seeing buyers come in that were a lot more comfortable with the market and they were buying product they hadn’t purchased in the last couple of years. These are the same buyers who had been looking at real estate for the last four years, wanting to be comfortable that we had finally hit the (post recession) bottom. This year, they saw it was a good time to start buying.”

Million dollar home sales on the rise

Gibson’s research reveals that 62 homes priced between $1 million and $2 million had sold in Routt County as of the end of November compared to 46 for all of 2013. With December yet to be added to the tally, those 62 sales already had added $86 million to the total gross dollar volume for 2014. Homes priced from $1 million to $2 million totaled $61.5 million in 2013.

This year’s buying binge has left the inventory significantly reduced and contractors were working through the harsh late December climate building new homes in subdivisions like Graystone on the Green adjacent to Rollingstone Golf Course.

“In the $1 million to $2 million range, it’s slim picking,” Fletcher said. “If homes are priced appropriately of the product, they are selling. Two years ago, you could have had that house on the market for two years without any interest.”

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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