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Steamboat real estate shows its value in the era of COVID-19

More and more location-neutral buyers are setting their sights on our special community

Jon and Wendy Wade, founders and owners at The Steamboat Group.
What’s in store for the Steamboat market over the next few years?
  • We all know that there will be ups and downs.
  • Covid pulled in plans for many and the first wave was strong so many wonder if things will pull back next year. That is a possibility, but I would also consider that many people will wait a year to see how working remotely goes and if it is practical long term. Others didn’t find the property in the first wave and are still actively looking. 
  • What gives us comfort looking forward is that Steamboat is a great place to live or vacation and more people are flexible in where they live. 
  • Prices are up but increasing values also bring more properties on the market as current owners consider their goals to sell once they get a certain amount of equity or their needs change. 
  • In a way nothing has changed. Steamboat is a great place, with a wonderful community of nice people that locals love and many people aspire to be a part of. That has been true for a long time and we don’t see that changing. 

2020 has been quite the year for the Steamboat real estate market. As many urban residents around the country have shifted to working from home, they also had a chance to think and re-prioritize where “home” could actually be.

Jon Wade, Broker/Owner of The Steamboat Group, said COVID-19 has caused many people to hit the reset button.

“These things allowed them to pull in their dreams to live in Steamboat and at the same time reduced the importance of the reasons they lived where they currently live,” he said.



Flexibility in choosing where to live

Steamboat is a town with a great community, world-class recreation and excellent schools. Before COVID-19, Wade said these aspects had already enabled 30% of the local workforce to be location neutral. 



“Based on the increased flexibility many people have now, we expect this percentage to continue to grow. This includes for those that can be here full-time and people who decide to spend part of their year here,” Wade said.

COVID’s effects on local real estate

Marketwise, COVID-19 took what was traditionally a busy summer in real estate and pushed these sales into a shorter time frame. It also contributed to a busier market in the late summer and fall. 

“We expect more people to be looking for the right place over the winter since not everyone found the right place and many are still actively looking,” Wade said. “The key thing that gives us comfort is that, for the most part, the people buying already wanted to be in Steamboat and already knew Steamboat is a fit for them so they are likely to stay.” 

The Steamboat Group reports that inventory was low for Steamboat given the increased demand. That did increase prices and created more multiple offers.

“That said, even in multiple offers (which were still not a given), it was usually two or three vs. 20 or more that was normal in Denver and other big cities during their prime selling seasons,” Wade said.

Are there any deals out there?

Finding a real estate “deal” in Steamboat depends on your individual situation and perspective. 

For some, the lowest price is a good deal, and for others, the best value is the one that is a better fit for the long term. If you were to compare the price of a condo in Steamboat to a condo in smaller towns around the country, or to 10 years ago right here in Steamboat, Wade said you would think that there are no good deals currently available in Steamboat. 

However, if you compare it to a condo or single family home in Breckenridge or many other Colorado ski towns, Steamboat is relatively affordable. 

“We make sure to take the time to educate our clients on local market conditions, talk through the pros and cons for them, and give them the insights they need to make the best decisions for their situation,” Wade said. “Our team’s goal is to help you see the big picture beyond just price that makes it the right home for your situation and family, not just a ‘deal’ in one regard,” Wade said.  

Advice for buyers

The Steamboat Group works to prepare and educate potential buyers on the current market conditions. As things are constantly evolving with real estate, The Steamboat Group firmly believes that being educated on the market is the first step toward finding the right property for you. 

“Learn about the Steamboat market, analyze your goals, lay out what you are looking for and develop a strategy for moving forward if the property you are looking for comes on the market,” Wade said. 

For many individuals, it begins by looking at your finances. If working with a lender, having the pre-approval process completed can help you move forward when you’ve found a property. 

“We are encouraging buyers to do their due diligence as well and speak with a real estate agent they trust,” Wade said. “What are important things in your dream property in Steamboat? What does your ideal property look like? How can they help you understand how this matches your finances and your goals?”


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