Steamboat’s ‘entry level’ single family homes top out at $600,000 |

Steamboat’s ‘entry level’ single family homes top out at $600,000

Editor’s note: This article is the first installment in a two-part series about the Steamboat Springs and surrounding area’s housing market.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the Steamboat Springs real estate market enters late winter 2017/2018, the dynamics that influence home buying are evolving, with limited supply and the rising cost of new construction calling the tune.

Melissa Gibson of Land Title Guarantee Company reported in her year-end report that total real estate transactions in Routt County for 2017 were $809,183,833, the most since the record year of 2007 when the local market topped $1.5 billion in sales.

Routt County property owners don't have to be reminded that eight years ago, that bubble burst, due in part to the financial markets packaging questionable loans and selling them as investments and some toxic lending practices that required very little, or nothing, in the form of down payments.

Realtors in the Steamboat Springs Market say that while residential prices, driven by scarce inventory, have increased dramatically in the last couple of years, the 2017 market was very different from the market a decade ago.

Jon Wade, principle of The Steamboat Group, said many of the newly-constructed, multi-family residential units that went under contract in 2007 did not close until the projects were completed in 2009, with the recession underway. That just added to the pain.

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"It's reassuring that we're just over half of where we were in 2007," Wade said, implying that there is still room for the current market to grow.

And lending practices are on sound footing, he added.

While some high-value buyers in search of a home loan, who already have substantial assets, might wonder why they are being asked by lenders  to produce their "fourth grade report cards," Wade quipped, "the lending market is in a good place and it's more of a reasoned process now."

"You can buy what you're qualified for," he said. "The lending market is in a good place."

If there is a concern going into 2018, it's the shortage of inventory.

Cam Boyd, broker/co-owner with Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty, said the inventory of properties for sale goes through an annual cycle with relatively low supply in January, building toward a peak in late June to early July when potential sellers understand that their property will look its most appealing.

Still, Boyd said, even for mid-winter, inventory is unusually low right now.

Steamboat Sotheby's research indicates that as of January, existing listings represented an inventory that would last for about seven months, compared to 2017 when it was higher than 15 months and 2016 when it was almost a two-year supply.

Steamboat Today reported Jan. 20 that there was one single-family home with the boundaries of the Steamboat Springs School District showing on the multiple listing service for less than $500,000 and a total of 17 homes listed for prices below $1 million.

Gibson reported that the average residential price in Old Town Steamboat, one of the hottest neighborhoods in Routt County, in 2017 was $687,614. That translates into a price per square foot of $415. As recently as 2016, those numbers were an average sale price of $662,00 and $376 per square foot.

Boyd said the price range that's most lacking in the single-family home inventory is the middle range.

"The middle range is now $700,000 to $1.2 million. The low end of the single-family market is kind of $400,000 to $600,000. It's hard to get down under that unless you go to Hayden or Oak Creek," he said. "Every year, it bumps up (by) $100,000 it seems. If you look at a price range that's lacking, it's that middle range. We just don't have a lot of inventory available."

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

Annual  Routt County $million dollar home sales 2014 to 2017

2017: 110