Patience pays off

Non-residents had time to wait for right price in 2000

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— Patience is a word that tells a great deal about the real estate market in Steamboat Springs and Routt County during 2000.

Patient owners of condominiums, townhomes and single family homes in Steamboat sold their properties for more than 97 percent of their final asking price. And in order to get that price, they were often willing to wait on average more than 225 days for the sale to be consummated. Frequently, they waited 270 days or longer.

John Worden, president of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, the organization that runs the multiple listing service, said the percentage of local property owners who make their primary residence outside of Routt County, helps to explain the trends.

"In Routt County, 67 percent of the tax rolls are made up of people living outside (the area). And inside Steamboat, that number is 70 percent," Worden said.

When those absentee owners decide to list their property for sale, they are apt to be more patient than if the property represented their primary home.

"Our market is dominated by absentee owners. When they bought, it was a discretionary decision," Worden said. "The original purchase was made with discretionary income."

Those factors mean more than half of the people seeking to sell property here are willing to test the market, Worden added.

"The decision to sell is, 'Well, I'll sell, but I want to get this (price),'" Worden said. "They're less motivated, therefore, the list prices tend to push the envelope more than in traditional urban markets."

The average price of a single family home in Steamboat Springs and the immediate surroundings last year was $538,823. The "sold volume" was $104,531,716 on 194 homes. At the beginning of the new year, there were 166 single family homes listed. The average price of those homes now on the market is $931,452.

Worden readily acknowledged that the average price can be heavily influenced by the sales of a handful of homes priced at more than $1 million. But he said the average price of single-family homes sold here has risen steadily.

"It's up $300,000 compared to four years ago," Worden said. "It has climbed more than $50,000 a year."

Worden was careful to point out that his statistics come from the multiple listing service. Because not all of the real estate sold in Routt County was submitted to the multiple listing service property sold by the owner and not through a Realtor, for example the actual numbers are somewhat different.

David Baldinger, Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers said he would be cautious about placing too much emphasis on statistics reflecting the average length of time different types of real estate remain on the market.

"Certain projects, the length of time they stay on the market is over very quickly," Baldinger Jr. said.

He cited the Bronze Tree condominiums as an example.

"The owners there really tend to like what they have and there aren't many on the market. When they do come on the market, there are only one or two and they go fast," Baldinger Jr. said.

On the other hand, Baldinger Jr., said, new townhome projects can skew the figures for average days on the market. That's because they go on the market while they are still under construction.

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