Steamboat Springs The demand for single-family homes in Steamboat Springs this year is a tale of two markets thus far. Make that three markets.
The sales of homes in the lower half of the price range are actually ahead of last year's pace, according to statistics gleaned from the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service. However, the sales of homes in the $500,000 to $1 million range, and in the $1 million to $2 million range aren't keeping up with last year. And the trend is mirrored in sales of condominiums and townhomes.
There are currently 71 homes listed for sale at more than $1 million, a supply that will last for several years if the current pace of sales doesn't quicken.
The exception to the trend is in the rarefied air of homes priced at $2 million and up. Through July 16, five homes in the $2 million and up price range had sold this year. That compares to two at the same time last year.
The overall trend could be traceable to the stock market, John Worden said this week. He is president of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors and a Realtor with RE/MAX.
"The trends tell me that the wage earner, the person who isn't relying on Wall Street for his wealth, is still very active," Worden said. "The guys who rely on Wall Street they have backed off somewhat. The very, very wealthy, who were more insulated from the stock market, are still active and seeking to become more diversified."
Worden's colleague Bobby Bomeisl said he is working with two clients who are seeking to reinvest stock market earnings and are looking at real estate as a good alternative.
"They know they're not going to take a loss," Bomeisl said. "There's a lot less volatility in real estate."
Ray Wright of Steamboat Village Brokers said he's noticing the same trend. He's working with clients whose perception is that even if real estate in Steamboat is flat, it's outperforming the market, and they're gaining a nice place to vacation.
Worden hastened to point out that real estate is also less liquid than the stock market.
As of July 16, there were 56 single-family homes on the market in the greater Steamboat area that were priced from zero to $250,000, Worden said. So far this year, 49 homes in that price range have sold. As of July 16 last year, that number was 41 homes. The MLS calculates the current supply of homes priced at $250,000 or less as a 7 month supply.
Bump the price of a single-family home up to the $250,000 to $500,000 range and sales are still tracking ahead of last year 65 compared to 51. the number of current listing is 107, about an 11-month supply.
Worden is especially impressed the average time on the market from homes between $250,000 and $500,000 is 6.5 months. The time homes priced below $250,000 spend on the shelf is even shorter 5.2 months.
"That's great," Worden said. "That means things are happening quickly."
The picture beings to change as you move up the food chain of the local real estate market. Where last year buyers of high-end homes were like sharks circling chum, the surf is quieter this year. By mid-July 2000, 22 homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million had sold, on the way to a year-end total of 43. This year, with 79 homes currently listed in that price range, just two have closed. That doesn't mean more aren't under contract, Worden was careful to point out.
"It's softer, but it's by no means dead," Worden said of the local market for $1 million homes.
This year's market for homes priced $1 million to $2 million is softer than it is for those priced in the high six figures. Through July 16, two homes in that range had closed compared to 19 at the same time a year earlier. There are currently 49 single-family homes on the market in that price range. The MLS places that as a 31-month supply.
One of the trends Worden finds most interesting this year has been the absence of the traditional late-summer spike in sales. His research tells him to expect some of the biggest single months of the year for real estate closing to arrive from August to October, when heavy summer activity on new contracts has had time to close.
Monthly volume last year stayed above $23 million from August through October. There was also a surprising peak in April, but that could be attributed to pent-up closings when The Torian at Creekside condominium project achieved its certificate of occupancy. The C.O. for Torian allowed a significant number of condos in the $500,000 to $700,000 range close all at once. Torian/Creekside accounted for $6.7 million, helping to boost April 2000 closing over the $30 million barrier.
"It's unusual for April to be that high," Worden said.
Everything about 2000 was extraordinary, Worden said.