Census chronicles housing changes

Numbers show Steamboat, Routt County have some of the highest values in nation

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— Median home values in Steamboat Springs rose 157 percent in the 1990s and are among the top 3 percent in the nation, according to Census data released Tuesday.

The city's $308,100 median value for owner-occupied homes ranks 31st of more than 350 places in Colorado, and is almost double the state's value of $166,600.

Colorado has the seventh highest median home value in the country.

The Census information is for owner-occupied homes only. The data does not include information on second homeowners.

There has been an 83 percent rise in the number of owner-occupied homes in Steamboat, from almost 900 homes in 1990 to 1,642 in 2000. Ten years ago, just 124 homes were valued at $200,000 or more, 13 percent of all the owner-occupied homes in the city. By 2000, 1,451 homes or 88 percent were valued at $200,000 or more.

Median home values in the city have more than doubled from the 1990 value of $119,700. Even when 1990 values are adjusted for inflation, the change is still more than 100 percent.

This change in median home value ranks fourth among Colorado places with at least 1,000 owner-occupied units. Superior, Erie and Niwot ranked first, second, and third respectively.

Steamboat has seen higher growth than Colorado as a whole, where there was a 42 percent increase in the number of homes, and a 101 percent increase in median home value, not adjusted for inflation.

"The real truth of it is that we're populating our world, and these resort communities are very desirable," said Randall Hannaway, president of the Steamboat Board of Realtors.

But, he said, growth in Steamboat is not as high as growth in other resort areas.

"Although we're feeling all of these growth pressures and increase in price pressures, we're still not near what's taking place in other resort areas," Hannaway said.

The numbers support Hannaway's point: Though homes in Steamboat may seem pricey, they don't compare to homes in ski towns Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge or even Park City, Utah.

In Aspen, the median home value is more than $1 million. None of the aforementioned towns has a median home value of less than $450,000.

About half of all Aspen homes, one-quarter of all Vail homes, and one-fifth of all Park City homes are valued at more than $1 million.

Only 44, or about 3 percent, of Steamboat's homes are million-dollar homes. Ten years ago, Steamboat had no million-dollar homes, according to the Census.

Countywide, the median home value is $268,500, which ranks the county 26th out of 3,141 counties nationwide. Several ski resort counties rank ahead of Routt including Pitkin, $750,000, second; Eagle, $369,100, ninth; Teton, Wyo., $364,100, 10th; San Miguel, $358,200, 11th; Summit, $317,500, 13th; Summit, Utah, $296,000, 17th; and Blaine, Idaho, $288,800, 21st.

There are 94 owner-occupied homes of $1 million or more in Routt County. That's 2.9 percent of all the homes, ranking Routt County 24th nationwide.

Homes in Hayden showed a median value of $132,000, a 147-percent increase over 1990 when the value was $53,400. Nearly 60 percent of homes are valued between $100,000 and $150,000.

Other nearby communities, their 2000 values and the percent change from 1990:

Oak Creek, $109,600, up 175 percent.

Yampa, $121,200, up 155 percent.

Kremmling, $141,900, up 142 percent.

And Craig, $101,900, up 93 percent.

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