Steamboat Springs Developer Heinz Astein and listing Realtor Mike Woolverton are jumping back into the rebounding local real estate market with a new subdivision.
Flat Tops View Village will test what people are willing to pay for developable duplex lots within a mile of the ski area base.
The 19 lots in Flattops View Village have just come on the market at prices ranging from$220,000 to $250,000. With one exception, the lots are carefully drawn to comprise 0.28 of an acre. Not coincidentally, that size, about 12,000 square feet, represents the minimum size for a duplex lot in the city of Steamboat Springs.
"We're kind of feeling things out and getting some feedback," Woolverton said. "It's tough to price anything in this market because of the lack of competition. We've had some initial price shock but when people go out and look at comparable lots," they adjust their thinking.
The prices for the small lots also reflect the fact that there is the opportunity to build and sell two residences on each lot.
Flattops View Village wraps around a parcel of land that fits inside the intersection of Village Drive and Meadow Lane, about three-quarters of a mile from the gondola building. It also creates a new city street Snowflake Circle.
The project offers more than an acre of open space, including a small wetlands and higher ground with mature native shrubs.
The subdivision is close to the existing Bear Creek duplex subdivision. Woolverton said he looked at recent sales of duplexes at Bear Creek and learned they have been going for about $500,000 per side in some cases.
Working backwards from guidelines on what percentage of a duplex should be accounted for by land costs, he arrived at his pricing schedule for Flattops View.
Small developers and contractors are still a little wary of getting back into the spec home market, and they aren't showing much interest in Flattops View at this time, Woolverton said.
Woolverton said he's had some interest from large families interested in building two vacation homes side-by-side and from people who are contemplating building and living in one half of the duplex, then selling the other.
Banks typically want 25 percent down on building lots and that means purchasers will need to bring about $60,000 cash to the table. Bank interest rates are so favorable right now that it doesn't make sense for the developers to arrange their own financing, Woolverton said.
Flattops View Village is part of the original Sunray Meadows development. Astein represents a group of German investors who own the project. At one point, about seven years ago Astein had successfully won approval for a development on the site called Victorian Village. However, the developers needed to hold the property for a long time to take full advantage of German tax laws, and Victorian Village was never built.
Woolverton said Astein is considering building a duplex in the subdivision to establish the value range for the subdivision.
"The key in any brand new subdivision is to get started off with a flavor of what we want to see there," Woolverton said.
Flattops View Village will allow builders and owners to build their own home plans, but Woolverton and Astein will serve as an architectural review committee that will screen house plans. Woolverton promised it wouldn't be overly strict, but that it would guard against any modular or symmetrical looks. The guidelines call for a certain percentage of rock work and natural woods on the outside of the structure for a "mountain look."
Woolverton is a broker with Elk River Realty in Steamboat Springs.