Real estate sales see gains across the board

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Homebuyers, homebuilders and investors should be smiling as real estate numbers continue to climb in 2003.

The numbers, posted by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors' multiple listing service, prove that the real estate market in Steamboat is more reliable in terms of investment returns than most options on the stock market.

"Anything you invest in seems to perform well," said Broker David Baldinger Jr., of Steamboat Village Brokers. "Almost all elements of the market are sound investments."

Condominiums, homes and lots all posted gains in dollar volume and unit volume during the first three quarters of 2003, compared to the same period in 2002, according to the multiple listing service.

The value of acreage saw the most dramatic increase. The total dollar volume increased to $201.9 million from $192 million in the first three quarters of last year, a gain of almost 5 percent in dollar value.

The number of acreage sales decreased, down 6 percent from this time last year. The amount of acreage sold is decreasing because of the high price and a steadily declining inventory, Baldinger said.

The market for houses continues to be strong, leading the overall real estate market with an increase of more than 15 percent in dollar volume. Unit volume of homes is up 6 percent and dollars/unit of homes is up 5 percent, with the average price reaching an all-time high of $585,684.

This average price should not scare potential homebuyers with smaller budgets, Baldinger said. Many homes being built in Steamboat, such as in West End Village, have much lower price tags, but the recent construction of more high-end homes skews the average.

But home-value appreciation has increased for all properties, Baldinger said, also contributing to the stability of the market.

For condominiums, the dollar volume increased 3 percent, and unit volume increased 6 percent, showing steady growth. The average price decreased slightly, which indicates market shifts toward a healthy number of units selling for less than $300,000.

Interestingly, townhome sales, which also are in the condo category, exceeded regular condo sales for the first time. This trend coincides with market demand during the past several years for larger hybrid units, which blend elements of single-family homes with the convenience of common amenities, maintenance and management, Baldinger said.

Residential lot sales also have posted gains in 2003 with the total number of lots sold up more than 10 percent. Total dollar volume in lot sales also was up 5 percent, which indicates investor confidence in land as a long-term investment, Baldinger said.

Although dollars per unit in lot sales decreased slightly, down 5 percent, the statistic is a factor of increased inventory in several west Steamboat subdivisions, such as Silver Spur and West End Village, as well as a decrease in higher-end lots, such as Catamount Ranch. Overall value within respective price categories of residential lots continues to increase.

If the fourth quarter is as strong as last year, total dollar volume should total more than $225,000 for the fifth straight year.

-- To reach Nick Foster call 871-4204

or e-mail nfoster@steamboatpilot.com

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