People may be looking to Hayden for more affordable housing, but real estate numbers show the town is not immune to the price growth for which Steamboat Springs is known.
During the first half of this year, almost $2.8 million worth of homes sold in Hayden, compared with about $1.7 million during the same period last year, according to figures from the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service.
At the same time, there were only four more home transactions in Hayden during that time than during the first six months of 2004.
Jack Giessinger, a Realtor at Bear River Realty, verified that although business this summer is about the same as last year, values have increased 10 percent to 15 percent.
New homes in town range from about $250,000 to $275,000, he said.
But the rising values aren't deterring buyers from Steamboat, said Annette Hall, real estate broker with Prudential Steamboat Realty and a Hayden resident.
"A lot of working-class people from Steamboat are trying to find something for under $300,000," she said.
Lower prices, combined with a quieter lifestyle, are translating to more demand in Hayden, Hall said.
"If properties are placed within the market, they sell quickly," she said.
Hall is particularly optimistic that a new business park under construction in Hayden will help push the market's momentum.
"I think it is just going to boom," she said.
Giessinger estimated that about 40 percent of his buyers are looking to relocate from Steamboat. The rest are split between Hayden residents looking to upgrade and buyers from outside the Yampa Valley.
With so many Craig residents working in Steamboat, Giessinger said he is surprised he hasn't seen more of them trying to relocate to Hayden.
Georgina McAnally, real estate broker with American Northwest Realty in Craig, estimated the average price for an existing home in Hayden is $160,000.
For $250,000, buyers are looking at Craig's high-end market.
"I think they can buy more home here for the dollar than in Routt County," she said.
Giessinger said some of his clients have been discouraged with Hayden prices.
"That's the unfortunate part of how the market is going," he said. "With values rising the way they are, people still are astounded at the prices, even in Hayden."
Still, there should be good demand for the 85 homes planned in the Lake Village project south of Hayden, he said.
The Town Board recently approved the subdivision. Developers plan to build homes priced in three price ranges. They hope to price entry-level homes between $200,000 and $225,000.
Homes in that range should sell well, Giessinger said.