Inventory shrinks, prices rise

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Local real estate experts are concerned about the lack of real estate inventory in Steamboat Springs.

"It's really scary, but that's kind of what we've been dealing with because of the lack of new product available in town," said Doug Labor, broker-owner for Buyers Resource.

Late last week, there were 983 properties listed in the Multiple Listing Service, said Labor, who tracks statistics for the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors. That is close to the historic low of 971 properties recorded last quarter.

The inventory has been steadily decreasing since 2000. There were 1,134 listings throughout 2005. In the past 10 years, the average number of listings has been about 1,450.

The low inventory continues to drive up prices, and sellers are getting, on average, 97 percent of what they are asking for their properties. In some cases, property owners are juggling multiple offers and are turning down offers that are higher than the listed price, Labor said.

One of the most shocking statistics is the number of condominiums on the market. On Thursday, just 75 condominiums were listed in the Steamboat area. That is about a two-month supply, Labor said.

"To have 75 condominiums on the market, a lot of times that would be equal to one new project coming online," Labor said.

Large blocks of new properties becoming available is becoming increasingly more uncommon, and the number of available properties is clearly translating into higher prices.

Last year, there were 824 residential properties sold with a median sales price of $313,648 in Steamboat and surrounding subdivisions. This year, there have been 329 residential properties listed at a median price of $605,230.

Labor does not see this trend ending any time soon.

"There is going to be a big disparity compared to the median price of what sold in the past," he said.

In 2005, there were 176 single-family homes sold at a median price of $560,000. There have been 102 listings this year with a median list price of $1.3 million.

There were 412 condominiums sold last year at a media price of $249,950. This year, there have been 74 condos listed at a median price of $375,000.

There were 198 townhomes purchased last year at a median price of $385,000. There have been 91 listed this year listing for an average of $675,000.

"Bottom line -- if you own real estate right now, you're doing extremely well," said Tom Wilson with Prudential Steamboat Realty. "People that are trying to get their foot in the door, that's going to be a real challenge."

This trend of shrinking inventory and higher prices is not unique to Steamboat.

"Our market compared to other areas in the mountain area is still really attractive compared to price per square foot," Wilson said. "Real estate is still so reasonable in Steamboat."

-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210

or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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