Condominium market heats up

Inventory equates to 3-month supply

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The market for resort condominiums in Steamboat Springs is threatening to out-sell the supply.

Doug Labor of Buyer's Resource Real Estate of Steamboat said 112 condominium sales closed in the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30. A quick glance at the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service reveals there are 111 condominiums on the market as of Oct. 19.

"We're going into ski season with a three-month supply of condos," Labor said.

He serves as the official "keeper of the stats" for the local real estate industry.

The number of sales during the three-month period that just ended isn't out of the norm - Labor said 423 condominiums sold in all of 2005. However, it's clear that as the available undeveloped multi-family land near the base of the ski area shrinks to almost nothing, there won't be unlimited new product being delivered to the market going forward.

Emerald Lodge, currently under construction in Base Meadows South, is adding 32 units to the Trappeur's Crossing family. Prices begin in the $700,000 range. Michael Hurley, a member of the development team, said 23 of the units have already sold. He anticipates the project will be complete 11 months from now.

The Highmark, nearing completion at Apres Ski Way and Village Drive, has seven unsold units available for sale. One Steamboat Place, just across the street, still is going through the planning process and would deliver as many as 85 high-end condos to the marketplace.

Projects under way in downtown Steamboat will produce another 175 urban-loft-style condominium units.

Developer Jim Cook, who is involved in three of the projects, said he's hopeful the appeal of dine-in, dine-out condos will rival the appeal of ski-in, ski-out units at the ski mountain.

Labor said the median price for a condominium sale in the third quarter was $275,000, an indication that a number of the transactions are re-sales in older projects. The condo sales last quarter ranged from $115,000 for a small Walton Village unit to $998,000 for a three-bedroom, three-bath unit in Creekside at Torian. The ski-in, ski-out unit's selling price converts to $596 a square foot.

Labor said the third quarter of 2006 represents the second straight year in which the overall market produced record or near-record unit volume in spite of limited inventory.

Sales last quarter reached 1,157, down slightly from the 2005 record of 1,206.

"A lack of inventory in the entry level was the only thing that kept us from a record," Labor said.

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