Condos wave 'so long' to sub-$100k prices

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Median sales price for condos in Steamboat

2001 $178,000

2002 $200,000

2003 $205,250

2004 $217,275

2005 $247,000

2006 $281,950

— The Steamboat Springs real estate market has crossed a threshold it isn't likely to glimpse again.

The days when a real estate buyer could hope to find a modest condominium for sale in Steamboat Springs for less than $100,000 apparently are gone.

"Last year was the first year we did not have a condo sale under $100,000," Doug Labor said. "The least expensive condo sold in 2006 was $104,000."

Labor is a Realtor with Buyer's Resource Real Estate here. He also acts as the official keeper of statistics for the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service.

He said although the condo market is exceptionally tight, with 70 units on the market as of Jan. 17, condos represented the largest single portion of the market by product type in 2006. Condos accounted for 40 percent of transactions here last year. That compares to 34 percent of the unit volume attributable to single-family homes.

Labor said the low end of the condominium market here in 2006 was a 295-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath unit at Mount Werner Meadows. It sold for $352 per square foot.

The number of condominiums sold here last year was 406, down from the high this decade of 423 in 2005. As recently as 2001, the total number of condos sold here was 161.

The median sale price of condos sold in 2006 was $281,950, up 14 percent from a year ago. The median price in 2001 (meaning half of all condos sold for more, and half sold for less) was $178,000.

Labor was able to recall a time, not too far in the past, when a modest unit at Shadow Run, near the corner of Walton Creek and Whistler roads, could be had for $70,000 to $80,000. Today, a one-bedroom, one-bath unit in the project is listed for $117,000.

Not far away, at Walton Village, a 565-square-foot corner unit sold for $120,000 after just two days on the market.

Whistler Village Townhomes, although technically not a condo project, has represented starter homes for Steamboat couples for many years. Built in 1980, the two-bedroom units originally sold for less than $50,000. In 2007, a 920-square-foot unit is listed at $187,000 and a 968-square-foot unit is on the market for $280,000.

A significant number of the condos on the market in January were in projects including the Emerald Lodge phase of Trappeur's Crossing, Sunray Meadows and the Highmark, Labor said.

Although new condominium projects with units projected to sell at more than $1 million were grabbing headlines in 2006, by far the largest number of transactions during the past year varied between $250,000 and $400,000. Two-bedroom units dominated the sales, with 57 percent of the market share, according to Labor's analysis.

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