Steamboat Springs The family homes in the Silver Spur subdivision are conducting a serious flirtation with the $1 million barrier.
It's a neighborhood just outside the western city limits of Steamboat Springs where a decade ago, families aspired to build new homes for prices less than $300,000.
Joy Rasmussen of Colorado Group Realty confirmed this week she has listed a home on Winchester Trail at an asking price of $1 million and there is very serious interest. Also this month, Realtor Brian Ladd of ReMax Steamboat has placed a home in Silver Spur - it was listed at $989,900.
The most recent home to sell was listed by Wendy Fisher and Crystal Staepel of Anchor Realty at an asking price of $899,000. It closed this week for $885,000, 48 days after it was listed. It offers 3,662 square feet on Winchester Court.
Silver Spur is situated on 110 acres off Routt County Road 42, just west of the Steamboat city limits. Developer W.C. White sold the first lot for $65,000 in the late 1990s. Routt County's original approval for the subdivision stipulated some of the lots be reserved for homes beneath a size threshold to ensure at least some of the new homes would be "affordable" for people in the local work force.
Subsequently, a number of small modular homes appeared in the neighborhood. All 129 of the original lots had sold by December 2004, and with the scarcity of land within the city limits, prices have moved up steadily.
Recently, homes in Silver Spur listed at prices from $625,000 to $885,000 have been going under contract within eight days.
Rasmussen attributed the short "time on market" to the fact that some prospective buyers are intently focused on Silver Spur.
"Locals are watching Silver Spur for the right home to come on the market," she said. Rasmussen said although some buyers are from outside the area, many are already Steamboat residents seeking to trade up in the marketplace.
"Nowhere else can you have a house on a great lot," she said. "It's an attractive area to live in."
Traffic in Silver Spur is light. Adults can enjoy an extensive trail network and children can walk to a playground.
Ladd said when he first came here two years ago he was mystified that longtime residents viewed Silver Spur as being less desirable than neighborhoods within the city limits. Already, he's seeing that outlook shift.
Ladd theorizes the small modulars built in the first phase of Silver Spur created an image of the subdivision that didn't fit with homes that would someday be priced in the $800s and $900s.
In the past, Rasmussen said, many locals felt west Steamboat was too long of a commute. In today's market, Steamboat II, Heritage Park and Silver Spur look close-in compared to owning a home in Hayden 25 miles to the west.
Ladd says Silver Spur offers a desirable alternative for prosperous Steamboat residents for whom mortgages, margins, salaries and family neighborhoods are a consideration.
"It's a product of alternatives," Ladd said. "The mountain has had such a strong run by benefiting from the resort market. We're, in effect, running locals out of the mountain area, Old Town and downtown. They can't compete with the second-home buyer."
Pricing the large homes in the most recent phase of Silver Spur is a little tricky, Rasmussen said, because there have been few homes of similar stature in the neighborhood.
"The (comparative sales) and appraisals that come back on my desk are comps from other parts of town," she said.
Another factor is the difficulty homeowners have in understanding where the market might be in three months - there's a natural fear of under pricing real estate in a market that is so "upwardly mobile," as Rasmussen put it.
"The market is a moving target," she said. "Sellers have to be very, very careful in pricing their homes."
Asking too much for that house in Silver Spur might cause sellers to miss the active summer selling season, which could cause them to wait for six months or so.
Ladd says the best way to understand the prices of homes in Silver Spur is to back out the cost of lots throughout the Steamboat market and then realize that lots in Silver Spur, at $275,000, are a big part of the overall sales price.
A buyer who purchased a lot in Silver Spur next year for $275,000 could expect to pay $250 per square foot to build a home. Punch in 3,000 square feet and the total package quickly adds up to $1.025 million. Ladd said if Steamboat 700 decides to roll out new product gradually during the next two decades, he expects home values in Silver Spur to continue to climb.
Comparable "homes in Fish Creek cost at least $1.5 million," he said. "You get 30 percent more home for the money in Silver Spur. I don't see any way but up."