Housing market soars in Hayden

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— The raw statistics for home sales in the Hayden area during August are startling.

Records on file at the Routt County Courthouse show that the average transaction price for a dwelling in Hayden and the surrounding area last month was $463,538, up nearly 180 percent from August 2006 - when the average price was $166,590.

Realtors say without interpretation, the data may be misleading.

"The Hayden market has seen a significant increase. However, some of those involve homes on larger tracts of land that skew the average sales price," Pam Vanatta of Prudential Steamboat Realty said. Her company maintains an office in Hayden.

Roger Johnson is a developer creating new housing subdivisions in Hayden with completed homes costing as low as $250,000 in The Lake Village. It's the first phase of The Villages at Hayden. Johnson said a couple of distinct trends are pushing housing prices upward.

He said escalating land prices and a shift from older products to substantial numbers of new homes coming on the market are shifting perceptions of the Hayden market.

"What I think is happening in Hayden, first, is that the land values have gone up fairly drastically," Johnson said.

Lots at the Lake Village are advertised at prices as low as $65,000, but the cost of lots in Steamboat will exert pressure on lots in Hayden, Johnson said.

Among his company's projects is Hidden Springs Ranch, which offers 5-acre lots in the $295,000 range. The first two homes at Hidden Springs are just being built. However, there are signs that within two or three years, there will be a number of expensive homes there.

"We only have a couple of rooftops up, but we're seeing houses based on construction loans approved for $900,000 and even up to $1 million," he said. "The high end will start to pull up values."

The other trend that creates an impression of drastically escalating home prices in Hayden, Johnson said, is a shift from older products to brand-new product.

After going for years with a trickle of older homes being listed and turning over at fairly low absorption rates, brand-new houses built at today's higher construction costs are coming on the market. They are contributing to substantial year-over-year jumps in the average sale price of homes.

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