Steamboat Springs Realtor Chris Wittemyer has recorded the plat on the new Barn Village at Steamboat subdivision, signaling the resumption of activity on the site.
Wittemyer, a Realtor with Prudential Steamboat Real Estate, said developers Bob Comes, Jim Kelly and Eric McAfee expect construction on utilities to resume as soon as the site off Pine Grove Road is dry enough to allow work.
The real estate market in Steamboat Springs has quieted since the residential subdivision saw prospective buyers plunk down refundable deposits on more than $36 million in real estate - in less than 24 hours - during Labor Day weekend in 2007. Since then, the number of reservations has been reduced to 17 of the total 54 lots in the first release.
Wittemyer said the local market began to slow down soon after the reservation event and the trend continued through January 2008. The withdrawn reservations represent a culling of people who weren't ready to build or own for the long term, he said.
The anticipated conversion rate of nearly 30 percent, when the 17 lots close during the middle of April, is considered desirable for a new subdivision where the lots aren't yet ready to build, he said.
Wittemyer said the one-day reservation process last September was noteworthy.
"We saw 53 of them reserved in one afternoon and by the next day, there were two deep on most of the lots and three deep on some of them," he said.
The firm contract process began in late November and continued into December, Wittemyer said. It became clear that not everyone who reserved a lot was prepared to go to contract.
"The people who pulled out were speculators," he said. "Their approach was, 'Can I buy this and flip it shortly after I close?' It's a mindset. You don't see many people doing that right now."
The 17 buyers who are on schedule to close next month are people who have a long-term plan to live there as well as a number of homebuilders, Wittemyer said.
Wittemyer's colleague, Pam Vanatta, said the evolution of the contract process at the subdivision has been healthy.
"It's important for the general public to realize that the developers intend for that to be a great neighborhood for the long term," Vanatta said. "Building on the lots and building right is what creates value."
The project is a rarity for single-family subdivisions here, because it will include a 4.5-acre city park surrounding the historic More Barn, an exercise facility with a pool and no through streets within the subdivision, Vanatta added.
The subdivision approval allows primarily three types of housing. There are 12 duplex lots, 34 small lots for single-family homes in a neo-traditional neighborhood with back-loaded garages, and larger lots for larger single-family homes. The neo-traditional lots, measuring between 0.14 and 0.21 acres, sold for between $451,000 and $575,000, Wittemyer said.
The duplex lots were the most expensive in the subdivision, beginning with one lot priced at $995,000 and continuing in small increments up to $1.15 million.
Wittemyer said the developers are contemplating price increases following the closing of the initial 17 sales.
"Bob (Comes) wants to reward the buyers who were first in," he said.
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