Steamboat Springs The depth of the 2009 building slump here was underscored this week when the Routt County Regional Building Department issued a report showing that just eight permits were issued all year for new single-family homes in Steamboat Springs city limits.
They had an aggregate value of $6.4 million for permit purposes — values that are lower than retail home prices.
In contrast, the valuation of single-family homes permitted in Steamboat in 2006 was $25.5 million. That number was $18.8 million in 2007 and $17.48 million in 2008.
The numbers for duplexes were a little better: 12 units (six buildings) with a combined valuation of $8.6 million.
The number of new home permits for Routt County outside of Steamboat was substantially larger — 50 homes with a combined value of $29 million. But even that number of home starts was 58 percent of the 2008 total of 86 homes and less than one-third of the 2006 total of 161 homes.
Carl Steidtmann, chief economist for Deloitte, expressed concern about the second-home market here Friday during a talk before the annual meeting of Main Street Steamboat.
“I think it’s going to be a very tough market,” Steidtmann said. “The biggest difference is in the credit markets.”
Steidtmann, who lives here, pointed out that vacation home developers have lost private securitization of the mortgage industry. Also, mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have absorbed huge losses in the past two years.
Yet, as the new year begins, there are some visible signs of new residential construction starts in the Steamboat Boulevard neighborhood north of Mount Werner Road and just down the hill from Steamboat Ski Area.
Bruce Shugart, of The Porches of Steamboat, announced this week that his development company has dug the foundation for a new high-end
duplex, and a few hundred yards away, framing crews are closing in a large contract duplex on Montview Court being built by Tom Dover, of Dover Development and Construction.
The irony is that The Porches of Steamboat has 17 new townhomes for sale in the new All Seasons development across Rockies Way. However, a client expressed interest in buying the specific “Lodgepole” duplex floor plan, and The Porches said “yes.”
Shugart said he had no reservations about breaking ground on a new building when he had completed units nearby.
“Did we hesitate? Only about which lot to build on,” he said.
Buoyed by six sales in the past six months at The Porches of Steamboat, Shugart is encouraged that 2010 will be a better year for developers than 2009 was. And he sees Steamboat activity being more robust than the other mountain towns his company does business in.
“Right now, Steamboat seems to be a little more active than the other valleys,” Shugart said. “We’re surprised at how many active buyers we’re working with. They are taking HOA documents and floor plans home with them. This is new business. They are people who are talking about buying (something) in the next two to six months. We haven’t seen that — the last 18 months, 2008-2009, wasn’t what anyone wanted.”
Emily Crider, of Pinnacle Resort Management, said The Porches rental units were nearly full during the December holidays and that a significant number of visitors expressed interest in purchasing.
Shugart and development partner Richard Dean are able to keep construction of the new duplex in-house — their Glenwood Springs-based contracting firm, Structural Associates, is building the duplex. Crews were assembling concrete forms there Wednesday.
Dean said in 2008 that the intent of developing All Seasons was to offer the same high level of finishes, personal services and amenities The Porches represents, in a smaller home.
Shugart said last week that current demand is for the larger homes in The Porches’ duplexes, which average about 4,000 square feet.
“Our larger homes are the ones that are selling,” he said. “Three-thousand square feet doesn’t seem to be getting the traction. The ones we’re building now are 5,000 square feet.”