Steamboat Springs The last week in June and the first week in July brought the sudden sale of four new-construction townhomes in Eco Corral in the Hilltop and Tamarack neighborhood of Steamboat Springs.
Realtor Darrin Fryer, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, who was involved on both sides of sales at Eco Corral, said it was the convergence of 3.75 percent interest rates, the city of Steamboat Springs’ willingness to replat the townhome project and a growing scarcity of desirable inventory in the mid-$300,000 range that helped the sales come together in a span of weeks. A 7 percent price drop from the owner, Wells Fargo Bank, helped to seal the deals.
“These four townhomes all closed in four or five weeks,” Fryer said. “It was a combination of things. The market in that price point has really firmed up. People who are really looking realized there’s nothing else” as appealing as the three-year-old Eco Corral townhomes on Clermont Circle off Tamarack Drive.
Four of the townhomes sold recently for $359,500, $329,500, $326,500 and $354,800.
The project originally was approved for 24 townhomes and four more affordable units, with the first building going under construction in 2008.
Cindy Rogers, of Steamboat Village Brokers, brought the buyer to one of the recent sales. She said her buyer paid $329,500 for their 1,663-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3.5-bath unit that came with a two-car garage. The selling price was the equivalent of $198 per square foot.
“My clients already own a Lodge condominium here and were looking for a more permanent home to retire to someday,” Rogers said. “They looked for 18 months and what sold them were the high-end finishes — hand-scraped walnut flooring, travertine and granite. He also liked that there is some solar heating at Eco Corral.”
It is the availability of mortgages at 3.75 percent interest that’s really making a difference in the real estate market right now, Fryer said.
He is seeing people in the local market who have rebuilt their credit or moved to town to take a job who are able to leverage $50,000 to $80,000 more home than they might have at 4.5 percent.
He estimates that the recent buyers at Eco Corral acquired their townhomes at below replacement cost and have between $25,000 and $45,000 of built-in equity. He estimated that units that sold for about $325,000 would go back on the market at $350,000 to $355,000, and those that sold for $350,000 could be listed at $385,000 to $395,000.
The remaining single-family homes on the market in that price range typically need some work, Fryer said, and the brand-new approximately 2,000-square-foot Eco Corral units compete well because of their new finishes.
However, getting Eco Corral ready to sell wasn’t easy. When the bank took the townhomes back, only one was fully completed.
Fryer said Wells Fargo engaged him to work with Fair and Square Construction to finish some significant details on the construction, from installing missing pieces of trim work to installing fireplaces and finishing their stone surrounds.
The bank invested about $170,000 in completing the four townhomes, with bids ranging from a low of $9,000 to a high of $55,000 per unit. Some did not have appliances installed.
Buyers looked at the units but were put off by the unfinished details and equally concerned about how they would form a homeowners association to share common services and upkeep that wouldn’t be encumbered by the remaining buildings that have yet to be built.
Fryer solved that problem by taking the largely finished buildings back through the city planning process with a replat of the project that allowed owners in the completed units to have their own HOA. Final construction and the replat consumed about 18 months, Fryer said.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com