The Sunray Meadows condominiums, where two-bedroom units with fireplaces are priced below $300,000, have matured into a neighborhood that includes many full-time residents.

Photo by Tom Ross

The Sunray Meadows condominiums, where two-bedroom units with fireplaces are priced below $300,000, have matured into a neighborhood that includes many full-time residents.

Supply of midlevel, bank-owned condos drying up

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The selling price of two-bedroom condos at Sunray Meadows has increased $20,000 to $25,000 within the past 45 days as the number of distressed properties has dropped steeply. Just one such condo now is actively listed as a short sale.

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The attention to detail in the management of Sunray Meadows has helped the project hold value even as its has seen a significant number of foreclosures.

— The most-asked question fielded by Realtors in Steamboat Springs is, without a doubt, “When will the market recover?”

The answer often is that the local real estate market appears to have hit bottom and will recover gradually within niche products and price points.

Now there’s evidence that a trio of condominium projects just south of the ski area base is seeing prices begin to recover as bank-owned units in those subdivisions suddenly are in short supply.

“The midrange condo market under $275,000 has changed dramatically,” Realtor Mike Shuttleworth, of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties, said this week. “It speaks to the fact that inventory, especially for bank-owned units, has dwindled to almost nothing.”

The condominiums are in the Sunray Meadows, Villas at Walton Creek and Quail Run developments all clustered within less than a mile of the Steamboat Ski Area gondola south of Walton Creek Road and between Chinook Lane and Village Drive. They have nice interior finishes, garages and fireplaces that increase their appeal.

Shuttleworth and colleague Vicki Jackson have been involved with one side of four recent transactions in those developments.

As recently as 45 days ago, two-bedroom condos at Sunray Meadows were selling in the $220,000 range, and similar units at Villas at Walton Creek were priced at $225,000, Shuttleworth said.

Since then, a similar Sunray Meadows unit of 1,007 square feet sold May 17 for $278,000. Then, a smaller Sunray Meadows two-bedroom unit closed on the same day for a price more typical of April, at $220,000.

Lisa Ruffino, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, said the condo that sold for $220,000 was a short sale that had been under contract for four months. The market changed while the contract languished, she said.

Ruffino, who has followed Sunray Meadows from the beginning, agreed with Shuttleworth’s assessment that the market for sub-$300,000 condos is trending upward. She said buyers and their brokers are beginning to compete for the Sunray Meadows units when they come on the market.

“People are starting to fight over these units,” she said. “I’ve got buyers’ brokers calling me asking if I’ve got any pocket listings (listings that are about to go on the Multiple Listing Service). It means things are going up. Things are getting better.”

Sunray Meadows, with 136 units, took a particularly hard hit in the recession because even before buildings were completed people were speculating on them, Ruffino said.

“I had clients who bought more then one,” she said. “When rentals turned down, they couldn’t hang onto them any longer.”

Now, that scenario seems to be turning.

Ruffino observed that Marci Valicenti, of Colorado Group Realty, had a three-bedroom listing at Sunray Meadows sell for $355,000. Beth Postemski, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, brought the buyer. Postemski said her client originally had been looking downtown but was sold on Sunray Meadows because it is pet-friendly and has matured into a community of local residents.

The only active listing among the three projects right now is a short sale involving a 1,040-square-foot, two-bedroom unit listed for $239,000 that recently kicked out of a contract.

Shuttleworth isn’t free to discuss the contracted sale price of pending deals, but there is a Villas unit with a list price of $224,900 that went under contract after 14 days on the market. And there is a 1,037-square-foot Quail Run unit pending after just a week on the market. Another Sunray Meadows condo listed at $238,750 went under contract after six days. And a 1,037-square-foot Sunray Meadows condo that had been on the market for 68 days at an asking price of $265,000 also is under contract.

Among the four pending contracts, one condo is bank-owned, another is a short sale, and two others are typical re-sales.

Vail Valley-based Wintergreen Homes developed all three condo projects beginning in the late 1990s, with Villas at Walton Creek the first to be built. That first project was intended, under Wintergreen’s development plan, as housing for local families in the workforce, but from the beginning, it attracted upper-middle-income buyers from the Front Range for use as vacation homes.

To this day, Ruffino said, HOA dues at Sunray Meadows are low and include heat, hot water and high definition cable.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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