Friday, September 14, 2012
Steamboat Springs It’s too bad there aren’t more homes in the Steamboat Springs city limits like the house on Stone Lane that sold in late August for $405,000, Realtor Randall Hannaway said.
Hannaway, with Colorado Group Realty, represented the buyers for the 1,874-square-foot house near Whistler Park that epitomizes what a young married couple might desire. If there were more like it, Hannaway theorized, there would be more people taking advantage of historically low interest rates and buying new homes.
“The financing is still a challenge, but if it’s a single-family home, it’s really not that bad,” Hannaway said. “But it’s really hard to find something between $400,000 and $500,000 in town right now. I think there’s still a pretty strong demand, but there’s very limited inventory right now for that kind of product.”
Lisa Olson, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, who partners with Beth Bishop, had the listing on the Stone Lane home. She agreed with Hannaway that single-family homes in that price range are in short supply in the city. She said that since the home on Stone Lane sold, another in the area has seen a price drop to $439,000. There also have been several sales of single-family homes in the city at lower prices this summer. A home in the Willowbrook neighborhood not far from Stone Lane sold for $355,000. And two homes on Pamela Lane near Emerald Park sold for $358,000 and $390,000, she said.
“Other people are maintaining at the above-$450,000 level,” Olson said. “They might not sell, or they might. When the price gets to a point where it’s seen as a relative value, it will sell. I think there are some sellers that are getting to the point that they’d rather take their property off the market and keep it rather than go lower.”
Hannaway said his clients locked in a 3.5 percent interest rate that really made a big difference in their ability to purchase. The recently married couple had a condo and a townhome to sell to help with the purchase.
Their new three-bedroom, three-bath home is on a 0.14-acre lot in Settlers Crossing about a mile from the base of the ski area. It is very close to a city bus stop and a spur of the Yampa River Core Trail. It previously sold for $260,000 in 1999.
Despite the limited selection of homes for middle-income Steamboat families, a significant number of prospective buyers refuse to look in the neighborhoods just west of the city limits, according to Hannaway.
“I live in Heritage Park and love it there,” Hannaway said. “But when I ask people if they'd like to go there or Silver Spur to see what they could afford, they say ‘no,’” Hannaway said. “They could afford a newer home with granite countertops (in west Steamboat), but they’re willing to sacrifice to be in town. They want to be able to ride their bikes” to get around town.
Realistically, Hannaway said that at the end of summer, Steamboat still has considerable ground to make up on the inventory of distressed properties on the market.
“Mostly, what I see is that we’re moving through the distressed homes. The majority have been sold, and that’s a good thing,” Hannaway said. “We need to move through those before we can begin to see the market stabilize and start to gain values. We’re definitely on the other side. But I feel like we’re behind (national markets). I talked to someone from Bank of America this week who said, nationally, they are seeing selling prices of bank-owned homes rising.”
A summary of August sales data for Routt County is not yet available, but comparing July 2012 data to July 2011 numbers reflects that the number of residential properties sold here had increased year over year.
Sixty-three homes sold in Routt County in July compared with 43 in July 2011. And the trend also shows up in year-to-date numbers. As of July 2011, 310 homes had sold in Routt County. That number was 364 by the same date in 2012.
Olson said she thinks some of the nicer three-bedroom townhomes on the market for just more than $400,000 right now will begin to take the place of single-family homes for buyers at that price point.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com