A Market for Miraval: This 7,550-square-foot home sold for $4 million earlier this year.

David Patterson/Steamboat Village Brokers

A Market for Miraval: This 7,550-square-foot home sold for $4 million earlier this year.

Steamboat Living: Hail to the high-end home

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Steamboat isn’t Aspen or Vail when it comes to high-end home sales, but if this spring is any indication, the market is gaining some of our hot springs’ steam.

The Routt County real estate market saw the sales of 21 million-dollar homes in the first quarter of 2013, putting this year on pace to eclipse the 2012 total of 56. But there still is a long way to go.

Noting that the first quarter is the slowest period of the year, Realtor Doug Labor, of Buyers Resource Real Estate, says there are 128 single-family homes listed for sale priced higher than $1 million in the county, including 20 farms and ranches on larger acreages. Within the city alone, including Strawberry Park, 51 homes are priced above that mark.

Labor adds that buyers with a long-standing connection to Steamboat are coming back to the high-end market. “I have a client that was in the market six years ago, but decided to remain in the East,” he says. “They were here last ski season, fell in love with Steamboat again and decided to make it work.”

Research by Stan Urban, of Land Title Guarantee Co., reports that by the end of April, five homes already had sold for more than $3 million, contrasting the seven such homes that sold in 2012.

Realtor Darlinda Baldinger, of Steamboat Village Brokers, was the listing agent for a Catamount ranch home dubbed Miraval that sold for $4 million early this year. On a 6-acre lot with a stream and next to the 13th green at Catamount Ranch & Club golf course, it originally was listed for $5 million. The octagonal great room has an unusually tall ceiling lined by windows, and despite its 7,550 square feet, all of its shared spaces feel intimate.

Baldinger says markets heating up in other regions of the country are freeing households to act on their dreams of relocating to a mountain town. Personal relationships with families that already have made the jump to Steamboat help the cause, as well, she adds.

“Real estate has been selling elsewhere, and people have been watching homes sell here,” Baldinger says. “Miraval worked for the buyers because it can host multigenerational families. But it’s friends of friends who told them what a family-friendly town this is.”

She adds that she also recently put a house in Strawberry Park under contract for a young family that wants to put its kids in the local school system.

Another high-end, single-family home sale occurred in May when Darrin Fryer, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, brought buyers to a $2.5 million, 8,340-square-foot home in The Sanctuary, an area with one of the greatest concentrations of million-dollar homes in the valley.

Realtor Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, says some would-be sellers in The Sanctuary have put their plans on hold; 10 listings either expired or were withdrawn within the past 12 months. Just five homes currently are listed ranging in price from $1.48 million to $5 million and they range in size from 4,443 square feet to 10,382 square feet.

Three Sanctuary homes sold last year, including a 4,990-square-foot home for $860,000 ($175.50 per square foot); and a 1.2-acre, 7,742-square-foot home for $2.5 million at $323 per square foot. New construction in the area also is on the rise with several new projects underway, including a permit recently issued for a new $1.2 million home on Golf View Way. On Heavenly View, another home is being built with a $1.7 million permit valuation.

Elsewhere in Routt County, four more permits were issued in May for high-end homes, including a $3.2 million home on Bumpy Trail near the lower Elk River, a $2.35 million home on Routt County Road 36 in Strawberry Park and a $1 million home on Annanina Trail.

So whether building or buying, the high-end market is rebounding from its hiatus, with Steamboat’s family friendliness continuing to help it along.

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