Steamboat Springs In August 2009, the Steamboat Pilot & Today ran its House of Cards series, looking at the housing market in the wake of the real estate downturn.
Part 5 of the series was dominated by a graph comparing real estate listings versus sales. When the two lines approached each other was when the market was hot. Fewer listings and more sales meant homes spent little time on the market and prices were maintained through scarcity.
But from when those lines were closest in the beginning of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, a huge gap emerged. Only 62 sales were recorded in that quarter, and 2,053 properties were listed.
“The first quarter of 2009 was the absolute worst I’ve seen,” said Doug Labor, of Buyer’s Resource Real Estate and the manager of MLS statistics for the area.
Since then, the market has slowly improved.
“I think it’s slow and steady improvement,” Labor said.
Especially in the much-discussed midrange market for single-family homes, sellers are seeing the market turn in their favor.
“That’s the hot area right now,” said Kevin Dietrich, of Colorado Group Realty, about the $400,000 to $500,000 range for homes.
A home in Heritage Park closed recently in the $400,000 range before it was even put in the MLS, he said. The first person who toured the home ended up being the buyer.
Dietrich said more situations are arising where sellers are able to consider multiple offers.
And those conditions could bring more shadow inventory into the market in the segments facing the most stress.
“There is a bit of people waiting on the fence,” he said. “The confidence is coming back incrementally.”
Kathryn Pedersen, of PrimeSource Mortgage, said she, too, has been hearing about more multiple offer situations.
“It seems to be more of a seller's market than it has been for a while,” she said. “Buyers are having to do more.”
In 2009, Pedersen told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that tightened regulation would play more of a role in lending decisions going forward.
“I would say that there is a lot more regulation,” she said Friday. “It makes it harder for lenders to enter the market than it does for buyers.”
Even with rates for 30-year loans hitting two-year highs last week, Pedersen said between prices and rates, the market still is affordable for most people.
“People had thought it might just be that way forever,” she said. “This is getting a bit of reality into people.”
Cindy MacGray, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, said she's heard a bit of concern about rates from some who're in the market for an affordable single-family home.
"When you're in that range, every little bump in the interest rate matters," she said.
But she said that the market still is affordable for a lot of people and will remain that way as long as interest rates stay below 5 percent. If the interest rates continue to rise, as they eventually will, MacGray said, she hopes banks will start to ease up slightly on credit requirements, which would allow more people to enter the market.
And while the market for homes below $600,000 is tight, buyers are looking for specific things, she said.
"Sellers still have to be careful as far as the price they're setting," MacGray said. "If it's a good house, it's going pretty quickly."
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com