The gap between the number of listings and sales in the Steamboat Springs real estate market has been slowly closing since 2009.

Photo by Michael Schrantz

The gap between the number of listings and sales in the Steamboat Springs real estate market has been slowly closing since 2009.

From dark days of 2009, Steamboat real estate market recovers slowly, steadily

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— 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

Comments

Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

Sort of an odd article because the traditional most important indicator of a real estate market was never mentioned. The traditional indicator is not the distance between lines of a graph, but number of months of supply which divides the number of listing by the number of sales.

People chart that number to see if a market is improving.

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terry shinabarker 1 year, 2 months ago

These stats are just stats but correlation is not relevant.How much new construction is coming on,how many short sales still available,how much inventory do banks still have on the books and how many foreclosures are still out there.These are the real issues for real estate.Also, Borrowing costs do play a role at some point.Remember all the all cash buyers will cash out at some point adding inventory.All cash buyer is not necessarily a cash buyer if the money was borrowed from a stock account.At some point the property will come back to the market.Also,interest rates compete with real estate appreciation as most buyers base there buying decision on the monthly payment.If rates increase that means the property can not because its all about the monthly payment.Good luck getting rid of all the over built property.Has anyone seen what Detroit is doing and according to a number of Wall Street bankers there are more cities on the verge of bankruptcy.

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Scott Wedel 1 year, 2 months ago

There are all sorts of factors affecting the real estate market.

But still the normal standard for measuring the state of the local market is months of inventory. Months of inventory has several advantages. First, it has relevance to sellers as an indication of how long it might take to sell the property. Second, by being a ratio then it responds to changes in supply or sales.

The description in the article is particularly tortured as it tries to explain and diagram lines coming closer to each other. By that description then a change in sales from 200 to 400 and a change in listings from 1500 to 2000 would be argued to show a weak market. But the months of inventory would recognized the big change in sales and the months of inventory would go from 7.5 to 5.

The months of inventory number does not pretend to show why the local real estate market is improving or weakening. But it is generally considered to be the best indicator of the status of the local real estate market. The number itself is less important than whether it is increasing or decreasing. If it is increasing then the market is weakening and if it is decreasing then the market is getting stronger.

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