This 9,087-square-foot home in Priest Creek Ranch sold March 5 for $5.6 million. This house is one of three single-family homes, all selling at $4 million or higher, to have closed this year with a combined value of $13.9 million.

Paul Knowles/Courtesy

This 9,087-square-foot home in Priest Creek Ranch sold March 5 for $5.6 million. This house is one of three single-family homes, all selling at $4 million or higher, to have closed this year with a combined value of $13.9 million.

Routt County sees boomlet in $4 million home sales

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— The first three months of 2013 already have seen some eye-catching activity at both extremes of the market.

March still has a week to go and 17 properties have sold for $1 million or more in 2013, but the activity of note is above $4 million.

The sale of a home on Henderson Park Road at the top of Yellowjacket Pass north of Stagecoach that sold at auction in late February closed this week for $4.3 million. The buyer is from South Carolina.

It’s one of three single-family homes, all selling at $4 million or more, to have closed this year with a combined value of $13.9 million.

That compares to the completed first quarter of 2012 when two homes priced at more than $3 million had sold for a combined $7.47 million, according to research by Stan Urban, of Land Title Guarantee Co.

Darlinda Baldinger, of Steamboat Village Brokers, with her partner ChLoe Lawrence, has been involved as a broker in two of the recent sales, including the home on Yellowjacket and a third of a similar magnitude that sold late last fall.

The common theme she said is relatively young couples — in their 40s and 50s — who are choosing to purchase in Steamboat because of its family environment and cultural amenities.

"The people buying here are buying because it’s a real town that just happens to have a ski area,” Baldinger said. “They’re all fairly large families, they’re young and they want somewhere they can bring their family. The last four big-house sales (have come about) because we’re a real town with real people, great schools, a great hospital and Strings Music Festival.”

The other 2013 sales include a 9,000-square-foot home on Priest Creek Court that sold for $5.6 million and one on Catamount Drive that sold for $4 million.

All three homes are south of the city limits.

Pam Vanatta, of Prudential Steamboat Realty, was the listing agent on the $5.6 million sale March 5 of a 9,087-square-foot home in Priest Creek Ranch that last sold for $4.2 million in 2004.

The home, architected by Joe Patrick Robbins and built by Dave Brotherton, was listed for $6.6 million in summer 2012.

In addition to the main home, there is a luxurious barn with a luxurious party bar on second level that brings the total square footage to almost 11,000.

Like Baldinger, Vanatta said the buyers are looking for a family-friendly setting. But she said it’s also her sense that the recent boomlet at the top of the Steamboat market is attributable in part to a growing awareness that the bull on Wall Street is very mature and they are putting money in real estate instead of in securities.

“They seem to all be high-end cash buyers from Texas, and they’re aware they are buying below replacement cost,” Vanatta said. “We have a lot of people inquiring on high-end listings and homes I have listed for quite a while are starting to pop.”

She’s not counting them sold yet, but a house Vanatta has had listed in Catamount for two years is under contract, as is another in the Sanctuary that has been listed for just less than a year.

If one were to add to the recent $4 million-plus transactions the sale of two four-bedroom One Steamboat Place condominiums that averaged $2 million apiece, they would be looking at five residences that have sold in the new year for a combined $17.9 million.

The 17 $1 million-plus homes that have sold here thus far in 2013 compares to 10 $1 million-plus homes through the end of March 2012.

Million dollar homes rack up impressive gross dollar volume, but the availability of inexpensive homes in the market affects more people. And there have been some unusual values in the first quarter of 2013, including the sale of a three-bedroom home in the city limits on Conestoga Circle that sold for $90,000. It was not a bank sale.

Conestoga comprises a quiet working family neighborhood on the city’s near west side — up a hill on the north side of U.S. Highway 40 roughly opposite the stoplight at the Stock Bridge Transit Center.

Another precedent-breaking sale was an early 20th century bungalow with two bedrooms squeezed into 700 square feet on West Virginia Street in Oak Creek that sold for $23,350. The seller was Fannie Mae (the loan underwriter, Federal National Mortgage Association).

Other relative values included a 1,736-square-foot house on 3-plus acres in Deer Mountain Estates, and a three-bedroom 1,560-square-foot ski condo in Mount Werner Lodge, just steps from Torian Plum Plaza for $92,000.

The auction sales of never-before-sold luxury condominiums at Trailhead Lodge produced 14 closings with a combined value of $3.6 million in December 2012, and the ongoing sales continued to be a significant factor through February 2013 with 11 more sales for a combined $3.5 million.

A search of Routt County records shows that Trailhead Lodge Acquisitions LLC, the business entity that auctioned the condos, continues to own five condos comprising a pair of two-bedroom units and three one-bedroom units.

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

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