Steamboat Springs Recent analysis from Zillow, a real estate website, shows that while the affordability of homes nationwide is better now than before the real estate bubble, prices in certain major metros are departing from what’s affordable with area incomes.
In Steamboat Springs, prices for single-family homes have faced upward pressure in the past year and increasingly are concentrated above the threshold for what’s considered affordable.
The standard definition for affordable is spending less than 30 percent of income on housing.
The area median income for Steamboat Springs is $64,400 per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At that income level, a mortgage payment would need to be about $1,600 or less to be considered affordable.
While mortgage rates remain historically low, they’ve started to show signs of creeping up, and down payments in the neighborhood of 20 percent of the purchase price are more likely to be required now than during the bubble.
According to Zillow’s mortgage rate calculator, a Steamboat-area buyer with good credit making $64,400 per year could afford up to about $410,000 for a home. That assumes a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.125 percent, which was the lowest rate returned for a single-family home loan given the above information.
Steamboat Realtor Doug Labor, of Buyer’s Resource, said Wednesday that homes in our area tend to sell for about 92 percent of the listing price.
Assuming that ratio holds true, homes listed for as much as about $450,000 could come in at a price that’s affordable to someone making the area median income.
There currently are 11 single-family homes listed for $450,000 or less listed in the Steamboat area, according to the Multiple Listing Service, which represents about 11 percent of all single-family home listings in the same area.
That includes Silver Spur, Heritage Park and Steamboat II, Labor wrote in an email.
Within city limits, there are five single-family homes listed in that price range.
“If anybody is looking for a single-family home below the $450,000 mark, they need to act quickly,” Labor said. “That end of the market is really active.”
For introductory homes, he said, the lowest available price range is continually moving upward.
The areas of Routt County outside Steamboat, however, present many more affordable options. There currently are 105 single-family homes listed for less than $450,000 outside of Steamboat. Those homes are largely clustered near towns such as Hayden, Oak Creek and Clark.
“If they don't mind the commute, they can certainly find (affordable homes) in outlying communities,” Labor said.
The good news for those looking to find an affordable place to buy in Steamboat Springs is that there still is ample supply of multi-family units below the $410,000 threshold.
The median price for multi-family units in 2013 was $290,000, according to a report from Land Title Guarantee Co. The median single-family home price was $460,000 in 2013 and $541,000 through the first two months of 2014.
The homeownership rate for Steamboat is 64.5 percent, a little lower than the state rate of 65.9 percent, according to the American Community Survey.
For those in Steamboat who have a mortgage, about one-third spends more than 35 percent of their income on housing while the other third spends less than 20 percent.
To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206, email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @MLSchrantz