Aspens sale underscores swings in Steamboat real estate market |

Aspens sale underscores swings in Steamboat real estate market

The Aspens at Walton Creek saw its first developer sale in a year this week. The project broke ground in 2007.

Realtor Susana Field's recent sale of a new townhome in the Aspens at Walton Creek is a case study of the time Realtors sometimes invest in finding the right homes for their buyers.

Field said last week that her clients had been house hunting here for two years.

"After three house-hunting trips to Steamboat from the Houston area and reviewing daily automatic email listing alerts of new properties coming on the market which matched their search criteria, my clients settled on this property being the best buy for their money," Field said.

Ultimately, they were able to snag the Aspens at Walton Creek unit with the best views in Phase 4 and enjoy the ability to choose some of the finishes that were wisely left incomplete by the developers.

The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath condo with a one-car heated garage sold for $400,000, minus a $20,000 credit from the buyer that was applied to handpicked granite and travertine countertops.

A neighboring townhome, without the views of the recent sale, which was an end unit, sold for $452,000 in November 2009.

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It's worth noting that when original developers Tony Caci­oppos, Scot Lucas and John L. Taylor came through the city planning process in November 2005, they said they hoped to sell the new units for $350,000 to $450,000.

However, the Aspens aspired to higher prices during the height of the 2007 real estate run-up.

Heather Ruggiero, of the former Old Town Realty (now Keller Williams Realty), had listed a 1,521-square-foot town­­­home in the first phase of the Aspens for $668,000, or the equivalent of $439 per square foot. She observed at the time that it was difficult to find anything like it in new construction close to Steamboat Ski Area.

Ruggiero's colleague Loui Antonucci said in the hot market at the time, entry-level housing tended to rise disproportionately to more expensive homes on a per-square-foot basis. The scarcity of undeveloped land and high construction costs resulting from high wages were contributing to the cost of entry-level housing.

One unit in the Aspens sold for $652,000 in September 2008, but most sales there were in the low $400s.

Field said that during their search, her clients found older products in other developments that lacked the small family room the Aspens offered. She said she thinks her clients finally landed on a good value.

"With the $20,000 credit, they bought 1,518 square feet of brand-new construction for $380,000, or $250 per square foot," she said. "They not only got three bedrooms and 3.5 baths, but also a heated garage with heated driveway and finishes including hardwood floors with in-floor heat."

The developers hadn't seen a sale in a year and during negotiations dropped their asking price of $455,000, she said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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