Market demand subject of speculation |

Market demand subject of speculation

The second phase of The Porches is under construction on a site between Rockies Way and Mount Werner Road.

Jeff Meier, senior director of sales and marketing for Playground Destination Properties, said this week that if real estate activity in Vail is any indication, this summer will see positive real estate sales in Steamboat Springs in spite of the national slowdown in housing.

Vail hit $1,000-a-square-foot five years ago, and new properties there now sell for $2,000 a square foot. In Vail, 80 percent of buyers are cash buyers, Meier said.

“Buyers in Vail aren’t taking equity out of their homes to buy condominiums,” Meier said. “It’s the same dynamic. If Steamboat’s anything like Vail, it really is not going to slow down.”

Playground, an Intrawest company, shares its ownership with the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Playground is not linked to Vail Resorts, but manages sales for the Four Seasons Resort Vail, which broke ground in April 2007.

Meier, who is based in Denver, was attending a Realtors’ reception at The Porches this week.

Meier said the effect the Front Range market is having on Colorado mountain towns seems to vary with the distance from Denver. Copper Mountain, owned by Intrawest, is seeing relatively little impact. In contrast, in Winter Park and Grand County, where almost half of the buyers come from the Front Range, “they’re feeling a little bit of it,” Meier said.

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Vail is boosted by international buyers who account for 18 percent of its purchasers, Meier said.

Interval sales tend to take off in mountain towns when whole-ownership residential units are no longer available for $500,000, Meier added.

Realtor Michelle Avery of Coldwell Banker Silver Oak attended the reception. She said she always shows prospective buyers comparative statistics for 10 mountain towns to put the Steamboat market in perspective.

“I look at Steamboat as a little part of it, and then I look at the big picture,” Avery said.

Data tracked by the Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance shows that at the end of 2007 in Vail, the average price of a home was $1.47 million and the average price of a condominium was $929,184. In Steamboat, by contrast, the average price of a single-family home at the end of last year was $803,133, and the average price of a condominium was $407,000.

Properties priced below $500,000 within reasonable distance of the ski mountain will be in very high demand throughout 2008, Avery said. And large developers are working on deals to consolidate ownership of older condominium projects and purchase them outright for redevelopment.

Porches turns to Intrawest for sales plan

The developers of The Porches recently have turned to a subsidiary of Intrawest to prepare a new marketing plan and assemble a sales team.

Porches co-developer Richard Dean introduced Playground Destination properties and sales director Michelle Marsh to members of the local brokerage community during a reception this week.

“We’ve been pretty quiet here for quite some time,” Dean said. “Now we’re getting ready to release our next phase.”

Phase II of The Porches is under construction on Rockies Way, with 18 units averaging about 3,000 square feet, primarily in duplex buildings. Pricing is not yet available.

Dean said the intent is to create a product that is compatible with the larger homes in the first phase of The Porches. Those homes range from just fewer than 4,000 square feet to just more than 5,000 square feet. Among a half dozen new units currently on the market, prices vary between $2.6 and $3.18 million. One of those homes is listed as being under a pending contract.

Dean said another price point has been created by offering 15 one-eighth-share intervals on Phase I homes at prices ranging from $340,000 to $450,000.

Marsh spent the past five years as a senior level sales and marketing manager, where she oversaw the sales and marketing of condominium residences in more than 13 projects for more than 2,600 residences in nine cities. She also is a licensed real estate broker in Colorado and Illinois.

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