Steamboat still a value | SteamboatToday.com
Tamera Manzanares

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Steamboat still a value

Steamboat Springs-area real estate prices offer more diversity and, in some cases, more value than other Rocky Mountain resorts.

The Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance has compiled 2004 statistics from nine Realtor boards in areas including Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Telluride, Vail, Summit County and Jackson, Wyo.

The average sales price of all properties in the area tracked by the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors last year was $353,025 — lower than overall averages from all but one reporting board.

Steamboat Springs and Summit County, which averaged about $290,000 for property sales, ranked well below the top average sales price of about $1.1 million in Aspen and $1.35 million in Telluride.

“If you look at our market compared to other markets, we’re still a really good deal,” said Jill Limberg, vice president of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors.

Real estate brokers said that condominiums, which typically are centrally located at the base of ski areas, come closest to an apples-to-apples comparison of resort markets.

Steamboat Springs had the lowest average condo sales price of about $239,000, and Summit County followed with an average sales price of about $245,000.

The top average condo prices ranged from about $566,000 in Vail to $703,000 in Telluride.

The average sale price for a home in Vail was almost double the average price of homes in Steamboat, which was $535,000.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean buyers are getting more home value in Steamboat, explained Realtor Pam Vanatta of Prudential Steamboat Realty.

Although Aspen and Telluride prices are in their own league, high-end properties typically have similar values in Steamboat, Vail and Summit County, she said.

The lower average price in Steamboat indicates there are more properties available for less than $1 million, though that inventory is shrinking quickly.

Depleted inventory was a common trend voiced by most RMRA-member boards at the organization’s annual meeting in Steamboat in January, RMRA president Dennis Hanlon said.

“2004 was a very good year for real estate in the Rockies,” said Hanlon, adding that inventories are the lowest they’ve been since the late 1990s, before the dot.com bust and Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Steamboat Springs area broke a record for sales volume in 2004 at almost $445 million. Vail reported more than $2 billion in sales volume.

Steamboat’s robust real estate market is more indicative of the area’s unique character than value, brokers said.

“I think people like what’s here,” Vanatta said. “They love the quality of life here, the two huge valleys and the open space.”

Although some buyers look to Aspen for glitz, others head to Steamboat for a more down-to-earth quality of life.

“One thing I have heard a lot from clients over the last couple of months is Steamboat is a real town,” Limberg said. “That’s one of the things that really appeals to people.”