Working Routt County residents homing in on real estate values |

Working Routt County residents homing in on real estate values

Realtors report increasing interest from locals looking to own

The sale of this 1,180-square-foot home for $235,000 on a 0.28-acre lot on Fathom Drive in Steamboat II this week is indicative of the values in the local market as it verges on what traditionally is its most active season of the year. The home sold for the equivalent of $200 per square foot. Built in 1979, it sold for $74,000 in 1990.

— The sudden shift to spring-like conditions in the Yampa Valley is coinciding with an uptick in real estate showings and contracts.

Ulrich Salzgeber, of Buyer's Resource Real Estate, was in an upbeat mood Thursday after the Wednesday closing of the sale of a new home in Hayden's Lake Village subdivision.

Two Steamboat Springs developers, Stephan Baden and Steve Caragol, of Yampa Valley Development, acquired the home (one of five) along with the 72 unbuilt lots in the subdivision in January. Two other homes there sold in January.

Salzgeber's clients, a husband and wife who have stable employment here, bought a never-lived-in, four-bedroom, 2.5-bath home for $209,000. On Thursday, he said he had showings pending with another local couple working in government and transportation.

"The one thing I'm seeing is we're starting to get more interest from people who live and work here," Salzgeber said. "These are people who have the wherewithal to buy a home, and they're starting to say, 'We think property values will come back.'"

Prudential Steamboat Realty's Colleen de Jong tracks pending sales closely not just to keep up with the current trend, but also to be able to put them into historical perspective. She said there are 95 transactions pending in the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service. That compares with a recent peak of 117 in October as last year's selling season wound down.

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"Historically, it's the middle of June when things pick up here," Salzgeber said. "But we're seeing some nice traffic right now."

"It takes us a little while to come out of ski season," de Jong confirmed.

She said she has a client coming from Denver to look at single-family homes and perhaps townhomes priced below $500,000. She has identified 24 single-family homes listed in that price range in the greater city, which takes in the west Steamboat neighborhoods of West End Village, Heritage Park, Silver Spur and Steamboat II.

Salzgeber said he has a client in a large Midwestern city who subscribes to his email alerts when new listings come on the market or prices are reduced. Since the beginning of March, he said, the client has focused on a list of 10 properties he is interested in and will come to see them in two weeks. However, the list has been shortened to four as six have gone under contract.

When that happens, Salzgeber said, buyers begin to get the sense that the most desirable real estate in that price range has been picked off by someone else.

Of the 95 pending contracts, eight are on homes in Stage­coach, where bank sales have dominated the first four months of 2011. The federal government sponsored Federal National Mortgage Association, known as Fannie Mae, in particular is dropping prices on homes it owns without regard to market value, de Jong said.

"They're getting gobbled up," she said, and that is creating a greater sense of urgency among real estate shoppers.

A Stagecoach buyer picked up a good buy on a three-bedroom log home on 0.62 acres in Meadowgreen this week. At a selling price of $240,000 accepted by Fannie Mae, the price worked out to $122 a square foot for a home that sold for $565,000 in 2007.

Bank-owned sales are likely to continue to play a major role in the market here in light of the fact that of 213 sales year-to-date, 54 have been bank-owned, de Jong concluded.

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

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