With all of the changes that have occurred in Steamboat Springs real estate over the past few years, some of the most dramatic have taken place within its luxury class. For properties where the sky is the limit, it is commonplace to find these residences with the most advanced technology, design, finishes, amenities and in some cases, services.
To define this segment, consideration has been given to the top 5% in purchase price within the three primary types of residential properties: Single Family Residences, Town Homes and Condominiums. In addition, Farm & Ranch properties, which is also a subset of residential properties in the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service, should be considered, for these types of properties can be luxurious in both natural and manmade qualities.
The data was extracted from the Steamboat Springs Multiple Listing Service from January 2006 to November 7, 2016 and included pending sales, assuming they would close by December 31, 2016. Furthermore, it is assumed that pending sales will be sold at an MLS average 95% of list. Thus 2016 is represented as 2016*.
From a general perspective, since 2006 the top 5% of the market for all residential properties sold at a price point of $1.6m and above. 2016 posted 43 residential transactions at the minimum $1.6m benchmark; three less than the prior year, but fourth best over the past eleven (see Graph 1). However, the $3.5m and above price point, which has always scored at least one sale since 2006, posted 11 sales, one less than 2015 and 2014 combined and indicating higher end buyers are coming back into the market.
Farm & Ranch
Eleven total properties qualified to be Farm & Ranch sales in 2016, as well as 2015. The more notable ranch sales this past year included a 780 acre ranch near Walden with a 1 bedroom cabin for $2,670,000, the 2,715 acre Olsen Piney Ranch, located just south of the Routt County border in Eagle County, which closed for $14,000,000, and the 552 acre Vista Verde Ranch, which has not closed as of press time but listed for $17,000,000.
Single Family Residences
Slopeside single family homes are scarce, which could be why the highest priced home sold in 2016 was a slopeside, 6br/5+ ba home on Temple Knoll for $4.9m, or $635/sf. The least expensive of the 18 luxury homes was a 4br/4.5ba, 5,889sf home in the Sanctuary that sold for $2.015m. The Sanctuary, which is one of Steamboat’s more exclusive neighborhoods, enjoyed quite a resurgence in 2016 with 10 sales, which is how many sold in total in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Contrary to real estate expert’s forecast that buyers would downsize in the ‘new economy’, the luxury market buyer’s appetite has stayed healthy. In 2006 the average size of a luxury home purchase was 6,513 sf, and in 2016 that number was nearly the same, at 6,213 sf (See Graph 2 (red line)). The average $/sf was $461 in 2006, which increased in 2016 to $516 (blue line).
In 2016 the MLS posted a total of 301 condo sales. 11 of the top 15 were purchased at a minimum $1m. The most expensive condominium sale took a little while to sell (637 days), but eventually fetched $2,995,000 for its 3,903 sf on the slopes in the Edgemont development. The last one making the list, at $740,000, was a 3br/3ba, 1,590 sf, fully furnished Bear Lodge at Trappeurs Crossing condo overlooking the pool and at the slopes for $464/sf, and only took 238 days to sell.
The same number of luxury condos were purchased in 2016 as 2015. But that’s where the similarities end. The average price in 2016 was $1.376m, and $/sf was $592. These are declines from 2015 of 20% and 16%, respectively. But don’t be thinking Steamboat’s luxury condo market has tanked. The reason for the decline is due to the exclusive One Steamboat Place project nearing the end of its inventory of developer owned inventory. 14 of the 15 2015 sales were in this slopeside residence (average price $1.692m and $695/sf). Only four of the 15 hit the MLS sold list in 2016. The remaining 11 were resales, mostly in less exclusive developments.
186 town homes were purchased in 2016. Of the nine luxury sales (the top 5%), the highest purchase price was a 6br/5+ba, 4,901 sf residence located under the gondola and on the slopes for $1,825,000 ($372/sf). $/sf prices for townhomes remained nearly even from 2015, increasing by $1/sf to $374. The average size slightly dropped from 4,034 to 4,003 square feet.
The Future of Steamboat Luxury
It is reasonable to think that as the Steamboat Springs real estate market as a whole improves, so will its highest and best. However, not all luxury properties are created equal. From a seller’s standpoint, the inventory for single family homes from the luxury pricing mark of $2.0 million and above has plenty of competition with 55 MLS listings. This equates to a three year supply using current sales. If you’ve got a nice condo to sell, expect the same timeframe if it’s priced above $740,000. Townhome sellers have less than a two year supply, with only 16 currently on the market over $1.2m. From a buyer’s perspective, these properties are going to be unique and scarce. Once you locate the right property, there should be no better time than the present to make an offer, for you never know when someone else is going to be drawn to the same property as you, creating unwanted competition.
Douglas N. Labor, ABR, ABRM, CEBA, CRS, e-PRO, RRP, is the General Manager of Steamboat Sotheby’s downtown office and a 30+ year real estate veteran. He enjoys educating his clients on the market to help them be successful in their real estate ventures. He can be reached at 970.846.0661 and his website is BuySteamboat.com.