High prices and cash sales dominate the Routt County real estate market in 2021
In an industry filled with upbeat professionals focused on making housing dreams come true, it’s no exaggeration when real estate experts say house prices in Routt County are as expensive as they’ve ever been.
“The prices are at an all time high,” said Marci Valicenti, a real estate agent for 20 years and a resident for 30 years.
âIt’s the most competitive market we’ve ever seen from a buyers’ perspective,â said Doug Labor, 24-year local real estate agent and Managing Director of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty.
Melissa Gibson, branch manager at Land Title Guarantee Co. in Steamboat, said the average residential price of a home in Routt County has fallen from $ 568,000 in 2016 to $ 1.1 million in November 2021.
âYear to date, we’re at an average residential price of $ 1,100,024, a 27% increase from 2020 and an 85% increase from 2017,â Gibson said. âNo matter how you cut the numbers, the average price is the one thing you can’t dispute: The prices have gone up dramatically. “
Of the 2,027 Routt County home closings processed from 2021 through November, local buyers accounted for 49% of closings, Front Range buyers 25%, and out-of-state buyers 26%. Gibson said the ratio of buyers has stayed about the same before and during the pandemic.
âThe difference may be the number of people moving here and not buying as second homes,â Gibson said. âWe’re definitely seeing a huge influx of people from all over the United States – New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida and Texas – many want to do Steamboat at home because they can work remotely. As a result of this demand, our inventory fell to all-time lows, which drove prices up dramatically. “
The work clarified that the number of registrations is the lowest since its data extracted dating back to 1995.
For the 2021 inventory, Labor said fourth quarter Steamboat Springs MLS data showed 305 total homes and land in Routt County, down from 574 in Q4 2020 and 945 in Q4 2017. This represents a decrease of 68%.
Another Routt County real estate trend that continued into 2021 was the increase in the number of multiple cash offers by buyers and final cash sales.
âBecause the market has been very competitive, cash offers are more attractive to sellers. More and more buyers are paying cash, with some buyers intending to mortgage the property later, âLabor explained.
He is not the only one to have noticed that money is transporting.
âBefore 2020, some months were getting closer to 60% funding and 40% cash on average, but some months were still 50/50,â Gibson said. âIt has certainly been more consistent at 50% or more in cash sales since COVID, last year seeing a few months with 60% cash.â
Rebecca Gould, mortgage lender at Mountain Valley Bank in Steamboat, also agreed that 2021 continues to see a large segment of real estate transactions purchased by cash buyers.
âThis trend has crowded out buyers who are using financing for their purchase,â Gould said. “In particular, first-time buyers and buyers with lower down payments just couldn’t compete as they saw prices rise over the course of the year.”
The Valicenti family team, through Colorado Group Realty, recently listed a condo in Steamboat with a six day deadline in order to limit the volume of offers to consider.
Deadlines were not a common practice in recent years. However, the condo received 10 offers, six of which were cash, and contracted on day six, Valicenti said.
Real estate agents say the market is still the tightest for single family homes.
Historically, multi-family homes, including duplexes, townhouses and condos, were more available and affordable, but the local market has seen housing inventory decline for years, brokers say.
Traditionally, areas of Routt County outside the city limits of Steamboat were a better bet for modest buyers, but prices for single-family homes in the Steamboat II County Subdivision, for example, are breaking records.
Two recent sales of Steamboat II homes hit $ 850,000 in November and $ 910,000 in mid-December for a home originally built in 1981 with a renovated kitchen and bathrooms, noted Valicenti.
Realtors continue to direct potential buyers looking for more accessible options to Hayden, Oak Creek, Stagecoach and near Clark.
Valicenti said 2021 continued the trend encouraged by COVID in which “people realized that (their) home has never been more important.”
The redefinition of priorities has led home buyers to seek better outdoor spaces at home, more space for home offices and residences outside of major cities.
Valicenti said she was working with a family who came to ski in March 2020, “and they never made it home.” The family stayed in their condo in Steamboat and sold their house in Florida.
Successful homebuyers in Routt County in 2021 must have been quick and decisive as homes sold much faster than usual. Buyers often competed with multiple offers, cash offers, and some above asking price.
âThere is a learning curve in this market. Buyers are sometimes not ready to do the right thing. They have to lose a few times before they understand what it’s going to take, especially in a multiple offer situation, âsaid Valicenti.
Home prices are not expected to fall in 2022, but price acceleration could slow, Labor has said.
Experts say limited inventory will continue to be an issue, a complicating factor being most area home builders continue to focus on building higher priced homes.
âThe current and foreseeable future of low inventory has and will continue to have an effect on our market and our prices,â said Ulrich Salzgeber, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors.
The job said that one indicator it uses to monitor the real estate market is the absorption rate, which is the balance between the supply of listings by sellers and the demand to buy by buyers.
In 2021, Labor recorded an unprecedented absorption rate of 414%, the highest it has seen since 1995. This means that buyer demand is the highest in 26 years in County of Routt, Labor said, noting that the highest absorption rate was 194% in 2020.
Before the pandemic, the average absorption rate was 74% more balanced over the previous 24 years, Labor said.
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.