Last weekend was beautiful! Blue skies and bright sunshine welcomed me as I was walking up to the gondola. Families were playing together in the snow and many were just enjoying time on Timber and Torch’s patio. Though there was a short line to get…
Some Winters have snow that is consistent. So consistent that one would think that it is a constant event. Some Winters are full of sunshine and just enough snow to make skiing worthwhile. Any winter can get long.
It doesn’t matter what the days are made of – snow or sun – the season is still winter. Just like the rest of the world in winter, this season can get old. February is the most common time to feel the pressures of being inside all the time. And snowy winters, they can be even more of a problem because of light deprivation. Powder days help with this, yet it’s hard escape the reality of cloudy days.
Awhile ago, Steamboat Springs Schools came up with the idea of Blues Break. Blues Break happens in the third week of February. Residents who do not have kids in the school system do not really notice the break kids take at this time. Residents with kids definitely do. The town empties out with families taking short vacations before wrapping up the winter.
Some families stay here and be on vacation at home, ‘staycation’. This year was a good one because new snow happened most of the week of break. Those families who are vacationing, leave as soon as work ends and the car is packed. This is a good time to use your Ikon Pass and visit places like Jackson Hole or the resorts around Salt Lake City. Many folks take time to go somewhere in Arizona or Texas. A good number of people go to Mexico.
This year my wife and I made it out of town to the great shore of Cancun, Mexico. This is the first year in awhile that we have been able to get out of Steamboat during Blues Break. Often, work gets in the way. Even though it seems easy to get out of the valley when free time comes up, free time may not be more than a day or so. This year we made the commitment and went.
Living at 7000 feet elevation and vacationing at sea level was a new experience. Temperatures were 80 degrees with a breeze. In Steamboat, temperatures reached -16 degrees, and on the third day of being out of town, Steamboat was hit by a major blizzard that shut down Rabbit Ears Pass for the day.
It was good to be out of our element, especially because the elements of Mexico were excellent!
Blues Break is a Steamboat thing. Many areas have a Spring Break that falls in March. Steamboat Springs does not have Spring Break until after the mountain closes. Spring Break for us is commonly the third week of April. Waiting for the middle of April to escape can be more than a person wants to wait!
We got our first snowfall of the season, and it got down to nine degrees! It seems like yesterday we had snow, yet this Summer ranks in the most beautiful. I guess it’s time for sweaters and boots!
Here are recent stats:
The market is sending mixed signals right now. The number of listings coming on the market has been slowing, as it usually does during this season, but it’s a little more than usual. As well, the rental market here is really strong, with 2 bedrooms 2 bath condos renting for $2200-2500 a month. Four years ago, these same apartments were renting for $1800 a month.
$2500 a month seems to be the current limit for persons in our market. I say this because the condos with this value of rent sit on the market for a while waiting for someone to afford them. Having an empty rental unit doesn’t make sense to me. If I lost rent for a month or two, didn’t I lose a bunch of money rather than renting at a lower amount and keeping my renter in the unit?
I speculate that someone who can afford more than $2500 a month for rent can afford $3000 a month and at that monthly rate, the property has more luxury.
Before I conclude, two more pieces of information seem significant. One, though there are many price drops. It is notable that there is the number of sales being made and that the number of sales in single-family homes has dropped 14% but the median sales value is up 18%, year to date. In condos, the number of sales is down 5% and values up 7%. Inventory is down by about 10%. Second, the recent Fed interest rate drop will be felt around the Summer of next year.
This information, to me, is significant. When I was putting all of these items together, especially the changes in inventory, it made me think that the housing slow down is very near changing to an upwards market again. I don’t know if this is true, of course, and am curious about what the Winter season will bring. Overall, there isn’t a reason for a slowdown in sales in Steamboat that sounds reasonable to me.
Reading the Kiplinger Letter last week, they noted a reduction in home inventory across the nation and expected housing values to increase. If this occurs, it is likely we will see a change in Denver first and it will trickle to Steamboat around 6 months later.
The weather has been the topic of the month. Granted we know this is ‘mud’ season, but the weather has been unusual. We had snowfall all day yesterday, with the top of the mountain seeing greater than 10” of new snow. It’s good to have more moisture, especially slow melting snow on the mountain. All of us are ready for sunshine and playing outdoors regularly.
Here’s the stats from the past month:
The number of listings coming to the market and those being sold are nearly equal, with listings being more than sales. There are approximately 7+ months of supply of inventory. This amount of inventory indicates a stabilization between value and opportunity. One market report I follow said that there is a slight Seller’s advantage. Three reports indicate an increase in the number of listings available year over year. With Spring upon us, there is a normal pattern of an increase in listings. This year there are more homes on the market than last year.
Within the city limits of Steamboat, properties are holding their value, and some are appreciating. Properties lying outside the city limits, except those with commercial or development opportunity, are being offered at more competitive values than the last two years. In some areas, they have not achieved sale values equivalent to 2017-2018 sales.
Building in Steamboat is accelerating. New applications for building are growing in number with projects ranging from single family homes to condominium complexes. That being said, Trailside Village recently withdrew from their new construction because costs of construction have risen too much over the last three years. This is due to a shortage of contractors to complete construction. High costs of housing and other affordability factors have kept new laborers from working in Steamboat.
Real estate this year looks like it will be a brisk Summer season. I’m talking to many Buyers and Sellers daily, and see many brokers within my company quite busy.
If you’re in town this weekend, check out Riverfest, particularly Saturday afternoon when the river rodeos are going on.