Steamboat Springs Market September 2020

Is September almost over?  The first half of the year seemed to drag along and now it’s three months to Christmas.  Wow.

Steamboat has been very busy all Summer.  Many tourists came through town.  Given the amount of RV’s that went through town as well as what seems to be the same or more traffic counts as last Summer, I’m guessing folks were in to driving for a getaway rather than flying.  

Retail shops found they did as good as last Summer or better.  Some much better.  Restaurants have been doing well.  Tables are consistently full, both inside and on the street.  For restaurants, I know they have been hoping to do better than breakeven in this COVID time.  They want to be open next year, so they have been patient on counting profits.

I realize at about this point in the newsletter that I talk about real estate a bunch, but I’m going to limit it.  There has been a lot of conversation about what is driving this current upward market.  One being that people are moving from metro areas to places like Steamboat.  Here is a snapshot of data from Zillow that indicates this isn’t perfectly true:

From The Hustle

Brokers in town have seen some flight from the cities, particularly the Front Range, but not at the numbers of sales we are seeing.  When I speak with others, they speculate that the combination of low-interest rates and fear is driving the current trend.  As well, Steamboat has seen a very strong real estate market for several years now.  Most people think this is going to continue, even when things cool off nationally.  

A friend of mine forwarded this article to me.  It talks about persons moving from cities to resort towns and causing the upward trend in real estate values we currently are witnessing.  The biggest take-away from this article is the real estate broker interviewed states his business is coming from persons he has worked with for two years or more.  I’ve been saying this the entire Summer.  Yes, folks are moving here from the city, but they have planned on it.  Few people now are making sudden choices, especially major lifestyle choices.  

I am the only person I know who is skeptical that this will continue for years to come. Part of my skepticism comes from comparing the stock market graph from the 1918 pandemic to this pandemic, and believing that history repeats itself.  When I saw these charts, I thought they were similar – the percentage changes are different yet trends are similar:

Source is Bloomberg but I got this from Winton.com

From Marketwatch on 9/18/20

Also, how long can trends like this last?   It is rare to have markets continue to be hot and not have a cooling period.  Yet, I could easily get schooled.  

In a recent visit to a real estate office in Silverthorne, I viewed a graph of the past several years of activity in Summit County.  The graph was a 45 degree angle up.  It looked like it was not going to stop moving that direction.  Even the early part of this COVID time was just a blip on the graph.  Values continue to increase there.

At this time, at the beginning of September, little looks like it is going to change.  Markets are moving along brilliantly.  In considering writing this article, I decided to play a game and say that nothing is going to change and this market is going to continue for at least two more years.  What will keep real estate hot?  Cheap lending rates are a good place to start.  Also, the ability to work from anywhere in the world.  (This piece doesn’t hold much water.  If I could work from anywhere in the world, I’d rent places.  If I was raising a family while location neutral, Steamboat Springs is one of a thousand places I might want to live, not to mention the other thousands.)

And people are changing their habits.  Savings are up, purchases are slowing, and decisions related to the home are more important.  

I’m pretty interested to see what the remainder of 2020 gives us.  Hopefully not like some of the memes I’ve seen online.



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