Steamboat Springs is at the tail end of Autumn.  The bright colors of Aspens and Oaks have faded and the crisp foggy morning air has returned.  The resort is open, yet everyone is waiting for the next series of snowstorms to set in before getting too serious about downhill turns.  The weatherman has made promises and we hope he’s right!

This article has taken me a while to get to.  After getting frustrated with news and trends for the past year or more, I took a break from daily real estate and focused on observing other things around me.  This ranged from talking to people I hadn’t seen in a while to getting my hands dirty in the construction industry.  I didn’t learn a lot, but I did have some great conversations and experiences.  And thinking differently was what I needed the most.

Returning to the office, I see that not much has changed.  A divided Congress hasn’t done anything to noticeably improve our lives. Smart economists and bankers still believe a recession is coming.  Real estate brokers blame high-interest rates as the woes that have stopped their income.  And Steamboat area real estate is holding its own.

Before taking a real estate break, I remember talking with a real estate broker whom I respect in smarts and age (experience).  We both agreed that Steamboat will not see a reduction in home values.  Appreciation might hit 5% for the next few years, but we will not see a recession in values.

Yes, some properties have reduced in value, and those owners seem to have started their sale with the belief that prices are still at a peak.  There are many price reductions, and some contracts that get canceled, but for the most part, there seems to be a balance between new listings and closed transactions.  Properties near the resort are the ones that see consistent movement.

Properties for workforce persons are still a struggle.  Being priced out of Steamboat, these families look in Hayden and Oak Creek for places to live.  Many workers are moving to Craig, where prices are more welcoming.  One company of about 17 people I ran into had 12 persons living in Craig, 3 in Hayden, 1 in the County (who purchased 20 years ago) and 1 in Oak Creek.  No one from Steamboat Springs worked there.

These bedroom communities have seen an increase in values as well as shorter time on the market for homes under $550,000.

An interesting study I came across is about Minneapolis, which through making it easy to build homes and allowing increased density, had significantly reduced their inflationary pressures to 1.8%.  Most everyone has a place to live and the city helps those who need rental assistance.  This has kept home prices steady and the workforce living nearby.  There are many articles on the Minneapolis model.

It seems that several people in Steamboat believe the Brown Ranch project will help with housing needs and help bring a more stable market.  I can see this as a reasonable argument, however, the headwinds of this project are large even with state government support.  There are details unaccounted for, power struggles between departments, and a lack of practical infrastructure solutions.  So, for now, nothing seems like it is going to change.

So now that the end of the year is upon us, I find it a great time to reflect and plan for the next year or more.  Taking notes from my short ‘sabbatical’, I’m planning on more fishing and hiking.