Steamboat Springs — High-end residential and large commercial sales drove the recovering real estate market in 2014, resulting in the highest gross volume in transactions for the year since 2008.

The year finished with just less than $600 million in transactions reported for Routt County, an increase of more than 18 percent from 2013, according to market analysis from the Land Title Guarantee Co.

The volume comes from 1,360 transactions during the year, a three-year high for Routt County, which has been slower to recover from the economic downturn of the last several years than many areas.

Residential broker Darrin Fryer, of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty, thinks the high gross volume is driven in part by the renewed buyer interest in new, high-end construction in neighborhoods like the Sanctuary or Graystone on the Green.

“The high-end buyers are prepared to pay the maximum premium to obtain the newest product,” said Fryer, who sold the highest priced home in Steamboat in 2014, a five-bedroom newly constructed home on Heavenly View in the Sanctuary subdivision for $3.6 million.

Fryer said numerous buyers were interested in the home, which is digitally iPad and iPod controlled, allowing the homeowner to control heat, mini-blinds, the oven and other features remotely.

“They actually got pretty amazing value for what they bought,” Fryer said.
Broker Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, said that after six years of working through challenging times in the Steamboat real estate market, a shift finally happened in Fall 2014.

“We saw six straight months of strong growth that restored the health of our market to the best it has been since mid-2008 when the Great Recession hit,” Wade said. “We have returned to varying levels of normalcy depending on what part of the market you are looking at.”

Wade said the residential market has changed throughout the past several years, and while he agreed that the sale of high-end properties is making a resurgence, he said that now builders will have to pay closer attention to design and “deliver an experience” to fetch top dollar sales.

The commercial market grossed $42.7 million in 2014, with a large percentage of that coming from the $17 million sale of Wildhorse Marketplace, the complex that houses Sports Authority, Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas and other businesses.

The property’s worth was greatly measured by its existing leases, according to Jon Sanders and Brandon Dardanis, partners of Ski Town Commercial, which acted as a leasing agent for the complex and represented the seller in the transaction.

The company also is the leasing agent for Old Town Square, which sold earlier this month for $3.78 million, paving the way for what could be another strong year for commercial real estate in 2015.

“Our economy has to be strong to get good tenants,” Dardanis said. “Leases are such drivers of these sales.”

The duo said the last of commercial foreclosures caused by the recession were sold in 2014, and that 2015’s commercial market would likely be driven more by sales of land ripe for new development.

On the residential front, 2015 likely will see the continuation of new construction in high-end neighborhoods, Fryer said.

“The design of new houses are really fitting what people want,” Fryer said. “It really makes sense for the buyer to pay the premium, get a builders warranty and all the latest bells and whistles.”

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

tristow@SteamboatToday.comor follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow