Friday, March 28, 2008

The Porches - Steamboat Economy - Vail Housing

Modified story from the Steamboat Pilot/ Today:
The Porches / Vail

The developers of The Porches recently have turned to a subsidiary of Intrawest to prepare a new marketing plan and assemble a sales team.

Porches co-developer Richard Dean said: “Now we’re getting ready to release our next phase.”

Phase II of The Porches is under construction on Rockies Way, with 18 units averaging about 3,000 square feet, primarily in duplex buildings. Pricing is not yet available.

Dean said the intent is to create a product that is compatible with the larger homes in the first phase of The Porches. Those homes range from just fewer than 4,000 square feet to just more than 5,000 square feet. Among a half dozen new units currently on the market, prices vary between $2.6 and $3.18 million. One of those homes is listed as being under a pending contract.

Dean said another price point has been created by offering 15 one-eighth-share intervals on Phase I homes at prices ranging from $340,000 to $450,000.

Jeff Meier, senior director of sales and marketing for Playground Destination Properties, said this week that if real estate activity in Vail is any indication, this summer will see positive real estate sales in Steamboat Springs in spite of the national slowdown in housing.

Vail hit $1,000-a-square-foot five years ago, and new properties there now sell for $2,000 a square foot. In Vail, 80 percent of buyers are cash buyers, Meier said.

“Buyers in Vail aren’t taking equity out of their homes to buy condominiums,” Meier said. “It’s the same dynamic. If Steamboat’s anything like Vail, it really is not going to slow down.”

Playground, an Intrawest company, shares its ownership with the Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp. Playground is not linked to Vail Resorts, but manages sales for the Four Seasons Resort Vail, which broke ground in April 2007.

Meier said the effect the Front Range market is having on Colorado mountain towns seems to vary with the distance from Denver. Copper Mountain, owned by Intrawest, is seeing relatively little impact. In contrast, in Winter Park and Grand County, where almost half of the buyers come from the Front Range, “they’re feeling a little bit of it,” Meier said.

Vail is boosted by international buyers who account for 18 percent of its purchasers, Meier said.

Interval sales tend to take off in mountain towns when whole-ownership residential units are no longer available for $500,000, Meier added.

Data tracked by the Rocky Mountain Resort Alliance shows that at the end of 2007 in Vail, the average price of a home was $1.47 million and the average price of a condominium was $929,184. In Steamboat, by contrast, the average price of a single-family home at the end of last year was $803,133, and the average price of a condominium was $407,000.