Posted on 14 Aug 2020

Steamboat Real Estate Update

From Zero to Sixty

The Wild Ride of Steamboat Real Estate During The Pandemic

 By Darrin Fryer & Ryan Cox, Broker Associates, Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty

If you asked local brokers what their sentiment was on the Steamboat Real Estate market in late March or early April, it was all doom and gloom. In just two weeks, pending property listings took a nosedive from 35 to 3 as the market came to a screeching halt as sellers and buyers sank into their living room couches anticipating the impact of COVID-19. For the first time in years, properties in specific segments (such as the lower end condominium market) were appraising below the contract price. Despite the bubbling fear and anxiety throughout the country during this time, the Marketing Department at Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty saw a substantial uptick in website traffic. Were people window shopping and dreaming of happier times because they were bored and stuck at home? 

real estate stats

Fast forward to early August and the market is coming out of two of its hottest months in history. Pending property listings are up a whopping 99% year over year (YOY). Combine that with limited inventory and we are experiencing median sales prices that are up 20% YOY. In late May, the faucet turned on and the pressure kept ratcheting up through June and July. After nearly two decades of working in real estate in Steamboat Springs, we’ve never seen anything like it. Almost all inventory has been simply wiped out over a 10-week period.

Our team kept getting calls from buyers saying things like, “I’ve just been approved by my employer to work virtually. It’s always been a dream to do this and move to the mountains.” Or, “Our family has decided to move to Steamboat as we are now comfortable working from home and want out of the big city. We’re looking for fresh air and a safe, low-density cool town to call home.” One bond trader called from Chicago and said, “The looting is happening right now below the 35th-floor condo that I’m living in. I’m in my third month of working from home and my company sees that I’ve been meeting and beating all my targets every month and they just said we don’t need you back in the office. So, great—I’ll be moving to Steamboat from here forward.”

There are plenty more anecdotes, but the bottom line is there has been a change in the psyche of people. The pandemic has created some quantum shifts in how people perceive their quality of life and how they can work. According to a recent Forbes article, “There’s little doubt the advent of COVID-19 has cast a new focus on the shift from cities to rural areas. If it is happening, it’s an event unprecedented in American history. It will be a reversal of the centuries-long trend of people moving from rural areas to cities and suburbs.”  It is proving to be a catalyst for people to make big life decisions amongst the low point of being locked down. 

barn village home in steamboat

Really, it’s a continuation of the same theme that’s been running here in Steamboat Springs since the early 2000s. However, the pandemic bumped that theme and accelerated decisions that were bubbling just underneath the surface.  Many people can now work where they play and Steamboat is the ultimate playground, with amazing natural amenities. Ski or mountain bike before work or at lunch. Drop a fly into the Yampa River after work. No commute time, so more family time. Lots of restaurants and sophisticated brewpubs and cocktail lounges just five minutes from home. It’s hard to beat. 

A lot of the demand over the last two months have been people looking to move full-time from feeder markets like Denver, Fort Collins, Chicago, and San Francisco. These buyers are all seeking all that Steamboat Springs has to offer. This particular demographic has consumed a staggering amount of inventory – currently, there are 12 Single Family Homes under contract below $1M. This compares to just 9 active listings.

The second home/luxury segment of the market has also seen an uptick inactivity. With travel being so limited, people are looking to secure some version of a retreat from city living. One such sale was recently closed in July by The Fryer Group at Tatanka Ridge  -- a 10-acre estate which sold for $4.6M. There were 24 properties under contract with a list price of over $2M as of August 13, 2020 – this is nearly a 400% increase from the same time last year.

 Is this trend sustainable? Steamboat has continually offered a value proposition when compared to other ski resorts. The recent announcement of a planned expansion to the Steamboat Ski area and unbelievably low-interest rates culminate in a market that we believe will be sustainable here in Steamboat Springs.

Steamboat Real Estate graphFor more information, contact or



Previous What's Open? What Can I Do? Please Vote for Us in Best of the 'Boat! Next