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Crested Butte or Summit County?

by Joanne Hanson

I read blogs from other resort areas to see what is happening in similar markets.  I was reading The Crested Butte Real Estate Letter today, and Channing says that prices are lower there now than they were last year.

He says: “We too had a strong run up in prices aided by lack of inventory and strong demand.  Now we are seeing asking prices for various properties tapering roughly 5%-10% off of last year’s highs.

Historically, our prices are as high as they’ve ever been. But, with increasing inventory levels around Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte and down valley in Crested Butte South, the market has become something of a buyer’s market in particular segments including condos in Mt. Crested Butte and land and homes in Crested Butte South.”

I don’t see the same thing happening in Summit County, at least not yet.  We don’t have the land available that Crested Butte does.  With about 85% of our land being public land, it leaves little for development (thank goodness!) and we are getting close to being built out.  Additionally, we are much closer to Denver and have a lot of weekenders, where Crested Butte is more of a destination resort.  Our Buyer pool is much bigger and our inventory levels are still low, despite this being listing season. 

Walk on the Wild Side

by Joanne Hanson

The Wild Side Gallery
There is a new gallery in town and they celebrated the start of mud season with a new “black and white” show tonight.  The gallery is the Wild Side gallery on Main Street in Frisco.  It is in the historic little log and stone building that sits by itself in Frisco at about 6th Avenue and Main St.  They have some wonderful work there, and you can find almost anything from jewelery to contemporary prints and assemblages to pots and plein aire oil paintings of the area.  I also saw a great selection of photographs by some really good photographers, Bob Bloch and Rich Seeley among them.

Prices were very reasonable.  All the work is done by local artists.  I have been surprised at how many artists we have in Summit County and how good their work is!  What a great way to decorate your ski condo or second home or to find gifts for friends.

Kris Lee, the owner of the gallery, is having different shows each month, with a hand made jewlery show coming up soon, plein aire (painting outside) in the fall,  some kids events during the summer  and a miniature show in November.

We have cheap houses but you probably can't buy one

by Joanne Hanson

We get a lot of phone calls from people who are all excited because they just found a house or a condo that seems to be a really good buy, and they would like to see it and perhaps buy it. More often than not, they couldn’t buy it, even if they wanted to. The condo is a good value because it is deed restricted, and the restriction usually means that you must work in Summit County at least 30 hours a week in order to be able to own it. The county encourages developers to build workforce housing and then limit the price on it so that locals can afford to buy it. They keep the price at “affordable” levels in the future by putting those restrictions, and sometimes appreciation caps on the home. The appreciation cap limits annual price increases to perhaps as little as 3% per year. Some locals don’t like those caps as they want to be able to get the same appreciation levels that a second home owner gets. However, they don’t have a lot of choice sometimes.

One of my clients recently got a letter from a developer stating that he would pay them to deed restrict a condo he already owns, at the rate of $20 a square foot. That means that my client would get a payment of $20,000 to restrict a 1000 sq ft condo. Not bad, but you could be devaluing it by more than $20,000. In his case, it would not be worthwhile. In an entry level condo, perhaps it might be a better deal, but it definitely restricts the saleability of it when the time comes as it limits your number of possible Buyers.

Developers want to build deed restricted housing because they often get density bonuses that allow them to build a market priced unit for each restricted unit and therefore can get more units than the zoning would otherwise allow. It is mostly a win-win situation. First Bank has some great loan programs for first time home buyers, so locals often can buy a nice place to live, rather than have to rent all the time. Let us know of your experiences buying property in Summit County!

Moose on the loose!

by Joanne Hanson

Yesterday,while driving home, I spotted a moose, munching away on the green grass at the edge of the road. I stopped and took a few photos, but it was late in the day, and they didn’t come out well with my little digital camera. I was telling a neighbor of mine, Linda Pearson, about it, and she told me how she had two calves in her back yard just a couple of weeks ago.

I have often seen moose scat on our hikes, and I wondered how far into Colorado they have come. I checked out the website for the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and found that they were introduced into Northern Colorado just under 30 years ago. In that initial introduction there were 4 bulls and 8 cows; one with a calf. Today the population numbers about 1000 animals and they are very common in Summit County. They can be aggressive, especially in the fall during rutting season. Below, compliments of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, is a translation of moose language, just so you know what to look for.

Moose-English dictionary

  • Ears up = Alert and curious
  • Ears low and float = Angry
  • Roar = Upset
  • Snort = Angry
  • Bleating = Moose calf calling to its mother
  • Grunt, whine and moan = Baby, I’m a want you

My daughter took some photos in our back yard last fall of a male and female, and the male was making quite a show, scraping his antlers against trees and beating the bushes. She decided it was best not to get too close!

Vacation home sales up nationwide

by Joanne Hanson

The National Association of Realtors lumps investment homes and vacation homes together into one category called second homes.  The latest report shows that second home sales in 2006 were only 36% of all residential sales compared to 40% of all sales in 2005.  However, when the category is broken down, one can see that all the loss was in the “investment home” category, as speculators left the market, and the “vacation home” segment was actually up by 4.7% to set a new record of 1.7 million transactions, or 14% of all homes purchased. 

Why are our sales were still strong, while other primary markets are not?  In my opinion, it is the baby boomers again; they get the blame for all kinds of things!  Baby Boomers are our main clients, and I think that they are insulated from the vagaries of the economy as they have more savings and are not spending as much money as people with young families.  They have made money in real estate for the last thirty years and are very comfortable with real estate purchases. 

It turns out that the average age of the vacation home buyer nationwide has dropped from 52 in 2005 to 47 in 2006.  My personal experience in Summit County has been that more younger people are buying vacation homes, but they are looking at them as an investment vehicle that they can also enjoy using.  Older second homes buyers see them as a place to bring their families back together as the kids grow up, move away, and have their own kids.  The older Buyer spends more money and can afford $500,000 or more.  Many of the younger families prefer to stay under $250,000 if they can.  That is getting harder to do, but it is still possible. 

Our average price this year is up about 15% from a year ago, although our sales are down.  People are hanging on to their property and not selling unless they want to move up to a bigger place.  The lack of inventory is driving prices up, and the number of sales are down because of the shortage of  homes to sell, not because of the lack of Buyers!

Eat Colorado lamb. Wear wool.

by Joanne Hanson

I have a good friend who is the Executive Director of the American Sheep Industry and I was fortunate enough to be invited to their house for dinner last night.  Pete’s wife, Amy, knows how to cook lamb!  They know when I am coming to dinner that they had better buy extra, and they always do. 

I grew up eating lamb, as I was born in New Zealand, where the sheep outnumber the people about 12 to one.    Of course, we always have an argument about which is better, Colorado lamb or New Zealand lamb.  I usually think it is which ever one I am eating at the time, but when Pete and Amy cook it, there is no competition.   They only eat American lamb, of course.   I was surprised to hear that Colorado has more sheep than any other state in the nation.  They are well hidden, but then I don’t get to Meeker much! 

If you would like some good lamb recipes, the American Lamb Board has lots of them!  A tip; Pete and Amy almost always do their lamb ribs on the grill after marinating in lemon juice and olive oil.   If you would like to know which restaurants have the best lamb, leave a comment and I will ask them.  Personally, I don’t think  any restaurant is better than where I ate last night!

New tax assessments are done and they are online

by Joanne Hanson

I checked my Silverthorne home today on the county website and the assessor’s value has gone up about 18% in two years.  My condo at Copper Mountain is up 17%.   That means,  if the mill levy is unchanged, that my property taxes will go up by the same percentage.  Valuation notices will go out before May 1, and you will have until June 1 to protest them.  As yet, we don’t know what the mill levy will be, so the taxes have not been determined.  It is possible the mill levy will go down, but it may not either! 

To find your home on the Summit County website look on the left hand side under “Online Services” and click on “Real Property and Maps” or, to make it easier, just click here.  Read the disclaimer and agree to it,  then look on the right side and select the way you want to search for your property (name, address, etc).  Find your property and see what your new valuation is.   

The period used for determining taxes is January 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006, so you don’t want to use your neighbor’s sale last month  as a comparable sale.  The assessor’s office has the sales that were actually used to calculate your valuation online. I can’t give you a link directly to it as you also have to agree to a disclaimer. Look in the upper right hand corner of the assessor’s page and you will see the words “Reappraisal Sales Lists”. Click on that, agree to the disclaimer, and surf away.   I anticipate that we will get a lot of calls (we always do) when the new valuations come out, and I will be happy to provide you with the comparable sales if you have trouble finding them online.  Be aware of the deadline of June 1, 2007 if you plan to appeal your assessment.

Shop 'til you drop

by Joanne Hanson

Do you shop at City Market or King Soopers?  Did you know that you can donate to your favorite charity every time you shop?  There is an 800 number on the back of your card.  Call and tell them what charity you want to support and they will give a portion of all your purchases to that specific charity.  I know we all have our favorites, but a good local one is the Continental Divide Land Trust, which helps to conserve open space here in Summit County. 

If you would like to travel more, your Safeway card will earn you miles on United Airlines, but you have to register at the store to get the credits.

Ahh Springtime!

by Joanne Hanson

Signs of spring! Finally! I have seen daffodils in bud, but no blooms yet. We are still getting snow every couple of days, but the daytime temperatures are warm enough that it melts off quickly.

The lake is still almost full. Normally they pull it down to make room for the snow melt runoff, but I think the tunnel that takes the water down to Denver is being repaired. The lake is still frozen, but you can see open water near Farmer’s Korner and in a few other places around the edges.

This week is spring break week for the Summit County schools, and everyone heads to Mexico, Arizona or Moab to warm up again. Not that we mind winter…we love it! But after about 6 or 7 months of it, you do look forward to spring. It is coming soon, I think.

Add a bed without adding on

by Joanne Hanson

A murphy bed, otherwise known as a wall bed, pulls down from the wall on a spring mechanism when it is being used and during the day is pushed back up flat against the wall. It comes in a variety of cabinet styles, so it just looks like a large armoire or closet when it is put away. It is about ten times more comfortable than a hide-a-bed or sofa-sleeper!

A friend of mine bought one in Denver at http://www.smartspaces.com/ and it looks great. If your Summit County condo is squeezed for space (and whose isn’t?) consider this option if you need sleeping space for two extra people. It does take up a good bit of wall space, but little extra floor space except when it is pulled down on the nights it is in use.

Blog updated:  see also my post on a new Murphy Bed store in Frisco named More Space Place.

Displaying blog entries 271-280 of 307

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Photo of Jason & Meredith Adams Real Estate
Jason & Meredith Adams
Mountain Living Real Estate
101 E. Main Street, #109 / PO Box 4115
Frisco CO 80443
888-666-0844