Searching For The Bottom

Friday, January 30, 2009

At first glance at this post’s title, one might think that this is another entry about how spectacular the snow in Steamboat has been.  To set the record straight, the snowfall this year is epic!  Today’s snowfall report shows that we are only 39 inches behind last season’s record pace.  In a word, bottomless!  But that’s not what this post is about.

If you scan the real estate news on the web with the ferocity that I do, you’ll find a lot of talk about when real estate values will hit rock bottom prices.  It seems like every buyer these days is waiting for the neon light that says “As low as it will go!”  The reality is that nobody knows the true bottom value of the real estate market or any specific property.  Simply stated, value is determined by what people will pay.  There are too many variables involved both nationally and locally to accurately predict what people will pay in the future for a their special slice of heaven in Steamboat.

I firmly believe that the real question we should be asking is what owning property in Steamboat Springs is worth to you?  Let’s look at the area improvements for a minute and into the true reality of this market.

Steamboat Springs has recently invested millions in new infrastructure.  We’ve now got a brand new public library, new schools, better buses for free transportation around the area and more.  The Steamboat Ski Resort has invested in more advanced chairlifts and better traffic flow at the mountain base.  New mountainside developments like One Steamboat Place and Edgemont are trucking along at a feverish pace, and will soon add more appeal and amenities to the base area.  And downtown developments like The Victoria, Howelsen Place and The Olympian are reshaping our town, for the better, I feel.

When you look at how far our little “ski town” has come over the last decade, you’ll notice that we’re not going anywhere.  Property values have steadily increased over time and sure, we’re seeing a momentary downturn where supply is outpacing the demand.  Prices have adjusted to reflect the current market conditions, but there is still a load of value to be found.  Have we hit the bottom yet?  Only time will tell.

But those looking at long-term, value investing, this is a ripe time to get into the market.  I’d like to have purchased Microsoft stock at $10 per share, but I didn’t.  Is it still a good buy today?  You’ll have to look at the future plans and growth strategy of the company to decide for yourself.

Specific to Steamboat Springs real estate, the growth management plans are in place!  The key decision makers on City Council, at the Chamber and at the ski resort are looking towards the future and making investments now.  That fact alone strums a harmonious cord in my mind that property values, over the long-run, will hold strong.

If you’re looking to turn a quick buck on your property investment in Steamboat Springs, perhaps this isn’t the answer you’re looking for.  But if your plans are to buy at a time when all signs logically point to positive future growth, this is as good a time as any.  Look at famed investor Warren Buffet.  When a valuable commodity dips to a lower price due a blip in the economy, but the company’s foundation is still strong, he BUYS!

Be like Warren.  Consider looking at this time in history as your opportunity to snag a good deal in real estate now that Steamboat’s got it.  Don’t be like me and Microsoft, only wishing I had bought 5 years ago.

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