Past winter snowfall had good effect on real estate
If it snows, they will come. During last year’s winter of heavy snowfall, the Park City housing market reflected that as more people made the move to purchase a mountain home.Realtors have seen the benefits as they have closed on sales throughout the year.
Christine Grenney, a real estate agent for Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, has been selling homes since 2005. She heard about the trend of more winter home purchases due to snow from other towns in the West and decided to take a look at her own numbers.
She found that she sold 12 homes in which last season’s snowfall was a large factor in the decision to purchase. About 25 percent of her clients this year were choosing to buy because of a past vacation.
“The good snow (helped) some of my buyers with finally getting off the fence or picking up the phone,” she said. “Some of them have watched the market for 24 months, and some of them were new clients who I think were a little bit more motivated to pull the trigger.”
Grenney admits that some of those purchases might have been affected by the lingering appeal of a Vail Resorts-owned resort in town or the all-around good economy. Still, she said the trend was a noticeable difference from past years. In 2016, she sold four homes that were realizations of ski home dreams, which was consistent with past years. For the last decade, most of her clients have been local residents who were upsizing or downsizing. Having a quarter of her clients purchasing a vacation home from out of the area was a new record for her.
Amy Courage, associate broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, said that she has also noticed an increase of interest in Park City this year.
“We have certainly seen an increase of buyers looking to obtain their Park City home after experiencing such an amazing ski season last year,” she said. “Park City, like any other ski town, is simply magical in the winter when it is covered in a fresh blanket of white powder. This was the case day after day last year.”
While the Park City Board of Realtors does not track primary versus second- or vacation-home purchases, one can look at where people are buying to see trends. Rick Klein, a private mortgage banker for Wells Fargo, said 70 percent of property owners in the zip code 84060 are non-primary. Since the first of this year, there has been an increase of 23 percent in the number of condos sold in Park City proper.
Condos in Old Town are up 27 percent in volume sold this year and Old Town homes are up 15 percent, and many people buy there to be close to Park City Mountain Resort.
Klein, along with other brokers in town, said it is hard to attribute this increase to just snow though. Erik Asarian, an associate broker with Deer Valley Real Estate Guide, said there are multiple pieces that go into the puzzle, but there is no denying that it has been a successful year for real estate in Park City, and that one of those puzzle pieces was a great snow year.
He did say that his business sold more ski-in and ski-out condos and hotel properties this year. Plus, he showed properties to buyers at the end of a ski day and heard them talking about how they have not seen snow like that in years. Deer Valley Resort received 161 inches during the month of January alone. “It made people fall in love with Park City all over again,” he said.
Sara Werbelow, president of the Park City Board of Realtors, agreed that the real estate market has thrived, but also that last season’s snow has led to an interesting affect on real estate, lodging and other industries. For the upcoming season, the stakes are high.
“The level of anticipation for this season is staggering,” she said. “And I think it has a lot to do with what happened last year. We’ve had so many poor snow years, probably four very marginal snow years, but last year was kind of like a refresh.”
The vacation home market and snow levels have a connection that is difficult to isolate, but most agree that more snow means more people are visiting Park City. They come, fall in love and decide to purchase a home so they can come back year after year.
Grenney started a conversation with a group about purchasing a townhome in the Red Pine Condominiums two years ago. Finally this year, they decided it was time. They are just closing on the deal.
“They are coming out here with their guy pals and having the epic experience and the greatest snow on Earth that we are used to every day,” she said. “Then they are talking on the plane ride home talking about how we can make this a reality more often and then they’re closing on a place now.”
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The Vail Resorts announcement ends months of speculation about the mechanics of the ski season at PCMR.