Housing in Teton County has been an important issue for many years. The Jackson Hole area, and the housing options it offers, is very unique. First of all, the available supply is extremely low. Over 97% of land in Teton County is publically owned (by the State, the County, the National Park, the National Forest, the Elk Refuge, etc.), which leaves only 3% of land available for private ownership. However, much of this privately held land is not developable due to conservation easements, wetlands, or zoning restrictions. So, in a nutshell, we don’t have much land to work with. When our population increases, we simply can’t go ‘build more housing’. Add to this equation some of the most beautiful landscapes of mountains, rivers, canyons and lakes which makes Jackson Hole a very desirable place to live. As a result, Jackson Hole has some of the highest real estate values in the country, where the AVERAGE price for a home hovers around $1 million and the least expensive single family home for sale in the Town of Jackson is $595,000 (for a fixer upper with no garage!).
It’s no surprise that many working and middle class people find it very difficult to purchase a home here. Even if they can save up the down payment and/or receive help from a family member, they are still facing an increasing real estate market and many times competing with cash buyers or multiple offers (or both!). The rental market is also very tight in Teton County (some say the worst it’s ever been!). In the paper today, there were over 300 available job postings and only 3 available housing ads in the Jackson Hole area.
Several agencies and organizations in the county strive to help fill this ‘gap” by offering deed restricted affordable housing. One such project is The Grove, located off Snow King Ave near the Library, which when completed, will offer 68 affordable housing units. The first phase will consist of 20 affordable rental units, which should help alleviate the current tight rental market. Later phases in 2015/2016 will include 48 ownership opportunities. There is a ground breaking ceremony tonight from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.
Regional Housing Survey
Teton County (along with Freemont, Madison and Teton County Idaho) are working together to offer a Housing and Quality of Life Survey. The survey, funded by a federal HUD Sustainable Communities Grant, focuses on housing availability, quality of housing, desired housing options, quality of life, etc. The survey results will be combined with other data (census, MLS, etc.) and will be the basis for setting housing policy in each County going forward.
Please consider taking the survey. It takes under 5 minutes and is completely confidential/anonymous. It’s important for our community leaders to know and understand the housing needs of Teton County.