“Sister” Resort Towns across the West show similarities and differences to Jackson Hole

This week I was able to attend an event hosted by the Western Mountain Resort Alliance (WMRA). The WMRA is a group of Realtors who work in real estate markets located in destination ski resorts around the Mountain West. I always find it interesting to here about our “sister” ski resort real estate markets. This week we heard from representatives from markets in Park City, Sun Valley, Tahoe and Whistler. I thought I’d share a few interesting stats/trends from each market.



  • Average Sales Price (2014): $675,000
  • Sales Volume 2014: $1.2 billion
  • Most sales in the area occur between May-October. Tahoe sees several more visitors in the summer then in the winter (similar to Jackson). Tahoe is well known for their biking, golf and beach!
  • Overall listings are up 7%, while units sold are down 8%. However, despite the general laws of supply and demand, prices are up, with Buyers gravitating towards the $2+ million market, which saw 64% more transactions in 2014 vs 2013.
  • Vacant land sales are down as most of the inventory was sold off in 2013. This pushed the prices of the remaining lots up, which pushed buyers into the single family home market.
  • Tahoe’s lack of snow pack is a significant issue affecting not only the ski resorts, but also increasing wildfire risk which is causing home insurance rates to sky rocket.


  • Average Sales Price (2014): $721,000
  • Sales Volume in 2014 ($520 million) was up almost 20% compared to 2013 ($450 million).
  • Inventory is significantly low right now. Last year there were 770 sales in Whistler, however currently there are only 430 active listings!
  • Single family homes (or as they call them in Whistler – “Chalets”) in the $1-2 million range are the biggest segment in the Whistler real estate market. The majority of condos sell between $200,000-$500,000.
  • The majority of real estate purchasers are from Canada, while only 6% of buyers in 2014 were from the United States.
  • Whistler’s market’s biggest challenge is low inventory, which is a result of limited available land (similar to Jackson Hole).

Park City

  • Average Sales Price (2014): $726,000
  • Sales Volume 2014: $1.6 trillion (nearly 3 times that of Jackson)
  • Since the take over of Park City ski resort by Vail Resorts, the area has seen prices increase, sales occur more quickly and funky/undesirable properties starting to sell.
  • Of the 363 homes available for sale in the Park City area, only 10 are priced under $600,000 (similar to Jackson). This has caused Buyers to focus more on condos or vacant land, of which Park City has plenty of supply (see below).
  • There are 44 available lots for sale priced under $200,000. Most are located in a new golf course community and offer 1 acre lots (not bad!).
  • Park City hasn’t seen as much negative impact from the low snow year, as many visitors come to Park City for things other than skiing (shopping, dining, film festivals, etc.).
  • Park City is also seeing an influx of Buyers who are relocated to Salt Lake City for work, but prefer the life style offered by the resort community.

Sun Valley

  • Average Sales Price (2014): 682,000
  • Total Sales Volume in 2014: $355 million
  • The Sun Valley real estate market is really a tale of two cities/markets. Ketchum is the home of the Sun Valley resort and Hailey, ID is a neat little town located only 12 minutes from the ski resort (think Victor or Alpine communities but only as far as Hoback!)
  • The average sales price in Ketchum is $834,000, while in Hailey people can purchase property, on average, for $275,000.
  • In 2012, roughly 50% of Sun Valley’s real estate sales were for distressed properties, today that number is around 6-7% of all sales (compare that to Jackson where we MAY have 1 distressed sale each month).
  • The County offices (County Clerk, Building & Planning Dept, etc.) only work 4 day weeks (taking Fridays off). This can make it hard to close transactions on time or receive proper County sign off on new construction. How strange!

Below is a comprehensive look at each of the mountain town’s 2014 sales numbers including transactions, sales volume, average sales price, etc. Teton County is the last column. We had the highest average sales price ($1.3 million) and median sales price ($713,000) by far, however our sales volume was only 1/2 of Tahoe’s and almost 1/3 of Park City’s. (Sorry for the small print – it’s best to open the photo and zoom in.)