2013 Real Estate – Jackson Hole and Beyond | Positive Trends

As reported a couple of weeks ago by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, the 2012 real estate market ended on a very good note with December 2012 propelling the dollar volume 52% over 2011 and the best it has been since 2007.

We now turn our attention to the national housing market. The online consumer real estate website, Zillow, reports that US home values were up 5.9% in 2012 over prior year.  This is the greatest increase since 2006.

While 2013 is anticipated to increase more modestly nationwide, this is actually a positive sign for the market. “ Yes, we expect home value appreciation to slow this year, but they will still rise, and at a historically solid rate. Rising home values can be expected to pull more borrowers struggling with negative equity back above water,” says Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries.

January in Jackson Hole

After a very good 2012 for the Jackson Hole Real Estate market, how is 2013 unfolding? Inventory levels at the end of December were low creating questions like “is all the good property gone?” It is an encouraging sign that only 25 days into the year Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty has received 3 times the new listings as in January of 2011, so at least for this brokerage we have new inventory arriving to our website nearly every day.

Real Estate is Local Again

Forbes contributor, Stan Humphries writes in his article: “The housing market recovery has remained true to the old real estate axiom of “location, location, location.” How your local market is faring today – and if it makes more sense to buy or rent, to sell now or to hold off if possible – is largely determined by unique, local factors and fundamentals. Arming yourself with timely and comprehensive local market information is good advice at any time, but will be even more important in 2013 as buyers continue to seek bargains and sellers look to maximize returns.”

So in Jackson Hole, our market is likely to benefit greatly from the above axiom. Our unique local market boasts nearly unheard of tax advantages, unmatched scenic beauty (there is only one Yellowstone National Park) and a lifestyle that includes levels of recreation (Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, the Snake River for fly-fishing) not found anywhere else.

There is only one Jackson Hole.

Year End Summary MLS | Jackson Hole Real Estate

The momentum of the third quarter of 2012 carried into the fourth quarter and December real estate activity was exceptionally strong. We had building strength of the business but the uncertainty of tax increases with the looming fiscal cliff and other state (e.g. California) tax hikes had people wanting to complete closings by the end of 2012. The result was strongly increased volume, up 152% versus December 2011. In fact, December volume was the largest volume month since 2004.

Average sales price in December jumped to $2,249,800 from $1,558,200 last year. Total transactions for the month were 75% greater than in 2011.

These strong December results completed an impressive fourth quarter with transactions up 43.7% and volume up a whopping 98% compared to last year. Transactions and volume were up in all areas of the Valley and in all categories—condos, single family homes, vacant land and commercial.

Fourth quarter strength is further shown with average sales prices up 37.8% versus 2011 and median prices of single family homes up 46.3% and condos up 30.1%.

2012 was a year of strong growth in the Jackson Hole real estate market across all fronts. Total year volume was very robust, significantly exceeding volume of the past several years including the 2008-2011 period. Overall 2012 dollar volume was up 52.1% compared to 2011 and transactions were 25% greater.

All areas in Jackson Hole experienced solid volume growth in 2012 as well as in all real estate categories. Transactions were also up in all categories and areas except Teton Village. Although volume sold in Teton Village was up 86.6%, transactions were down modestly which seems to be a reflection of lower inventory and the reduction of distressed properties.

Average sales prices climbed in 2012, up 21.6% to $1,386,600 for the entire Jackson Hole market. Several commercial sales in Teton Village contributed to this substantial increase.  However, median sale prices for residential and vacant land were only slightly changed from 2011.

Although days on market is higher by 12.7%, total inventory is down as of the end of 2012. In fact, inventory in the under $850,000 price range declined 20% versus last year and overall, there were far fewer properties available than we have seen since early 2009.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Kicks Off In High Gear | Records are Meant to be Broken

Not only did the Jackson Hole Real Estate Market experience a banner December – so did world-renowned Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

The buzz and excitement around Jackson Hole couldn’t be better. The Jackson Ski Resort experienced record-breaking skier day numbers for the month of December. A “skier day” is method used to measure the number of skiers in any one particular ski area. The combination of huge snowfall in December, the welcoming spirit of Jackson Hole and a series of events and entertainment venues for the holidays sent people flocking to Teton Village.

The New Blue – Best Intermediate Terrain

Thanks to the new “Blue” terrain, lift lines and crowds were simply not a problem. This past summer JHMR completely renovated and expanded Casper Mountain – famous for it’s intermediate slopes. This year a new high-speed lift zings you to the top in minutes. From there, you have a choice of perfectly groomed slopes; small bumps to test your skills, or a little inviting powder along the trees. With this added terrain, there was plenty of room for skiers of all abilities to spread out for a full day of camaraderie or a few runs on ones own.

JH Tapped – Download the App

If you didn’t make it to Jackson Hole in December, don’t worry! Staying in touch with the mountain is easy with their new app – Jackson Hole Tapped. This free app gives you instant maps, weather, lift status and more. You can also track the vertical feet you have skied and know the location of your family and friends.

Save the Date

And don’t forget the annual Mountain Festival; a weekend-long celebration held in at the base of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This year the band O.A.R., Of A Revolution, is the headlining on Saturday, March 30th, 2013.

December Real Estate Sales Boost 2012 to Post-Recession Highs

By Brian Siegfried, Jackson Hole Sotheby’s Sales Associate
 Thanks to a flurry of year-end activity, Jackson Hole real estate unit sales in 2012 jumped 25 percent to 430 while sales volume soared 52 percent to $596 million.  Leading the way were 77 building site sales, which more than doubled compared to 2011, and high-end sales that increased the average sales price to nearly $1.4 million.

December alone accounted for 56 unit sales, an increase of 75 percent from 2011, and more than $125 million, according to Teton County Multiple Listing Service statistics compiled by Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty.  Sales volume rose more than 250 percent, up from $49.9 million, which pumped up the average sales price for this month to a whopping  $2.24 million. Nineteen of the months’ sales, or about a third, were for more than $2 million.

Even before the year’s big finish, 2012 was on track to be the best year since 2008, the beginning of the Great Recession. However, even with December’s huge numbers the year was unable to approach figures achieved during the boom years between 2005 and 2007, when unit sales topped out at 746 (2005) and a sales volume of $792 million (2007). On the other hand, 2012 easily more than doubled the anemic totals of 2009 when just 203 properties changed hands for $229.2 million in sales volume.

Where is the market headed in 2013? Only time will tell, but one factor that may indicate the progression from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market is markedly reduced inventory. Total listings are at their lowest level since January 2009 with 530 currently on the market, including 296 residential offerings and 234 building sites.

However, there are 23 percent more properties listed below $850,000, indicating there are more options for working families. The dearth is felt in the range between $850,000 and $3 million, which has seen a decrease of 16 percent in listings. The amount of properties listed for more than $3 million is essentially flat.

For a more comprehensive look at last year’s statistics, including a closer look at top sales, Teton Village sales and more, please visit www.TetonRealtyToday.com.

Brian Siegfried


Hot Real Estate Market in Jackson Hole | December Sales Rocket

Was it the snowfall in December? Was it the excellent skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort? Was it the NYT article naming Jackson Hole as one of the best 46 places in the world to visit? Or was it an end-of-year property grab in Jackson Hole in 2012? – Yes, all of the above.

Jackson Hole real estate sales rocketed in December of 2012 – and this after a very good October and November.

A strong 4th quarter in Jacklson Hole real estate sales put 2012 well ahead of 2011. In fact, sales in the month of December propelled the dollar volume for 2012 to a level higher than that of 2008.

December at a Glance:

(as reported by the Teton County MLS)

• 56 units closed in December 2012 (32 last year, 60 in Jul., 2007)

• Sales volume: $125.9 million ($49.9 million in 2011)

• Avearge Sales Price: $2,249.8 ($1,558.2 last year)

• Hot properties – Single Family Homes 28 sales – 15 condo, 9 land & 4 commercial

Not only was the dollar volume well above last year, but also unit sales as shown on the graph below. This is a positive trend that bodes well for the Jackson Hole Real Estate market. In addition, today, current listings in Teton County are at their lowest level since January, 2009 in all categories including single family, condos and vacant land.

Visitors from all over the world are flocking to the Jackson Hole Ski Resort this winter. With the arts and entertainment scene burgeoning in Jackson Hole and the incredible tax benefits of homeownership in Wyoming, 2013 could shape up up to be a very interesting year for Jackson Hole real estate.

Let us know your thoughts on December in Jackson Hole by logging in and commenting below.

Green Building In Jackson Hole | Alive and Well

I am pleased to report that green building is alive and well in Jackson Hole where it is still most prevalent in the commercial area.  However, this is not unusual because, in the past couple of years, specifications for commercial projects nationwide have often  required that LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification be achieved, particularly if they receive government funding or are a government agency, such as national parks and HUD.   The Lawrence Rockefeller Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park, The Davey Jackson Elementary School and several public housing projects built locally by Habitat for Humanity and the Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust have achieved LEED certification.  And all these projects involved local architects and builders.

This is good news because, during this long recession, government sponsored or subsidized projects have been some of the few projects available to architects and contractors, who might not have been exposed to the requirements of LEED as soon if there had been more projects available in the private sector.  Secondly, many of these same architects and contractors are the professionals who will design or renovate your Jackson home in the future using LEED standards.

There have also been several private residences in Jackson Hole that have achieved LEED certification or have been constructed according to this standard but did not register for LEED certification.   These two LEED certified homes are different architectural styles that fit within their environment very nicely.  The Hawtin residence fits in beautifully in a sagebrush landscape north of Jackson, while the Carter house fits in among other rustic western style homes in 3 Creek Ranch, which is located just south of Jackson.

Residences built according to LEED but not registered or certified include the home on the west bank in the Willowbrook subdivision (see my article titled “Green home on West Bank of Jackson Hole“).  There have also been very desirable contemporary style condominium and townhouse projects completed in Jackson Hole that meet many LEED standards.  These include Pine Glades, Pearl at Jackson and Hotel Terra.

In a word, the talent and experience is here to design, build and landscape green homes according to sustainable standards, whether it be LEED, Energy Star or other national or regionally recognized programs.

How can I find out which homes in Jackson Hole are LEED certified, or have the green features important to me?  The answer is coming early in 2013.  The Teton Board of Realtors will have  green features in its database for use by our local  realtors to search for you.  So, for example, let’s say you are interested in a home with passive solar features or an HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilator).  Your realtor will be able to provide those listings for your review.

There are also green features/sustainability issues that are unique to Jackson Hole.  They are addressed in the database of green features which your realtor will be able to share with you.  For example, we are blessed with an abundance of wildlife, and we are within the corridor of the second largest migration in the Western hemisphere of a particular species of animal, the pronghorn.  Keeping this corridor open and retaining the landscape as natural as possible are very important considerations and responsibilities as property owners in Jackson Hole.

Therefore, please use your realtor as a resource to learn about these unique sustainability issues and corresponding green features that will help you help us maintain this very special place.  I also encourage you to read some of the other articles in my blog that go into detail on the advantages of the LEED process, its components, and green features and technology in general.  Also check regularly  for my write-ups on homes in Jackson Hole with green features.  There is a lot of misunderstanding out there about the meaning and value of using green products and green building standards.  My goal is to demystify them for you, because the results are well worth it. Log inSign Up to comment!­

Don Alsted


Growing Up In Jackson Hole – It Is All Downhill | Alpine Skiing in Jackson Hole

Having been born and raised in Jackson Hole, it is no surprise that I have an affinity for winter sports. I started skiing when I was two years old. It began with plastic skis that just strapped to my little snow boots on the giant (to a two year old at least) snow banks that the plows left at the end of our drive way. It was a love/hate relationship at first. My parents loved seeing me try to ski and I loved it when I made it to the bottom (mostly tumbled there) but I hated my skis. I thought it was the skis that were the problem and I was too young to realize that the equipment I had made little difference when my skill level was at zero. From then on it was all downhill.

I have many people ask me “how can you learn to ski on a mountain like Jackson?” Probably referring to very steep grade, the multitude of trees and cliffs and the amount of annual snow that falls. I always respond by telling them that there is no better place to learn. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is by far one of the greatest ski destinations in the country and possibly the world. And though it looks menacing, it actually boasts a healthy portion of beginner and intermediate trails.I started my journey up the mountain on the Eagle’s Rest Lift that accesses the shallow slopes of the lower mountain. Once I had mastered the wedge (or pizza) turn, it was time to move onto the Teewinot Lift, which used to be a very slow double chair but has since been upgraded to a high-speed quad lift. Teewinot takes you a little higher on the mountain but not much and is a great place to warm up before heading to the upper mountain. From there it was on to Apres Vous (or AV to those of us without French accents) now a high-speed quad but was once another slow double chair that took 12mins to get to the top. That was as much time as the old Aerial Tram and it only traveled a quarter of the distance. The trails accessed by AV are great for both the intermediate and expert skiers. The terrain varies from long steep pitches to easy slopes all of which are groomed daily. AV now boasts a terrain park and super-pipe for the trick skiers and those brave enough to leave the snow for a brief moment or two. Finally there is the Casper lift, which is about half way up the mountain and iApres Vous (or AV to those of us without French accents),now a high-speed quad but was once another slow double chair that took 12mins to get to the top. That was as much time as the old Aerial Tram and it only traveled a quarter of the distance. The trails accessed by AV are great for both the intermediate and expert skiers. The terrain varies the last of the “intermediate” trails. Casper is quite popular these days probably due to the on-mountain restaurant located at the bottom of the lift. It is a great place for families to relax between runs or to grab a quick lunch on the go. The rest of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is considered to be expert (aka Black Diamond trails) but there are many ways down that don’t require you to have started skiing at two.

Learning to ski in Jackson Hole has given me the ability and confidence to ski anywhere. I have had the great fortune to be able to ski many resorts in the Rocky Mountains and I am looking forward to expanding that list across the world. (Someday) Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is not a large resort per say but the amount of vertical terrain and the variation of that terrain is what makes it world class. If you take the Aerial Tram to the top of the 4,139 ft Rendevous Mountain, you can ski every type of terrain in a single run. You can either start on the wide open faces of the main run or for the more bold and adventurous take the plunge into Corbet’s Couloir, an infamous drop that rewards the brave with some of the best snow on the ski mountain. From there you can traverse to the Cirque, another wide open bowl, or make your way down through the trees to the Thunder quad lift. Then, bypassing the ride back up the mountain, you can hit the mogul fields on Lower Tram Line or head over to the groomers Gros Ventre or Sundance Gully. Many people would have to travel to a few different resorts to have a run like that.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort also appeals to the more extreme skier with its “open gate” policy which basically means that there are no “out of bounds” areas. This means that the backcountry, accessible via the Resort, is always open. However, avalanche danger must still be respected and acknowledged. If the danger is high, it’s probably not a good idea to venture out into the backcountry. In recent years, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has started to pander to the “Freeskier,” those who like to huck big cliffs, send narrow chutes, and do backflips over big jumps. These Freeskiers are right at home at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and the resort has built some custom features for them too. The new Burton Stash Parks are terrain parks built into the existing landscape and include features like log rails, a fake cabin rooftop, and even a hole cut out of tree branches through which you can “thread the needle.”

Though Jackson Hole Mountain Resort offers a lot and has something for everyone, it is not all that Jackson Hole has to offer. There are two other ski areas that offer much to the Skiers and Boarders of the world. Snow King Resort in downtown Jackson Hole is a small, yet very steep mountain that is great for a quick few runs during lunch for us working stiffs. It is also the training for the Jackson Hole High School Ski Team and the local Jackson Hole Ski Club. The steep pitches, short lift rides, and night skiing allow young racers plenty of runs to hone their skills and master the gates. The US Ski Team and even a few European teams have come to Jackson Hole to train on Snow King. For many years, when I was a part of the Ski Club, we would look forward to the US Ski Team’s arrival and the chance to ski with world class athletes. We also had the opportunity to see the latest in skiing technology as they would usually commandeer our locker room to house their many pairs of skis. It was a great experience and one I will always remember.

The third local resort is a hidden gem on the west side of the Tetons known as Grand Targhee. It is a relatively small mountain but boasts an average of over 400 inches, annually, of the best snow in the Rockies. Since Grand Targhee is somewhat unknown to the rest of the world, the lines are usually short, the runs are open, and you can sometimes get first tracks on the same run twice in a day. If you live in Jackson, Grand Targhee is a great place for a winter weekend getaway. They have great lodging, though not too much of it, and usually offer great packages throughout the winter months. Many times they will throw in a day of Cat Skiing too. This is one of the unknown treasures of Grand Targhee, Cat Skiing. They have an entire section of the best skiing in the area closed off just for it. Plus, how often do you get to ride a Cat (the grooming machines for those who don’t know).

All in all, Jackson Hole has a lot to offer when it comes to skiing. Not only is it a great ski destination but it is also a great place to grow up in the sport. Whether you are an expert looking for a new thrill or beginner looking for a challenge, Jackson is the place to be.

Fall in Jackson Hole | op Elk Bugling Spots for a Jackson Hole Outing

Have you ever heard an elk bugle? If not, it is worth the small effort to hear one of the most “back to nature” experiences in Jackson Hole.

As the mountain maple and aspen trees put on their colorful fall show, the bull elk in the rocky mountain west are ready to start their migration and mating season.

Male elk bugle in order to attract female elk to their harem (usually 20 to 30 elk cows). Only one adult bull elk travels with and protects the harem so the bugling also serves to keep young male competitors away and to attract only the bravest male elk, who may be ready for their own harem, to a duel.

An elk bugling outing is best at dusk so bring your wool travel blanket, your favorite bottle of wine, evening picnic fare and a bit of patience.

Top Elk Bugling Destinations in Jackson Hole:

Lupine Meadows: Head out of the town of Jackson on US 89 towards Grand Teton Park about 12 miles. Turn left and pass the town of Moose and head through the park gate. Travel about 7 miles and turn left to the Lupine Meadows trailhead just before you hit Jenny Lake.

Moose Wilson Road: This is a fairly untraveled road as RVs and trailers are not allowed. It is beautiful all times of the year. From Jackson head north on Highway 390, Moose-Wilson Road past Teton Village, about 12 miles. Go through the park entrance and continue. The road turns to gravel/dirt. Here, anywhere along the road is appropriate to stop for your evening picnic. If you continue on this road you will end up in Moose, WY (about 6 miles or so) and you can take Highway 89 back to town.

All New, All Blue | Intermediate Run Expansion at Jackson Hole

All New, All Blue – Jackson Hole Mountain Resort introduces an entirely new intermediate experience.

The excitement in Jackson Hole is building with 3 days until opening day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. This year skiers will be greeted with lots of “new blue” improvements and infrastructure at the ski resort further cementing the commitment of the owners to create an unparalleled mountain vacation for all guests and Jackson Hole residents alike.

The mid mountain of the Jackson Hole ski resort will enhance the intermediate skier experience with a new, high-speed quad chair lift. The new snow cat fleet is larger and the snowmaking has been expanded. The on-mountain Casper Restaurant launches a new menu and a custom taco and Margarita bar. And for the visiting family with younger kids, there is more to explore than ever.

And visitors are noticing all these enhancements. Readers of SKI magazine ranked Jackson Hole Mountain Resort #1 in 3 separate categories including Overall Satisfaction.

Meanwhile, one of the most important real estate and hotel developments at the ski resort, Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, was awarded #2 in the Top 40 Resorts in the West.

Real Estate In Jackson Hole Seeing its Best Year

With Jackson Hole real estate seeing it’s best year in 2011 since the “great recession”, it seems that this Rocky Mountain destination is poised for a big year on many fronts. Between some of the most scenic beauty in the US, ease of travel in and out, proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone and the enviable lifestyle of residents, why wouldn’t you want to discover this rocky mountain gem.

Get to Jackson Hole – Directly from Nine Cities.
Yes it true. You can now fly to Jackson Hole non-stop from New York. Add that to non stop flights from Dallas, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Denver and Salt Lake City and Jackson Hole becomes nearly impossible to resist.

Jackson Hole Real Estate Market Hits Pre-Recession Highs!

Jackson Hole Real Estate continues to show clear indications of a recovery in full swing.  Third quarter closings shook off the doldrums of the Great Recession and posted numbers that we haven’t seen since 2006.  These latest closing figures continue the trend for the year with each quarter posting higher numbers in both total sales and total dollars than the quarter before.  Perhaps even more telling is the fact that these numbers are being driven by increases in all sectors of the market and all areas of Jackson Hole except 1.  Single family homescondos, vacant land and commercial properties all saw significant gains in July, August & September.

What’s the Exception? The only area of Jackson Hole that did not see an increase in closings this quarter was south of the town of Jackson.  The decrease was slight. And it could be entirely accounted for by the relative lack of inventory under $1.5 million in Jackson Hole.  That price category makes up the bulk of sales south of Jackson.  In fact, overall inventory of Jackson Hole Real Estate under $1.5 million has dropped 15% since the previous quarter.  It is also interesting to note that the average number of days that properties south of town have been on the market has also dropped.  This would indicate that while there is less inventory currently, that which is available is being sold faster.

Let’s take a look at it by the numbers:

  • 2012 Third Quarter compared to 2011 Third Quarter:
    • Number of Units sold is up 33%.
    • Dollar Volume of sales is up a dramatic 77.6%.
  • 2012 Year To Date compared to 2011 Year to Date:
    • Number of Units sold is up 17%.
    • Dollar Volume of sales is up 31.5%.

The positive news for the market does not end there.  Average monthly sales volume for July, August & September is up 93% as compared to the average monthly volume for the prior 6 months.  In fact, September posted the highest single month of closings since November of 2007.  Finally and perhaps most notably – average price of Jackson Hole real estate continued to increase throughout the quarter.

So what does this all mean?  While it is impossible to predict the future, 3 strong quarters of growth in the Jackson Hole real estate market are certainly strong indicators of a recovery.  Particularly interesting is the fact that this is happening across the board in all sectors and virtually all areas of the market.  Finally, you can not ignore the fact that this is also happening while the average price of real estate is increasing.  This would strongly indicate that the trend of sales being fueled by ever decreasing prices is also over.

Been thinking about purchasing real estate in the Jackson Hole market?  Now could be an excellent time to do so.  As we move into early winter, sales typically fall off which could make your offer more attractive to a seller looking at possibly having to hold their property until next summer.  This also could mean they would be willing to accept a lower offer than they will consider next summer, particularly if 2013 continues this year’s strong growth.  Interested in a specific area or type of property?  Contact us today to get a customized market report highlighting properties of interest to you.