By Monica Maybo
The statistics are ever-changing when trying to rank the best ski resorts in the nation and the categories are myriad. Which resorts get the best snow? Which have the most intriguing nightlife? Best vertical? Least traffic? Unbeatable après? Year after year, a different factor is thrown into the mix and adjusts the rankings once again. It seems to be virtually impossible to get stable rankings with all of these factors under consideration, but RealtyTrac has attempted just that in its quest to find the best ski resort towns for real estate investing. RealtyTrac’s methodology? Hire Zrankings to supply them with the 50 highest-ranking resorts based on “pure awesomeness” (which, we admit smacks of subjectity), then further whittle it down by only listing the resorts with over 2,500 full-time residents, thus leaving 19 resort towns to choose from. Then they came up with eight totally different and more reliable factors (real numbers), and then combining the outcome of those rankings for the overall ranking, with Sun Valley coming in at a respectable #15.

According to local Sun Valley real estate agents, the area may not rank as high (in this system) as we locals think it should, but the area is only going to move up in the rankings as we continue to improve our air service and accessibility. The schools, the natural beauty, and the amenities in Sun Valley make it a highly sought-after location for full-time living or a second home.

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THE 9 FACTORS

1. PURE AWESOMENESS FACTOR

From Zrankings, this puts a number on the quality of the ski resort in the town..

2. DISTANCE FROM THE AIRPORT

The property should be easy to get to, both for second-home owners and other vacationers who help drive the local economy.

3. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

More people with jobs means more renters and future buyers if you want to sell.

4. MEDIAN LIST PRICE

All other things being more or less equal—the lower the price, the better. Investors make their money when they buy low.

5. FORECLOSURE INVENTORY

This inventory is actually good for the investor as it means more bargains available.

6. RENTAL VACANCY RATE

A low vacancy rate means strong demand for your home as a regular or vacation rental.

7. GROSS RENTAL YIELD

The higher the gross yield, the better chance to cover or exceed your costs of owning a home.

8. 2013 FORECLOSURE RATE

Although foreclosure inventory is good for bargains, too much recent foreclosure activity could be bad for home values.

9. FORECLOSURE RATE DROP FROM 2010

The bigger the drop from the height of the housing crisis, the faster the market is recovering.

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