PARK CITY REAL ESTATE CONTINUES TO RISE AND SHINE
Wondering what’s happening in the Park City real estate market? At the latest Western Home Journal Real Estate Roundtable in Park City, Utah, which took place at the Stein Eriksen Residences in Deer Valley, a group of experienced and knowledgeable realtors including Katy Patterson, with The Lange Group of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Mark Rodeheaver, a Broker Associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Cam Schiedel, with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, and Tisha Digman, with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, discussed hot properties, buying best practices, and what’s trending in the marketplace. We learned from these bona fide experts where the next deal exists and their thoughts about some of the most important developments and groundbreaking happenings in the Park City real estate world. Read what these real estate experts have to say to help you make an informed decision on your next property purchase in one of the most desirable mountain towns in the West.
whj: How would you explain the complexity of individual neighborhoods and micro-markets in Park City? How are these markets maintaining and continuing to grow?
Tisha Digman: The market in Park City and the surrounding communities is complex. You really need to work with someone who understands the complexities of the different areas. As an example, properties in Old Town and lower Deer Valley, which are adjacent to each other, really vary greatly in pricing. The types of homes that are available in this area are likely to appeal to a very different type of buyer. Our market is definitely growing at a consistent pace but differs depending on the area.
Katy Patterson: I think it’s interesting to see the ebb and flow of the different sub-markets in Park City. Recently, Empire Pass has ‘turned on,’ Silver Spring is still strong, and Park Meadows has slowed relative to how it typically performs. But in six months to a year, it can look very different in the same markets. Just another reason why it’s wise to use a local realtor in a resort market like Park City.
Mark Rodeheaver: You have a primary and secondary home buyer neighborhoods, whereas some areas have both types of buyers. Ultimately, if you are looking for a new, modern-build single-family home under $2.5 million, there are limited opportunities. Although they are outside the Park City school district boundaries, we have seen Promontory thrive in recent years given their amenities and new construction options. New ski condominiums too are somewhat limited, whether your preference is upper Deer Valley or Canyons Village.
Cam Schiedel: The best thing about our market is the diversity and that there is something for everyone. If a buyer is looking for a condo, there are condos beginning in the hundred thousand range up to the multi-million dollar range. There are hip, new homes and condos for buyers looking for an urban feel, and then there’s also a broad range of mountain modern or traditional mountain/western. We have plenty of new construction along with the opportunity for the buyer to find a property at a lower price point that they can remodel and make their own. There is definitely something for everyone in our market at a range of prices and different styles.
TD: I think the outlying areas are so appealing because you can still get a home or condo for substantially less than what you would pay in Park City.
CS: I think there’s something for everyone who has more than a million dollars to spend.
KP: It’s why the other markets such as Jordanelle, Kamas, and Heber are growing so fast. There are so many people who don’t have a million dollars to spend but want to be homeowners.
MR: Keep your eye on older condominiums closer to Old Town that are updated.
whj: How are the developments prospering in The Canyons and other hubs in the Park City area as well as the future developments around the Jordanelle and Mayflower areas?
TD: I believe all the development surrounding the Jordanelle is very exciting. It remains to be seen what Extel, who bought the property by Mayflower, will do, but they have a great reputation for being a quality developer and we expect that Mayflower will be very impressive and based on the projected plans, world-class.
CS: As you venture away from Park City proper, you can find affordable, new construction in areas like The Canyons and around the Jordanelle. If we’re talking about single-family homes, there is a great deal of growth in Kamas Valley and Heber Valley and it’s possible to find homes that are relatively affordable with new construction and larger lot sizes for well under a million dollars.
MR: I represent two projects for the master developer of Canyons Village, Replay Resorts. We brought Lift Residences to market in the winter of 2017 and quickly sold 90 percent, with price points above the older adjacent properties. We have seen a change and increase in the buyer demographic and interested clients throughout town.
KP: The Canyons continues to be one of the strongest sub markets we have. It offers a great product for a relative discount to the alternatives in Deer Valley. It’s clear that there was and is pent-up demand for new product in The Canyons. The new village will elevate the overall feeling there and provide some great dining and social options that have been needed for some time.
whj: Each development offers different amenities. What is a popular amenity attracting buyers today?
MR: In terms of amenities, most second-home developments have more amenities than primary home developments. A good example would be Victory Ranch and Promontory. From the time I managed the real estate at Montage Deer Valley to YotelPAD Park City, second-home ski properties seem to attract buyers when offering an outdoor pool in the sun.
TD: Pools in northern Utah weren’t very popular or practical in the past, other than for hotel/condominium projects; however, we’re seeing more of them built in our luxury home market.
KP: People are coming to Park City more on a year-round basis, and thus they enjoy having a pool to use, especially those with young kids. Other amenities like the SHED at Promontory or the BARN at Victory Ranch are popular too. Families are coming here to reconnect with each other, so having amenities that offer something for all ages in the same vicinity is appealing.
MR: At Lift Residences, we designed around the sun in January, which turned the heads of our buyers. There are only a handful of slope-side properties where you can watch skiing while soaking in a heated pool. More and more buyers are looking for year-round pools. We also designed a year-round pool at YotelPAD Park City.
KP: With amenities it’s all about shared family spaces–providing entertainment for kids of all ages and social spaces for adults to mingle. The BARN at Victory Ranch and the SHED at Promontory have done this well.
CS: It doesn’t diminish the fact that most people are introduced to the community by skiing. Skiing is still the main attraction, but the numerous outdoor activities year-round are what make the area so desirable for a second home.
MR: Historically, as Park City is a year-round family destination, outside of skiing and spending time in the mountains, it’s about ways to connect the families, whether inside around a pool table or outside around a fire pit.
TD: Over the years we’ve definitely seen Park City evolve from a winter ski destination to attracting visitors year-round who enjoy everything from mountain biking, golfing, hiking, paddle boarding, climbing, ATVing, and any other number of great outdoor activities. Those are really our greatest amenities.
CS: Revenue generated during ski season in Park City is still a much bigger number than summer revenue, but the summers get busier every year.
MR: Park City’s ease of access attracts out-of-state buyers who are not only looking for traditional resort amenities, but are also looking to fly fish, horseback ride, and mountain bike.
TD: We also host a variety of tournaments.
CS: It’s very diverse. There are a couple of music festivals, sport and recreational activities like Tour Utah, and mountain biking. We’re one of the top mountain biking destinations in the country.
whj: Currently, what are some great property deals or considerations?
TD: I think some undervalued properties exist in lower Deer Valley. Many homes have not been updated and there’s potential being right next to Old Town, where new construction and really good historic remodels are selling at $1,000 a square foot.
MR: If you are looking for ski real estate, focus on Canyons Village and Lower Deer Valley over the next year. Mature landscaping and cooler temperatures are just a short walk to Old Town from Lower Deer Valley. And the proposed changes at Canyons Village and the new developments make it a great year-round option for families.
KP: I agree with Tisha. And, while many areas of ‘Lower’ Deer Valley lack direct ski access, a great solution for buyers is to join the Deer Crest Club at St. Regis, which offers a shuttle service to and from the club within a five-mile radius with a gorgeous lounge, ski locker room, and more.
TD: Many homes have not been updated and that’s where I see potential value.
CS: There are definitely opportunities all around Deer Valley.
whj: What are some of the latest architectural trends attracting new buyers?
CS: It does seem more expensive at the moment to buy a lot and build, especially if you don’t already own the lot.
MR: Mountain modern has grown into many different styles. The whites and greys are starting to warm up with taupes and browns. Big windows are very popular, which help to bring the outdoors inside.
TD: It went a little too far. Cam and I have been building and developing some properties over the past several years, doing everything from concept to working with architects for unique livable plans, to selecting the interior finishes and design, and in the last few development projects, we’ve tried to incorporate warmer tones to balance it out with clean lines. There is a focus on finishes that are timeless and transitional.
KP: Somehow over the past few years the concept of ‘modern’ or ‘mountain modern’ meant everything had to be grey. Every new construction home was starting to look the same. I think, finally, the trend is swinging away from that and back to more warmth and color while still keeping clean lines. I’m thrilled about this.
MR: In Old Town and certain other developments, you are governed by a look and style consistent with Park City’s history. Old Town has charm that’s historical, and I believe it’s important to keep that feel here.
KP: First-time visitors are definitely drawn to the charm of Old Town, but many buyers tend to expand their search outside of Old Town after a few visits to Park City. Old Town is a niche market for sure.
TD: If you look at the growth of Park City and neighborhoods like Old Town, there’s always a struggle to keep the small-town charm.
CS: Park City has put forth a great effort to keep the character intact. There are very few large parcels where someone is going to come in and build something homogeneous.
MR: At the end of the day, people who come to Park City are drawn to Old Town. Visitors, whether second homeowners or new to Park City, will visit Old Town during their stay. With the Sundance Film Festival and other annual events, we live in a town full of year-round quality entertainment. Generally, much of it is centered around Main Street.
TD: Park City appeals to a variety of people.
CS: There’s diversity here with an urban experience too.
whj: How are The Epic and Ikon Passes affecting homebuyers?
KP: The Epic Pass has exposed people to Park City who would not otherwise visit because they were die-hard Aspen or Vail skiers. We’ve certainly seen an increase in skier traffic, which could possibly translate to a few more home sales, but it’s hard to make that direct correlation.
MR: To me, Vail Resorts put Park City on the map for many visitors who never thought of making their way to Utah. In terms of the The Ikon Pass, it will be interesting to see the changes at Deer Valley under new ownership. It’s their first season, though my sense is that it will be very positive.
CS: I have my local’s Deer Valley pass.
TD: In the past I have had an Epic Pass and a Solitude Pass. Being here in Park City, you have the option of many different mountains. I love what we have here because you can get to so many locations: Brighton, Solitude, Alta, Snowbird, Snowbasin, and all of Park City.
whj: What is the status on condominium buying? Are most of these remodels? What areas are garnering the most attention?
CS: There isn’t a lot of inventory in town that’s close to Old Town. The shortage of inventory has put a damper on what could be some of our condo sales. It’s just not available and has really driven the price growth in the outlying areas.
MR: There seems to be an increase of interest in new build options. Lift Residences, which I launched with Replay Resorts in 2017, will close this spring. Today, we are 92% sold in a little over a year’s time. Goldener Hirsch at Silver Lake in Deer Valley is a nice project still in the ground. Also popular are the emerging new modern developments at the Canyons Village and Empire Pass.
KP: The condo market in Empire Pass has really picked up as of late and there are some great values there. Also, there are a few new projects in the pipeline in Empire Pass like Empire Residences, Tower Club Residences, and the new Goldener Hirsch Residences in Silver Lake—all of which are getting the attention of buyers.
TD: If you’re looking for newer condos, there are some great projects at the Canyons area and Empire Pass. Also, there are some really nice communities just minutes away from Park City where you get more for your money, and they are still conveniently located.
whj: How is the second home market?
CS: The second home market is strong whether it’s a condo or a single-family home.
MR: The second home market is strong. Though, I don’t always look at it as primary versus secondary. Our little mountain town is quite segmented. Ultimately, if the property is priced in accordance with the market and demand, you should not have too many challenges to sell in the short term. It really depends on location, quality, and finishes.
KP: The second home market continues to hold a steady pace. There does seem to be a ‘slump’ in the market in the price range between $2 to $3.5 million. Anything under that range is selling relatively fast and anything over it is selling, but the days on market for the price point in the middle is longer than what we typically see.
TD: Our business is really well rounded with both second homeowners and full-time residents, but the second home market is definitely still very strong here in Park City.
whj: Recently, building costs have risen to an all-time high. Is this creating a greater desire for a finished product versus building a home? How is this affecting remodels?
KP: Construction and labor are expensive. There’s no way around that, but there still seem to be plenty of buyers willing to pay in order to create a custom home.
MR: Yes, everything is relatively expensive and labor is high, which creates a demand for finished homes. For example, near Old Town, there are limited opportunities to find land at a reasonable price. With the limited supply, demand and price are generally higher. Construction costs are such that many don’t want to spend the time building and elect to do something different.
CS: It does seem more expensive at the moment to buy a lot and build if you don’t already own it. It’s hard to do and the lots are very expensive.
MR: Even if you make the decision to renovate your home, renovation costs are high and construction contractors are commonly delayed. Though it can certainly be done. You just need to be savvy and patient.
KP: With such limited vacant land inventory, we’ve seen buyers purchasing older homes and tearing them down so they can build their dream homes. This isn’t an option for everyone, but if the budget allows for it and the numbers makes sense, it can be a good option.
CS: We try to drill down to what people want, especially suggesting outlying areas in Promontory and Hideout. Some of these areas have the largest transactions going.
TD: Honestly, it’s not easy building from out of state and because of costs and some of the unknowns, it’s more appealing to purchase a finished home or condo if you can find the right fit.
whj: What have been some of the top-selling homes in the past year? What’s the attraction?
TD: One of the homes in Old Town that Cam and I completed in the past year sold for over $5 million. At the time, that was one of the highest priced homes to sell in that neighborhood. Honestly, it was worth the money. It was really special and unique.
KP: Bald Eagle had a couple of big sales this year ($6 to $8 million), which is great because it’s such a ‘classic’ Deer Valley ski in/ski out neighborhood.
CS: In the last four years, the number of homes sold at higher price points has more than doubled. Our market doesn’t have that many sales over $10 million, but if you look at the price points from $3 to $5 million and $5 to $10 million, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of sales at those higher price points. We are seeing the highest priced homes sell in ski-in and ski-out neighborhoods like Bald Eagle, Deer Crest, and The Colony.
MR: Promontory and Victory Ranch have had continued success with their offered amenities and new home options. There have been several $5 million primary home sales, which is higher than years past. I have also worked with clients looking for the over $5 million ranch properties. It’s a definite increase in recent years.
whj: Do you recommend using local lenders versus out-of-state lenders? If so, why?
MR: Our market is still around a 52 percent cash buyer. Though, when lending is involved it’s almost always in-state.
KP: We work with a lot of buyers who don’t ‘need’ a loan to purchase the property, but if money is cheap, they’ll get a loan. In this scenario, they tend to use their personal money managers to put this in place. However, if a loan is needed for the buyer to afford the property, then we always recommend a local lender. It can ensure fewer ‘issues’ along the way.
CS: The most important scenarios for when a buyer should use a local lender are when it’s a more challenging property or development. For example, if there’s a condo hotel or there has been past litigation with an HOA.
TD: We all work together when it’s a local lender. They know us, and they want to do business with us so they’re more inclined to take good care of our clients.
whj: Four years ago, the average person visited Park City four times over a 2.5-year period before they bought a home. Is this still true or are people making quicker decisions?
KP: Typically buyers are still making a few trips prior to purchasing. But it’s not unusual to see buyers make a purchase on their first trip.
MR: My sense is that our strong economic backdrop has reduced the visitor to second home purchase timeline, not withstanding the limited inventory in our market. People want to spend time and create memories in Park City and make decisions. The demographic is slowly changing and buyers are making the purchasing decision more quickly than before.
CS: I’m not sure how much that statistic has changed, but it certainly feels like the time frame may be shortening some and buyers are making decisions a little faster.
TD: Every once in a while we’ll work with someone who falls in love with Park City and decides to purchase a home on their first visit, but for the majority of the time, they are still visiting several times over several years before making a purchasing decision.
MR: More and more buyers are selecting Park City over other rival ski towns. Where else can you ski the same day you fly, see the best independent storytellers in film, and bump into an Olympian on the street?
whj: How do you sell people on Park City versus other ski towns?
KP: Growing up in Vail, Colorado, I get asked this question all the time. There are many benefits that Park City and Utah offer, in general, but I think number-one is still the accessibility. It is so easy to get to Salt Lake City, and then you have your choice of up to ten different resorts to ski within a 45-minute drive (usually traffic-free). The remodel and expansion of the SLC airport will broaden the access even further.
MR: Year-round charm is selling Park City. After college and into my professional career, I lived in Jackson Hole, Vail, and the north Lake Tahoe area. The difference is that Park City is completely accessible year-round. We sustain a vibrant community in the shoulder seasons where most other ski towns don’t.
CS: The proximity to the airport is a key factor for most people who choose to buy a second home or vacation property. Accessibility combined with the variety of year-round activities make Park City a great place to travel to, not just once but several times a year.
TD: What is unique about Park City is its proximity to Salt Lake City, which is one of our biggest feeder markets. Utah has a very business-friendly pro-growth environment, which is attracting businesses from all over who are considering moving their corporate offices or satellite offices to Salt Lake City. Many of those people purchase a home here in Park City or the surrounding areas and commute to work, or they have a vacation home here just minutes away from their home in the valley.
MR: I have several clients who fly privately. They could easily access any ski resort town, but have selected Park City for its people and environment. It is a family-friendly community with charm and year-round activities and entertainment.
whj: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking of relocating to Park City with their family?
KP: If they are going to move here full-time, I always suggest that they spend a great deal of time here, or even rent for a few months so they can really understand all the different neighborhoods.
MR: It depends on if you are a part-time or full-time resident. Park Meadows is a great community, centrally located to everything for the full-time family. Part-time, not taking schools into consideration, I would suggest other neighborhoods centered around their interests. Those interests could be slope-side convenience, golf-centered, or the Wild West and open range. We have all three within a 20-minute drive to Main Street.
CS: For people with school-age children, determining where you want your children to attend school is a pretty important place to start. There are a variety of options from public to private to alternative schools like the winter school or Summit Academy. You’ll pay more to be in the Park City School District, so if you don’t have school-age children it may open up a variety of locations at more attractive prices that are very close to town and skiing.
TD: Whether you’re moving here full-time or buying a second home, we try and understand your lifestyle and needs. Whether it’s skiing, boating, biking, or schools, this will dictate where you want to live, and we’re here to help guide our buyers through that decision-making process. It’s really rewarding.
whj: Where does Park City see its real estate market in five years?
KP: It’s likely to continue to grow as a year-round community. But without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to predict the market in five years.
MR: There are many exciting things happening in Park City. In recent years, there have been several TV series shot in and around Park City. Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone series is one such show that would not have been here five years ago. With growth there is change. We live in a progressive and enriching community. It will continue to evolve in a positive way.
CS: I think we’ll continue to see steady, healthy growth in our market over the next five years.
TD: We feel confident that Utah has a strong market and will hopefully grow at a strong and healthy pace in the future.
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