A Park City Review
The average single-family home in Park City last year sold for almost $2.5M and the market is up 30% this year. In October, WHJ hosted a roundtable discussion to take an inside look at the real estate market in town. We invited four luxury real estate professionals to sit down with us and give us a better sense of the expanding market. We asked questions including:
What areas in Park City are seeing the most growth?
How is the SLC airport expansion affecting the real estate market?
What new building trends can buyers expect to see in Park City?
Meet the Round Table: In the following pages, gain expert insight from top Park City Realtors and Brokers including Sheila Hall with Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, Katy Patterson with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Kristen Barber with Stein Eriksen Realty Group, and Lisa Blakemore of Blakemore Real Estate.
whj: We’re seeing a lot of the country in a seller’s market. Is Park City a buyer’s market? Why or why not?
Lisa Blakemore (Blakemore Real Estate): It’s not necessarily a buyer’s market — it’s more of a balanced market. Compared to other mountain towns, the cost of settling here is relatively low. Buyers tend to come in ready to purchase and are buying in cash. They aren’t passively browsing; they’re truly shopping for a home. However, not every area in Park City has equal appeal. As in any expanding market, sellers face different challenges depending on the neighborhood. In a traditional buyer’s market, you’ll see listings stay available for four months or longer and have one or more price reductions. That trend is certainly true for some price points in Park City like $4M+ but not all Park City listings.
Kristen Barber (Stein Eriksen Realty Group): Due to low supply and high demand, this is one of the strongest seller’s markets we have ever seen. This is creating a wide variety of challenges for buyers. I am meeting buyers talking about being priced out of other mountain resort towns and expanding their search to Utah for the first time. This is good news for sellers who are enjoying rapid increases in home values, more offers to pick from, and a faster sales process.
Katy Patterson (Berkshire Hathaway home services): Perhaps yes, in certain sub-markets where properties are more geared toward investment-minded buyers, but a large part of our current market is NOT a buyer’s market. With huge demand for full-time living and families having the ability to work remotely, our inventory has shrunk dramatically, causing prices to increase. Buying a property here has become extremely competitive.
Sheila Hall (Summit Sotheby’s International Realty): I have always felt that the Park City market isn’t ever really a buyer’s market. Our sellers are always naming their prices and holding pretty firm to them. Sometimes you can coach them with numbers but for the most part, it’s almost always a seller’s market in my mind.
“I have always felt that the Park City market isn’t ever really a buyer’s market. Our sellers are always naming
their prices and holding pretty firm to them. Sometimes you can coach them with numbers but for the most part, it’s almost always a seller’s market in my mind.”
–Sheila Hall, Associate Broker,Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
whj: What type of buyer is discovering Park City and the surrounding areas?
Sheila: I am experiencing a much younger demographic, including those with small children. In years past it has been the older parent whereas now we are seeing the 30+ age group buying multi-million-dollar properties.
Kristen: The type of home buyer discovering Park City and the surrounding areas is not necessarily changing, but the influx has simply accelerated. While a smaller segment of my business was professional couples and families relocating here in the past, it’s now my fastest growing segment. The pandemic tipped the scales in favor of much more permissive work-from-home policies and those policies and the people are sticking around. Working remotely for long periods of time and living wherever the sophisticated professional wants to is a now a reality.
whj: What areas of Park City have been expanding? How have they been expanding?
Lisa: Right now, Silver Creek is expanding in terms of area and demand because of the balance between home varieties and options and the large lot sizes. Demand is also up for the Snyderville Basin because of commuters wanting the Park City lifestyle while still working in Salt Lake City or Silicon Slopes. In terms of development in expansion, Canyons Village and Mayflower Lakeside have both been seeing more hotel and residential new builds that serve a seasonal resident.
Katy: The areas around the Jordanelle have been exploding for a while now with new communities and new homes — this area is providing inventory that simply doesn’t exist in Park City. Buyers could be waiting a year or more before they can move in. Kamas & Heber Valley is growing rapidly and prices are increasing. Wolf Creek Ranch has seen a huge uptick in sales volume over the past 18 months — we’ve sold 19 properties for a total of $40M. A typical year for Wolf Creek Ranch would be six to eight sales — we’ve found the demand directly tied to a desire for more space, appreciation for the outdoors, etc., which Wolf Creek offers as each property is 160 acres. I’ve also noticed an increase in the seasonal cabin market — Parkites are looking to escape town and find quiet surroundings.
Sheila: The Canyons is finally seeing the master plan come to fruition. There are still parcels to be developed on but in the last two years the amount of development there has been at a fevered pace and selling just as quickly as they are put on the market, even the hotel properties, which historically have taken years to sell.
“The airport expansion is certainly an attractive draw for folks but the pandemic, the shift to more flexible remote work, and the ‘great resignation’ plays a bigger role in the migration than just the new airport.”
–Lisa Blakemore,Broker/Owner,Blakemore Real Estate
Kristen: In addition to the expanding growth in outer areas, it’s noteworthy to mention that all undeveloped development parcels within Park City proper are now on the table with new opportunities coming in the very near future at the base of Park City Mountain Resort as well as the base of Deer Valley Resort.
whj: How has the Salt Lake City airport expansion garnered attention for buyers and sellers? Are more CEOs and business owners relocating with virtual operations or monthly checks-in?
Katy: Perhaps the expansion has brought more attention, but I think that the location and proximity of the airport to Park City is the driver and always has been. Having close proximity to an international airport has made Park City’s real estate market more year-round, especially with the “work remote” trend.
Lisa: I’ve been a broker/owner for over 20 years in both Salt Lake City and in Park City, and I can tell you that we are seeing an incredible influx of people into Utah leaving congested areas and larger urban cities. The airport expansion is certainly an attractive draw for folks but the pandemic, the shift to more flexible remote work, and the ‘great resignation’ plays a bigger role in the migration than just the new airport. Plus, we’re still at least two years away from the airport’s Phase II completion, where it becomes an icon of the city, attracting more new residents.
Kristen: Our proximity to the Salt Lake City Airport has been attracting tourists and vacation home buyers away from other Mountain West destinations for years and it’s growing. I find that people looking to take advantage of their growing flexibility already knew about Park City’s easy access to both Salt Lake City and the airport there and they rushed to rent and buy here because of it. I relocated from New York City in 2002 and moved to Park City sight-unseen because of the 35-minute drive to the airport and the growing number of direct flights.
Sheila: I don’t think the airport expansion really had any additional benefit for us, as far as getting the word out. I think we won’t see a really huge number increase in flights; the airport is geographically limited so it has some room for more flights — but not a lot.
whj: What are some of the new developments in the area? How are they accommodating buyers, especially those affiliating with certain brands and names in the luxury home real estate market?
Kristen: The new Stein Eriksen Estates is a gated single-family custom home community with 14 homesites for sale. Each owner will have unparalleled access to the Forbes Five-Star Hotel services and amenities of Stein Eriksen Lodge. No other single-family home community in the entire area matches this service and combination of amenities, which includes, shuttle, private ski locker, and ski valet. The brand proved to be a strong driving factor in the sell-through of Stein Eriksen Residences and has a strong international following even though it is specific to just Utah.
Sheila: The Pendry as a hotel, being brought on and completely sold-out at this point, which is unprecedented in our hotel market in the entire history of Park City hotel selling. Buyers are definitely responding to luxury offerings within the community.
“I think post-recession there was a drastic turn towards contemporary, and people wanting a more modern feel in architecture, and I think that trend has continued.”
–Kristen Barber, Principal Broker, Stein Eriksen Realty Group
whj: What are the new building trends for Park City? Have the climate and supply chain issues had an influence on new builds?
Katy: I’ve seen a shift towards “wellness-focused” building — making homes a “healing” environment with materials, systems, and layout all centered around creating “wellness.” Absolutely, the supply chain issues have caused a massive delay in the new construction segment. Lead times are three to four times longer than normal for most materials. However, buyers seem to be surprisingly understanding.
Kristen: I think post-recession there was a drastic turn towards contemporary, and people wanting a more modern feel in architecture, and I think that trend has continued.
Lisa: In terms of building trends, I like to let the experts speak for themselves and I’ll stick to real estate negotiations. However, from a design perspective, we’re still seeing a shift from mountain traditional to mountain contemporary in both architecture and interior design.
whj: The Colony has some grand luxury homes and builds; there is a $42 million listing. How has this been received? NOTE: Currently, the highest listing shown is $34 million.
Kristen: I feel that The Colony has been undervalued and now we are seeing the uniqueness of the large ski-in/ski-out homesites really peaking in appeal.
Sheila: I think it is important to understand that it is not the first, and the number is big because they grow over time. The home is a resort in and of itself, and the goal of that buyer is to be a little isolated and to also enjoy everything that Park City has to offer without being in the public eye.
Katy: We’ve seen a few closed sales pushing $20M in 2020 and with the market up again 30% in 2021 so far, sellers see no reason not to try. There are certainly a lot of capable buyers in the market right now.
“With the market moving so quickly, what used to be a fairly straight-forward process has become extremely complex. We’ve started to see some pushback on pricing from buyers as sellers continue to control the market.”
–Katy Patterson, Realtor, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
whj: Is the market softening in your opinion?
Kristen: It is not; demand is increasing like I’ve never seen before.
Lisa: I agree. Today’s buyers are serious buyers. They are coming in decisive, making decisions right away; they have done their homework on where and how they want to live.
Sheila: I think the problem for a lot of real estate agents and consumers in this town is that they don’t see standing inventory, and so they think we are not selling a lot, when we are actually selling more than we did two years ago. Things are just being sold prior to hitting the market. The pending inventory is heavier.
Katy: This market requires determination and persistence. My team is working hard and turning over the “rocks” to find properties to sell.
whj: What unique challenges are you facing in this market?
Katy: Pricing analysis. With the market moving so quickly, what used to be a fairly straightforward process has become extremely complex. We’ve started to see some pushback on pricing from buyers as sellers continue to control the market.
Lisa: I always say that if we don’t get at least ten showings with Realtors® at list price, then we need to take a look at that and make an adjustment quickly and decisively to capture those decisive buyers.
Kristen: Being involved with multiple offers, whether you are the buyer or the seller — each situation has a unique set of challenges.