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 gets thrown into the mix and adjusts the variable once again. Sometimes rankings simply adjust by weather patterns; El Niño can give a gift to some resorts one year, and El Niña can take it away the next. And then there is the human factor—some of us are die-hards for one resort or another. Others of us like to graze—go here on vacation one year and there the next. 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,” then further whittle that list down by only listing the resorts with over 2,500 full-time residents, thus leaving them with 19 to work with. 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 Vail on the podium at #2.
1. 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.
2. Unemployment Rate
More people with jobs means more renters and future buyers if you want to sell.
3. 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.
4. Foreclosure Inventory
This inventory is actually good for the investor as it means more bargains available.
5. Rental Vacancy Rate
A low vacancy rate means strong demand for your home as a regular or vacation rental.
6. Gross Rental Yield
The higher the gross yield, the better chance to cover or exceed your costs of owning a home.
7. 2013 Foreclosure Rate
Although foreclosure inventory is good for bargains, too much recent foreclosure activity could be bad for home values.
8. Foreclosure Rate Drop from 2010
The bigger the drop from the height of the housing crisis, the faster the market is recovering.
9. Pure Awesomeness Factor
From Zrankings, this puts a number on the quality of the ski resort in the town.
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