Ski Resort Insider Info for Park City Real Estate Investors, November 2014

The Park City Board of REALTORS held their November luncheon at the Montage Deer Valley on Thursday, November 20th. I had the privilege of sitting with our speakers, Bob Wheaton, President and General Manager of Deer Valley Resort, Blaise Carrig, President of the Mountain Division for Vail Resorts, and Bill Rock, COO of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons. Each provided an update on plans for their respective resorts. A lot of this information is new and worth sharing with my blog readers. Much of it is highly relevant to someone looking to invest in Park City real estate.

Deer Valley® Resort

Deer Valley Mayflower Mine
The Mayflower Mine at Deer Valley

Bob Wheaton announced that Deer Valley was pleased to note that season pass sales and lodging are both up over 20% from last year. He wasn’t sure of the reason, but thought that it could possibly be due to the “Vail Effect”. With the recent cold temperatures in Park City, Deer Valley’s snow making is about 10 days ahead of this time last year. Deer Valley has recently purchased 5 snow cats and continues to improve its snow making capacity.

Steve Issowits, Director of Real Estate and Resort Planning for Deer Valley Resort, noted the new Brass Tag restaurant located at the Lodges at Deer Valley. This restaurant is committed to upholding the high Deer Valley standard and even makes its own bitters for the bar. Steve said that Deer Valley continues to work on a plan for a gondola that would be based at the Park City Transit Center in Old Town and would link Main Street and Silver Lake Village. Deer Valley is working with the University of Utah School of Architecture on a study.

Steve also touched on the eastern (Deer Crest) side of the resort. That part of the resort will definitely house a military hotel. The Mayflower land tract could change ownership by early next year, which would open additional possibilities for development on that side of the resort. He also mentioned that Deer Valley purchased Solitude resort because it has the same intimate culture as Deer Valley. No changes are expected there for this season.

Park City Mountain & Canyons

Canyons Pondskimming
Annual Pondskimming Event at Canyons

Blaise Carrig noted that since Vail is a publicly traded company, he could not publicize capital plans for the resorts until they are approved by Vail’s board at their December 5thmeeting. He advised everyone to look for a press release after the board meeting.

Vail uses the same marketing model as casinos. They are all about the on-mountain experience and make their profit by providing excellent lifts, ski schools and restaurants. They sell 400,000 season passes in 40 states and 80 countries. He told us to expect new visitors from across the country and across the world.

Because Vail took over Park City Mountain Resort so late in the summer, he cautioned that we should not have high expectations for the “Vail Experience” this season, but hopefully by next season. Vail made some needed improvements at Canyons, including an expansion of the Cloud Dine restaurant, doubling its size and making it a permanent structure. They did not make their typical capital investment at Canyons because they wanted to wait until the lawsuit was settled and make changes to both resorts at the same time.

Vail is committed to investing in a “pretty aggressive capital package” at PCMR. Blaise noted that Vail normally makes a big capital investment when they take over a resort. For example, they invested $50 million at Heavenly and $30 million at Northstar. (It is interesting to note that Bill Rock, the COO of PCMR and Canyons, came from the Tahoe area where he was responsible for both of those resorts.)

In my opinion, once Vail makes its capital improvement announcement after December 5th we are going to see an uptick in value and pricing in Park City, especially for the properties located in the PCMR and Canyons resort areas. Now is a great time to get in on what could be the last good real estate deals of the season.

What Recent Non-Ski-Resort Changes Mean for Park City Real Estate

You’ve probably been hearing about the ski resort changes in Park City for quite some time now. It’s hard to escape the topic in local publications and conversations alike. But Vail, Deer Valley and buzz about One Wasatch aren’t the only new topics up for discussion in Park City this year.

Where do I start? Park City is still the same town that you know and love, but when looking around you may have noticed business is booming; and it is booming everywhere. Seemingly overnight, new trails, farms, restaurants, film studios and stores have popped up pretty much in every single neighborhood. Here is a short rundown on changes in Park City for 2014-2015.

Tanger Outlet Expansion

Tanger Outlet Expansion
When the expansion was approved, County Council required Tanger Outlet Mall to commit grant monies to affordable housing and The Peace House.

 

A logical starting point may be the entrance into town from the west. Even before you reach the Kimball Junction exit on I-80, you’ll notice the Tanger Outlet Mall is undergoing a huge expansion. There’s a new coffee shop in the complex, Clockwork Café, so you can stay energized while you shop! New stores include Under Armour, White House/Black Market, Michael Kors and more.

⇒ Real Estate Effect: The additional shopping opportunities will add continued value to the already bustling Kimball Junction area, and surely keep long and short term visitors coming to the area to spend their money, a tax benefit to us all.

Happy Trail

Rasmussen Road Trail
The new paved trail and underpass on Rasmussen Road by Jeremy Ranch Elementary School.

 

 

Except for skiing, there’s almost nothing a Parkite loves more than his or her trails. Thus it comes as no surprise that funding for trails continues to be a priority for both the local government and the residents. This summer and fall we have started to see three new notable trails take shape. First, a paved trail from Kimball Junction to Jeremy Ranch Elementary School along Rasmussen Road is now complete, including an underpass to the school. Second, if you frequent Highway 40, you’ll notice construction as the pedestrian and wildlife underpass is being completed. Finally, we are loving Dawn’s trail, which connects Armstrong and Spiro a couple of miles shorter than HAM trail.

⇒ Real Estate Effect: The neighborhoods which will specifically benefit from these trails, many of which are connecting trails, include Jeremy RanchPromontory and more. Of course, everyone who owns Park City real estate benefits from trail changes like these.

Bill White Farms

Bill White Farms Back Side
The farm from the trail behind it, where you can see the chickens and goats!

 

 

As you get off the exit and head toward Park City, you may notice a stylish farm on the right. Brought to you by restaurant mogul Bill White, Bill White Farms is a restoration of the 1938 Hixon Farm. This landmark will be used for producing locally grown foods while the barn will host cooking classes and community events. The venue also preserves a pond and water habitat for local water fowl and other animals.

⇒ Real Estate Effect: The restoration helps tremendously with the beautification of nearby neighborhoods Bear Hollow and Ranch Place. Locals and second homeowners benefit from the deliciousness factor that is sure to be upgraded at Bill White Restaurants.

A Local Favorite Gets Fried

Bird & Barley
Note the PC Meats next door, already out of business the same season it opened.

 

 

Buzzing into town there’s a new epicurean gem, Bird & Barley. This little place has scored a lot of stars. Specializing in fried chicken and beer, it is said to be easy on the wallet and quick as a whistle. Sounds like a great stop after a day of skiing! Bird & Barley is located a few doors down from its owner’s flagship Sammy’s Bistro.

⇒ Real Estate Effect: Families rejoice. There is finally a meal in Park City that’s quick to grab and can feed a family of four for under $30. For $26, you get 8 pieces of fried chicken, a rotisserie chicken or a rack of ribs. You also get to choose from four delicious sides. This change is small but can effect families who are vacationing here as well as longtime locals.

White Castle, or Something Like It

Park City Film Studio
Construction resumed on the 374,000 square foot project in mid-October.

 

 

 

 

Heading out of town on Highway 248 you might notice a big white castle. Well, it’s not actually a castle, and you certainly can’t order sliders there. It’s a film studio. To be precise, Park City Film Studios, LLC. After a temporary pause, construction has resumed.

⇒ Real Estate Effect: This is just another example of how Park City is adding commerce and diversifying its portfolio. Establishments such as this one, help make it so that our children can have careers in Park City which are not in the ski or hospitality industries.

That’s just the tip of the Park City iceberg. Stay tuned for updates on more expansions and their effect on Park City real estate. And start getting those ski legs ready! Things are shaping up to be an incredible year.

State of the Park City Real Estate Market Q3 2014

Park City Real Estate Market Q3, 2014The Park City Board of Realtors just released its Quarter 3, 2014 data. I’ve studied the Press Release (my name is on it as President-elect) and I have attended two separate analyses of the information presented. You can view it here. Below is my analysis of the data and the Park City real estate market for the third quarter of 2014.

Key Indicators

Park City Board of Realtors Press ReleaseThis data compares Q3 in 2014 to Q3 in 2013:

  • Sales of single-family homes are down 12% overall, 20% in Park City 84060 and 14% in 84098.
  • The overall single-family home median price is up 2.1% (but has been stable since January, 2011)
  • The median single-family home price in 84060 is $1.3 million and up 4%.
  • The median single-family home price in 84098 is $767,000 and up 4.2%.

A lower inventory usually means higher prices, but the overall median price has been stable for over 3 years!

I have been studying Quarter 3, 2014 reports from other “sister” markets around the country. They are all seeing the same phenomena of record low inventories, but these markets are beginning to see greater increases in sale price.

“As the third quarter of 2014 came to a close, total sales across all areas were down by an average of 11% from the same period in 2013. Is it an indicator of a slowing market? Not likely. The health of any market is not determined by the past but the present and future.”—Rob McGarry, South Bay Brokers, Manhattan Beach, California

A Segmented Market

Part of the reason for Park City real estate’s stable overall median sale price in light of record low inventories is that our market is highly segmented. Some neighborhoods are seeing flat or decreasing prices, while others are seeing enormous appreciation.

“Prices have stabilized and are improving slowly for our overall market. However, price appreciation is highly dependent upon property type and area.”—Rick J. Klein, Wells Fargo Private Banking, Park City, Utah

The median price in Silver Springs rose to $767,000, Pinebrook increased to $715,000 and Trailsideincreased by $90,000 to $600,000. It is no surprise that these markets all have record low inventories. The average inventory for Park City’s single-family homes and condos is 7.1 months. In Silver Springs, that number is 0.78, Trailside is 3.25, Kimball Junction is 3.43 and Sun Peak is 3.72. Expect to see appreciation in all of these neighborhoods in the coming months.

The condominium market also has its hot spots. Silver Springs has 2.0 months of inventory, Jordanelle has 3.6 months, Pinebrook has 3.79 months, Kimball Junction has 3.83 months, and Jeremy Ranch has 5.14 months. What do all of these neighborhoods, excluding Silver Springs, have in common? These neighborhoods all are composed of affordable and newer condominiums, which are very much in demand.

The “Vail” Effect

Canyons Real Estate
Waldorf Astoria at Canyons

Vail announced its purchase of Park City Mountain Resort on 9/12/14. A study of pended properties between 9/12/14 through 10/31/14 compared with the same time period the previous year revealed a 43% increase overall, with a 71% increase in condominium purchases. There is definitely a Vail effect and as Vail invests into improvements at the resort and surrounding neighborhood, expect to see a further impact on the real estate market.

Advice if You’re Considering Listing

Current buyers have become so anxious to find the right property that many only pay attention to the new listings as they come out. This means that coming out with the right listing price when you first come to market is critical.   

“I think to most sellers, the idea that a $1 million asking price would result in a sale price of $990,000 is counter intuitive to the level of negotiation that has always been associated with real estate. Now more than ever, asking prices must be realistic and carefully chosen to maximize the value of the property.”—Stan Ponte, Sotheby’s International Realty, New York City

Advice if You’re Looking to Buy

It is critical to work with an agent who understands the diverse Park City neighborhoods and who has connections with other listing agents so that a hot property can be previewed before it even hits the market. There may also be deals lurking on the active list, especially those properties that have not sold within the expected timeframe of their neighborhood.

“The properties stagnating on the active list likely came out with prices supported more by wishful thinking than data. After a few weeks, many of those sellers are not sure what to do. An opportunistic buyer can likely get a deal.”—Rob McGarry, South Bay Brokers, Manhattan Beach, California

The Park City Real Estate market is complex. There are excellent opportunities to invest in that perfect dream home, vacation home or investment vehicle. It’s critical to obtain expert advice when navigating our marketplace.

The Evolution of Mountain Design in Park City Real Estate

Rich Sonntag, Managing Director of Operations for Promontory in Park City, recently presented an update on the community. For those not familiar with Promontory, it is a 6500 acre development on the eastern border of Park City’s unincorporated area (zip code 84098). Every home and amenity at Promontory has been built since the community first opened in the early 2000’s.

Promontory’s home owners and developers have constructed custom homes and amenities according to cutting edge and ever-evolving mountain design trends. The photos below were provided by Promontory and are the best representation I have seen of the evolution of mountain design and architecture in the Park City real estate market. Check them out:

1. Contemporary Mountain Ranch

Contemporary Mountain Ranch

2. Frontier Modern

Frontier Modern Homes

3. Mountain Modern

Mountain Modern Homes

4. Mountain Industrial

Mountain Industrial

5. New Century Modern

New Century ModernWhich mountain design style is your favorite?

Capitol Reef National Park Bed & Breakfast Videos: Vote to Win!

Last week was a 4-day weekend for my kids. Many of you may know this as “UEA Weekend” if you live in Utah. This year, my daughter and I headed south to Torrey, Utah and Capitol Reef National Park. We stayed at the Torrey Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast, which is one of my listings. It took us 3.5 hours to reach the Torrey Pines Inn. From there, the park was just a few minutes away.

Please take a look at each of the 1-minute videos of our trip and vote for the video you like best here.  When you vote, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for a Park City dining gift certificate. In the videos, you’ll see Erika, the proprietor of the Torrey Pines Inn and her friendly co-hostess, Schatze. You’ll also see some incredible scenery and hikes. The trip to Torrey, UT is a quick one and highly recommended. Even though the town was full during the 4-day weekend, Whitney and I experienced a sense of solitude on most of the trails.

If you are planning to travel during the fall or winter, call ahead, as much of the town of Torrey shuts down during the shoulder season.

Video 1

Video 2

Vote on our Facebook page here.

virtual-tour

 

Deciding Whether to Remodel or Sell

Deciding whether to remodel or sellMy home was built in 2000, the year my 14-year old son was born. We have lived there since 2003. When I compare my house to many others I show and sell, I regularly come down with a case of house envy. I have learned that styles change about every 5 years and even a newer home can become dated in a hurry. When faced with this situation, how do you decide whether to remodel or sell? Here are some points to help with that very decision.

When to Remodel

This would include remodeling your own home or investing in a dated home and then remodeling.

  • When the location is difficult to duplicate. In my case, I have panoramic views of all 3 ski resorts and the Olympic Park and we back to open space.
  • When the floor plan makes sense. We love the vaulted ceilings and open floor plan of our home. Each child has their own bedroom and sink. They share a jack-and-jill bath.
  • When you like the neighborhood and the neighbors. I enjoy retreating to Jeremy Ranch after working in town all day. It’s also an easy commute to the airport for my husband, a frequent flyer. We have a great homeowners’ association and wonderful neighbors.
  • When the proposed remodeling upgrades make sense for the neighborhood. As a rule, you don’t want to have more money invested in your home than it would fetch if you suddenly needed to sell it and you don’t want to own the most expensive house in the neighborhood.

Over time, we have changed most of the light and plumbing fixtures, upgraded the countertops, replaced most of the carpet, replaced the kitchen appliances, and painted many of the rooms in our home. We also gutted our master bath and added an outdoor deck and fireplace.

When to Sell

This includes selling your home instead of remodeling or pass on purchasing a home that needs updating.

  • When the location doesn’t make sense. Maybe you live on a hillside but really want a yard; perhaps your home backs to Highway 80 and the noise bothers you; or you are located outside Park City School District and have a 4-year old. In these circumstances, it may not make sense to invest money into a location that you don’t love. No amount of remodeling is going to change the location.
  • When the amount of remodeling required will make the home too expensive for the neighborhood. If you need to move walls, the ceilings are low or the floor plan is too “choppy”, you are looking at big time expenses that could be difficult to recoup. If you are purchasing a home with deferred maintenance, get estimates to make sure the amount needed to bring the home up to snuff is in alignment with the purchase price.

I encourage my clients to buy homes that need cosmetic updates. These are usually the least expensive improvements that are sure to increase a home’s value. Examples include new flooring, paint, countertops, appliances, and light fixtures. These improvements also have the most visual impact and allow buyers to customize a home in accordance with their taste and lifestyle.

What are your thoughts or experiences with remodeling vs selling?

Best Places to Find Real Estate Agent Reviews

It’s easy to get lost online when searching for a real estate agent to represent you in the sale or purchase of a Park City home.  When doing a search for “Park City Utah real estate agent reviews” on Google, the following websites came up in the order displayed below.  How useful are these sites in finding an experienced agent who specializes in the Park City market? Read my comments on each.

Park City Real Estate Agent Reviews Case Study

Zillow.com

The entire first page of Zillow displayed agents who work for brokerages outside of the Park City area.  It wasn’t until I got to page 2 that I found 2 agents from my office who are big time Zillow advertisers.

zillow agent reviews

Yelp.com

I could not figure out the criteria used by Yelp to rank agents, but at least all the agents on page 1 were genuinely Park City agents.  One brokerage that has been out of business for several years was also featured, which makes me question how often information is updated.

yelp agent reviews

Angie’s List

I did not want to “join” Angie’s list so I can’t comment on the accuracy of its data.  All I know is that 16 Park City agents are on the list.

angies list real estate reviews

Better Business Bureau

This site was outdated, as it showed real estate groups that are no longer in practice.  I couldn’t find anything useful on this site related to reviews of Park City agents.

bbb real estate reviews

Realtor.com

When you search for a Park City realtor on realtor.com, you get an alphabetical list sorted by first name, A-Z.  The site offers a lot of information about the agent, including a tab for all his or her current listings, biography, open houses, and a “recommendations” button.  One would have to do quite a bit of digging to find an agent with a number of good reviews.  Agents whose first name starts with an “A” are at a serious advantage here.

realtor com agent reviews

Trulia

This site was really fascinating to me.  The agents are ranked in order of who has had the most listings posted on the Trulia site and “claimed” them via Trulia’s back end.  At least all the agents on the first page were truly Park City agents.

YP (Yellow Pages)

Mostly brokerages are listed.  There is a space where one can submit a review, but it looks like no one has reviewed any of the brokerages listed.  There was an opportunity to “claim” a business, but it doesn’t appear that any of the brokerages listed have taken that opportunity.

yp agent reviews

LinkedIn

Linkedin did not appear from the Google search, but many real estate agents have asked their clients to submit reviews on their LinkedIn pages.

linkedin-reviews

Conclusion

How useful are the reviews on these sites?  I have asked clients to review me on Zillow and they declined because Zillow requires them to provide their email address.  Let’s be honest.  Most of the recommendations on these online sites were made at the request of an agent.  The real estate agent reviews are not as “honest” or spontaneous as those you will see on sites such as tripadvisor.com or opentable.com.

What are your thoughts on agent reviews? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Park City Neighborhoods for Active Retirees

Welcome to Park City, where every neighborhood has a park, a selection of trail heads and beautiful views sun-up to sun-down. To put it simply, you can’t go wrong in choosing a neighborhood for retirement in PC. That said, there are some areas that will be more appealing to a retiree; like one with fewer schools, little or no commuter traffic and brimming with enjoyable amenities. Whether you are planning to retire in Park City on a full-time or part-time basis, you’re sure to love any neighborhood.

4 Favorite Park City Neighborhoods for Retirees

Deer Valley

deer-valleyIt’s hard to beat Deer Valley’s velvety smooth ski terrain. When Utah boasts “the best snow on earth” this is why. Gorgeous views and the tastiest, toastiest lodges in town, and that’s only in the winter. Deer Valley has some of the best and most varied bike and hiking trails, and an amphitheater that hosts world class concerts from the Symphony to Bluegrass (and everything in between). This is a peaceful mountain retreat where you will never get bored.

Sun Peak

sun-peak-park-citySun Peak is situated smack dab in the middle of everything. Canyons ski and golf resort is to your right, Willow Creek Park straight ahead and the Utah Olympic Park and all the shopping and restaurants of Kimball Junction off to your left. There is a gorgeous neighborhood hiking trail that meanders through the area and connects to an extensive trail system. The Sun Peak Community Center includes pool, tennis, and clubhouse.  Membership is included in HOA dues and is one of the best values in town!  Views of Snyderville Basin are out your door, and mountains of the Uinta National Forest are off in the distance to the east. You’re about equidistant to the quaint history of old town and the new bustle of Kimball Junction.

Old Town

901Main-MainSt-06Old Town living speaks to the adventurous foodie and the cultural curator. There are a lot of stairs and quarters can be a bit tight, but you are rewarded with the lively spunk and spirit of one of the West’s oldest silver towns. Wonderful restaurants and lively watering holes are situated throughout Old Town as are art galleries, coffee shops and a stunning museum. The local Egyptian Theater presents throughout the year, and you’ll enjoy a number of art, music and wine festivals. Walk to the Town Lift and you will be carried to the ski hill or hiking trail of your choice.

Newpark

kimball-junction-park-cityIf you’re interested in the newer side of Park City, check out Newpark, conveniently located at the Kimball Junction exit off of I-80. Whether you are more of a city person or need frequent airport access, this locale couldn’t be more convenient. There are various town home and condominium complexes where you can avoid mowing the grass and plowing the driveway and simply focus on enjoying your retirement. Nature lovers can mosey over to the Swaner Nature Center or hop on the McCloud Creek Trail in any season. There are also a variety of coffee shops, grocery stores and other amenities within walking distance. Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery is a local favorite.

These are just four of the incredible neighborhoods Park City has to offer. Whether you play tennis competitively or throwing the tennis ball to the dog is more your speed, Park City is a wonderful community awaiting you in your retirement.

How Accurate are the Park City, UT Zestimates?

Are Park City Zestimates Accurate
Zestimates are the estimate of a home’s value on the website Zillow.com. They are sometimes used by real estate clients to discuss the list price or initial offer on a home. A couple of weeks ago, a client called and told me the Zestimate of her home was $1.2 million. Was it time to sell? My estimate of the market value was closer to $900,000. This got me thinking about Zestimates and segued nicely into this week’s blog post.

How Accurate are Zestimates in the Park City Market?

To answer this question, I decided to do a small case study. I chose 6 single family homes that closed within the last 7 days. The closed price is the market value because that is what a buyer actually paid for the home. Each home I chose for my study is in a different Park City neighborhood. I compared the list price, sold price and Zestimate.

The Comparison

Old Town Neighborhood
List price: $2,195,000
Sold price: $2,110,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 41.3%

505 Park Ave Zestimate

Bear Hollow Neighborhood
List price:  $565,000
Sold price:  $560,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 98.7%

5652 N Kodiak Way Zestimate

Willow Creek Estates Neighborhood
List price: $3,495,000
Sold price:  $3,250,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 120%

1100 Old Rail Lane Zestimate

Summit Park Neighborhood

List price:  $599,000
Sold price:  $600,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 100%

470 Parkview Drive Zestimate

Jeremy Ranch Neighborhood
List price:  $715,000
Sold price:  $715,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 94.8%

3078 Creek Road Zestimate

Promontory Neighborhood
List price:  $2,695,000
Sold price:  $2,510,000
Zestimate Accuracy: 104%

8414 N Sunrise Loop Zestimate

Conclusion

In one case, the Zestimate was close to 100% accuracy of market value. In another case it was off by more than 40%. Even a 4% margin of error on the Promontory listing equates to a difference of over $100,000. To me, that’s not acceptable.

Furthermore, since Utah is a non-disclosure state (meaning sold prices are not accessible to the public), I do not know how Zillow obtains the data to figure out its “Zestimates”.

My conclusion is that property valuations are best left in the hands of real estate professionals. Park City real estate agents have access to the relevant data and the market knowledge to assess the qualities that go into a valuation, including floor plan, finishes, and condition.

5 Park City Real Estate FAQs

As the Park City Real Estate Strategist, I often get questions about price trends, down payments, and more. Here are my answers to some common questions about the Park City Real Estate Market.

  1. What is the current trend in single family home prices?

The median price in Park City has been stable for the past 12 months, but is up about 10% since 2012.  Nationally, home prices increased about 10% according Case Shiller and 5.9% according to FHFA.  The Park City market is highly segmented.  Some neighborhoods have seen over 10-15% increases in pricing over the past year and others have bloated inventories and are buyers’ markets.

  1. Can I purchase a home or condominium with less than 20% down payment?

There are some great programs available for home buyers who want to take advantage of today’s attractive pricing and rates.  FHA programs are available for owner occupied homes.  They require just 3.5% down but have a mortgage insurance requirement.  Programs where the borrower puts 5-10% down and obtains a 10-15% supplemental loan are a great alternative as well.  With rates still below 4.5%, taking on a bit more debt does not substantially increase the monthly payment.

  1. Do I need a REALTOR© when I can easily find houses online?

Finding houses does not require much expertise.  Understanding a property’s value relative to recent sales requires greater skill.  Where a REALTOR© really provides value is in negotiating and managing the transaction.  This is where buyers can lose money and make expensive mistakes.  I have been involved with over 20 property sales in 2014 and was involved with 24 in 2013.  I leverage my knowledge and experience to help my clients negotiate the best possible price and terms and prevent them from losing earnest money and making other expensive mistakes. Read our recent article on the Park City Board of Realtors.

  1. Is buying a home still a good investment or does it make sense to rent?

If you are not planning to stay in the same home for 2 years, it could make sense to rent.  Otherwise, every study that compares the net worth of renters vs owners shows that home ownership is still the best way to build wealth in the United States.  In fact, a new study by the Federal Reserve shows that a homeowner’s net worth is over 30 times greater than that of a renter. The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500, while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100.

  1. Will housing costs rise in 2015?

Lawrence Yun, with the National Association of REALTORS©, predicts mortgage interest rates will gradually rise from an average fixed rate of 4.7% in 2014 to 5.5% in 2015.  (Remember, a 1% increase in interest rates has the same payment effect as a 10% increase in purchase price).

Housing economists predict that the increase in housing prices will be slower in 2015 than 2014.  The reason for this slowdown is that home prices are approaching fair market value and there is a predicted increase in inventory due to new construction becoming available.  Experts predict an increase nationally of 3-5.7%.  So the answer is yes.  Housing will become more expensive next year.

Park-City-MooseAnd here’s a cute photo of a moose I took recently. Life in Park City is great. Whether you are currently renting, looking to upgrade, or trying to follow a dream of investing in Park City, let me help. Do you have a real estate question I can answer? Drop me a line at nancytallman@gmail.com.