Confessions from my Road Trip to Vail & Breckenridge

Last week, about a dozen agents and our Summit Sotheby’s International Realty broker took a road trip to visit our sister offices, LIV Sotheby’s in Vail & Breckenridge Colorado. We met the top agents from each branch, and, if after reading this blog you are still interested in investing in Colorado, I can refer you to some great agents in both locations.

First Stop: Beaver Creek

My first confession is that traveling to Colorado reinforced my passion and gratitude for living in Park City.

Charter at Beaver CreekThe Beaver Creek Valley was purchased by Vail Associates in 1974. Vail developed Beaver Creek Resort with the goal of creating a world class ski and golf resort which included the style, comfort and social ambiance of the great European mountain villages. The Charter at Beaver Creek, pictured to the left, served as our home base. This condo-hotel is just a few minutes walk to the Beaver Creek Village, which we spent some time exploring. We toured the Beaver Creek Club, where we learned that 12% of their members are over the age of 80! The elevation at Beaver Creek is 8,100 feet, while the base of Park City Mountain Resort is 6,900 feet. The distance to Denver International Airport (DIA) is about 3 hours across Highway 70. Beaver Creek opened in 1980, the same year as Deer Valley. The stunning Vilar Performing Arts Center, which opened in 1988, anchors the Beaver Creek Village. This 535-seat theater, owned and operated by the Vail Valley Foundation, offers entertainment strikingly similar to that offered in Park City at both the Eccles Theater, which seats 1,269, and the Egyptian Theater on Main Street, which seats 310.

Neighboring Bachelor Gulch was established in 1996. Located on Beaver Creek Mountain, 85% of the homes in Bachelor Gulch have ski in and out access. The architecture at Bachelor Gulch is reminiscent of the great lodges in the United States’ National Parks. The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch was built in 2006 and remodeled in 2014. It was voted “Best Ski Hotel in the World” in 2013. Many of my colleagues felt it comparable to Park City’s Montage Hotel. We looked at a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo that was 1392 sq feet and priced at $1,299,000. At $934/sq foot, this condo is a great deal. True confession: This is for people who want to spend their ski vacation in one place where everything is self contained. It’s not very close to anything else.

From Bachelor Gulch, we toured Cordillera Resort Community. This 7,000 acre community, founded in 1988, is designed with 1,000 homesites and 4 golf courses. The Summit golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is located at 9,000 feet elevation, making its season rather short. Cordillera Resort includes amenities such as equestrian, swimming pools, Nordic ski trails, tennis, fitness, and a kids’ club. There is also fishing at several stocked ponds and Eagle River. I found myself comparing Cordillera to Promontory-The Ranch Club in Park City. We looked at two homes at Cordillera. Both were priced at $450/sq foot, which is comparable to Promontory. True confession: Cordillera is forested and green, with pine trees, meadows and ponds.  It’s quite beautiful.

Next Stop: Vail Village

Solaris at VailFounded in 1962, one year before Park City Mountain Resort, Vail is one of the world’s largest ski resorts with 5,200 acres of the most groomed terrain in the world. At 8,150 feet elevation and 2.5 hours from DIA, Vail prides itself on providing its guests with an exceptional ski experience. Vail is accessed by 3 base areas: Lionshead, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. There are festivals, shops, spas, etc. in the village. We got to see the penthouse for sale at Solaris at Vail, a newer condominium project at Vail Village. Listed at $15,500,000, this 6 bedroom, 7 bath penthouse boasts soaring ski run views.

We traveled to a nearby twin home on the golf course that was listed at $5,950,000. When asked why prices were so high, we were told “It’s Vail.” True confession: “It’s Vail? So?”

Next Stop: LIV Sotheby’s Office at Breckenridge

Breckenridge LIV Sothebys

A former gold mining town, Breckenridge was founded about the same time as Park City and shares many similarities, except for its elevation. The base of Breckenridge is 9,600 feet elevation. (Remember Park City is 6,900). Breckenridge is only 80 miles from metro Denver, but it’s still over a 2-hour drive from DIA.Breckenridge Ski In Ski Out Home

We had the pleasure of hopping on the gondola to tour ski in/out homes and some condos at the resort base. Home and condo prices in Breckenridge seemed pretty reasonable compared to Park City. Look at the view from this gorgeous home that was a short walk from the gondola.

This home, priced at under $2 million was just a few years old and featured an oxygenation system in all the bedrooms (really). The altitude at Breckenridge is no joke. Most of us on the tour began to feel light headed after an hour or so at the base, even though we were all sipping from our water bottles. The summer day we spent there was spectacular. The town is charming and I wish we could have explored a little more before we had to drive back to Park City. True Confession: If Breckenridge were closer to a major airport and about 3,000 feet lower in altitude, it could really give Park City a run for its money.

It was a highly educational road trip. We really appreciate the hospitality shown to us by the LIV Sotheby’s agents who showed us their listings and oriented us to their communities. Colorado is green, lush and beautiful. The agents were all very experienced working with Vail Resorts and predicted changes ahead in Park City, now that Vail Resorts has its sights on Park City Mountain Resort.

Need a Colorado referral? Please let me know and I’ll put you in touch with an agent who best meets your needs.

Properties on the Newly Opened Canyons Golf Course

Canyons Golf Course 10th Hole
Teeing off at the 10th hole of the newly minted Canyons Golf Course.

Hold onto your clubs. Park City’s newest golf course is now open! The long awaited Canyons Golf Course is not just an urban legend, it is a dramatic addition to the local landscape. The course boasts 97 acres winding through the Canyons Resort. There is a whopping 550 feet of elevation change featuring mountain views and gorgeous valley insights. This is an 18 hole, par 70 course and was designed by the well-known course architects Gene and Casey Bates.

Are you a golf fan who thinks this might be a nice place to call home? Fortunately, there is a wide variety of residential and rental property options all around the course.

10 Properties on or Near the Canyons Golf Course

Canyons Golf Course Map

Vintage on the Strand

Ski in/ski out homes on the slopes of the Canyons. Each features a private hot tub and golf course views. With four bedrooms and four and a half baths, there is plenty of room for everyone and no shortage of amenities!

Hyatt Escala Lodges

A luxury resort that features guest rooms as well as residential suites, the Hyatt is situated in the heart of the Canyons Resort. With a year-round heated pool and wi-fi, you can stay tuned in even while you are tuning out.

Hilton Grand Vacation Club

Named a “Park City Gem” on Trip Advisor, the accommodations at the Hilton are top notch. Enjoy the activities in the Canyons Village or take the free shuttle into town and experience art galleries and world-renowned restaurants.

Hidden Creek

A few minutes down the hill from the Canyons Resort Village is a condominium community called Hidden Creek. It is more quiet without the bustle of the larger hotels, yet still closely located to golf and skiing. There is an outdoor pool in the summer and a year-round hot tub.

Sundial Lodge

The Sundial is a great place for families or people vacationing with children. A lodge with guest rooms and suites, the Sundial features gas powered fireplaces in each unit. There is underground parking, the front desk is open 24 hours and there is a on-site daycare center. 

The Miners Club

The Miners Club was designed to feel like a country home in the mountains. All residences feature fireplace, a fully stocked kitchen and a balcony with beautiful views. Located on the 8th fairway of the golf course, you couldn’t be closer to the green.

Juniper Landing

A growing townhome community located between the 9th and 10th fairways of the golf course. Juniper Landing is deluxe homes built with high efficiency materials. There is an outdoor pool year-round as well as a fitness center with sauna and steam room.

Waldorf Astoria

The Waldorf Astoria invites you to “relax and play in style”. If you are looking for outdoor recreation or indoor pampering like spa treatments, beauty salons, fitness classes and personal trainers, you have found it here. Located on the 11th fairway of the golf course, you can also find heated gondolas to the resort in the winter.

Fairway Springs

A luxury townhome community located on the 7th fairway of the golf course, Fairway Springs is perfect as a primary or secondary residence, or even a vacation get-away. With four bedrooms and three and a half baths, there is ample space for everyone to relax and enjoy the stunning views.

Red Pine

The Red Pine condominiums and townhomes are next to the base of the Canyons Resort with some looking onto the 13th fairway. The complex boasts a great clubhouse with an outdoor swimming pool, sauna, two hot tubs and four tennis courts.

Whether you call Park City home for a season or just for one night, there is a wonderfully appointed retreat for everyone just steps from the Canyons Golf Course. Prices for whole ownership condominiums at the Canyons start at just $200,000.  Please call me if you are interested in more information about properties located at the Canyons.

What’s New at Red Ledges, Utah?

Red Ledges Timp View

Have you been to Red Ledges? I had not been out there since winter and I wanted to check out their new 14,000 square foot clubhouse. I heard Utah Governor Gary Herbert presided over the recent grand opening of the new Clubhouse. Here is a photo of the Clubhouse I snapped with my iPhone. (All the photos on this blog were taken with my iPhone).

Dining at the New Clubhouse

What is Red Ledges?

Red Ledges is a premier private recreational mountain community in Heber Valley, Utah, featuring:

  • an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course
  • the Jim McLean Golf School
  • the Cliff Drysdale Tennis School
  • an extensive equestrian program
  • a swim and fitness club
  • two private member ski lounges in Deer Valley

Spanning nearly 2,000 acres in Utah’s Wasatch mountain range, Red Ledges offers 1,200 estate homesites and thoughtfully designed homes with dramatic views of the unique red rock formations and surrounding Rocky Mountain peaks. Red Ledges is co-owned by managing owner, M. Anthony Burns, chairman emeritus of the board of directors of Ryder System, Inc., and Nolan D. Archibald, Executive Chairman of Stanley Black & Decker. Their office is located on Center Street in Heber City. I clocked 15 miles from Red Ledges to my office at Sotheby’s on Park Avenue, in the heart of Park City.

Red Ledges is a nice alternative from the other Park City area golf/country clubs. About 80% of the 75 existing homes are second homes. The community is growing rapidly, with another 45 homes in design review and 25 more in the planning stages. The vibe at Red Ledges is low key. Homesites range in price from $195,000-$800,000, with a few spectacular sites topping $1 million. Owners hail from all over the country, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Orlando and of course Park City!

New Communities Within Red Ledges

Club Cabins

Red Ledges has a couple of new communities that interest me. The first is the Club Cabins. These may be purchased fully furnished and start at just $795,000. They are walking distance to the Golf Clubhouse, which will be developed next year. I like the distinctive red rock featured on the exterior. The interior of the Club Cabin I viewed was gorgeous, with high-end finishes and wonderful views of the famous Red Ledges the community was named for.

Juniper Hills

Another neighborhood of interest is Juniper Hills. This neighborhood features architect Michael Upwall’s signature mountain contemporary designs, with open floor plans and walls of windows. These homes range in size from 3,500 to 5,500 square feet and feature panoramic views.

Red Ledges has very reasonable golf membership deposits and dues. And, because its elevation is lower than Park City, golfers can usually squeeze in a 6-month season.

If you would like to learn more about Red Ledges, please contact me and I’ll be delighted to show you around—with the help of my trusted Red Ledges contact, Will Ott. Will represents the developer and I represent my client’s interests. Red Ledges is a solid community that should not be overlooked!

Top 15 Summer Activities in Park City

Summer Activities in Park CityDuring the summer, there is so much to do in Park City, it’s great that the sunset holds off until after 9pm. In the blink of an eye, your social dance card will be full. The savvy Parkite thinks strategically, best to map out your activities in order to adequately budget precious resources, like time and energy.   Before you know it, you’ll be shoulders deep in wildflowers on the side of Iron Mountain thinking, why didn’t I charge my camera?

  1. Farmer’s Market: June 3 to October 28

    The ONLY place to buy tomatoes, farmers come from around the state to sell their goods. There’s also live music, delicious limeade and samples-a-plenty of Volker’s famous bread. Inside Park City Real Estate is a proud sponsor of the Wednesday Farmer’s Market.

  2. Fox School of Wine Weekend Wine Series: June 6 to September 5

    Wine classes run every Saturday from 6pm-7pm. Test the knowledge of local legend Mistress Fox and learn all kinds of helpful tasting tips having to do with wine. A perfect pre-dinner event. Reservations are recommended.

  3. Park Silly Sunday Market: June 7 to September 27

    If you missed the farmer’s market, some farmers will return to Sunday’s event on Main Street. Voted one of the top 50 Farmers Markets in the country by Cooking Light Magazine, the “Silly Market” features food, local libations, children’s activities, and promotes environmental sustainability.

  4. Savor the Summit: June 20

    Known as Park City’s largest outdoor dinner party, Savor the Summit reservations are almost sold out. Besides the delicious food and atmosphere, it’s worth seeing the giant table set up down the middle of Main St.

  5. Flying Ace All-Stars Freestyle: June 28 to September 6

    Every summer weekend (except July 4th) a choreographed spectacle of Olympians and professional skiers and snowboarders launch through the air up to 60 feet before landing in a pool below. Fun for all ages, this is a show not to be missed!

  6. Sundance Outdoor Film Screenings: July 1, 10, 31 and August 15

    Bring your own popcorn and bundle up. Sundance Institute present four outdoor films in City Park starting at dusk/9pm, all free of charge. Check the website for details; this is one of the sweetest treats of summer.

  7. Park City 4th of July Parade & Celebration: July 4

    The 4th of July festivities include a 5k fun run, a pancake breakfast, rugby tournament, parade, free concert, fireworks and kids’ activities. Plan your parade viewing early as the route is absolutely packed each and every year.

  8. Park City Food and Wine Classic: July 8 to 12

    One of the classic summer activities in Park City, master winemakers and culinary greats educate and illuminate attendees who choose to wine, dine and play in and around Park City.

  9. Cole Sport Back Alley Bash and KPCW’s 35th Birthday Party: July 24

    A local’s event that is open to everybody, the annual Back Alley Bash has been around for decades. Hang around the town lift plaza and enjoy live music, BBQ, and celebrating the 35th Birthday of the local radio station.

  10. Park City Kimball Arts Festival: July 31 to August 2

    This year marks the 46th annual Park City Arts Festival, a juried art show that welcomes artists from around the country. The three-day festival supports the diverse programming of the Kimball Art Center.

  11. Tour of Utah: August 3 to 9

    Whether you are a seasoned cyclist or you just like to see the pack of bikes zoom past, there is no shortage of excitement and drama in this week-long race that goes throughout Northern Utah. Park City is the start and finish venue for the final stage of the race – stage 7 – on August 9th.

  12. Mountain Town Music: All Summer Long

    Throughout Park City and the surrounding areas, Mountain Town Music presents an incredible number of live music shows a week, mostly free and open to the public. Check their website for a complete lineup.

  13. Best Local Hike

    With so many miles of trail in Park City, it’s tough to choose a favorite. But we’ll tell you what we’re into lately. Early and late season when it’s not so hot and dusty, the PC Hill is a classic. Somewhat steep, a fair distance but not too far, and incredible views of the whole town. Mid-summer, we like the shade of Armstrong, cutting it off at the brand new Dawn’s trail for a 3.3 mile loop back to Silver Star for lunch. The best part is that bikers are only allowed uphill on Armstrong and not at all on Dawn’s, so you won’t get bombarded.

  14. Best Mountain Bike Ride

    Early season, we really like the Prospector Area trails. Enough of a hill to get some cardio, enough trees to get some shade, but low enough to dry out early on. Later in the season, we have to stick with the Park City classic: Mid Mountain Trail has many entrance and exit points for a plethora of loop options based on your group’s time and skills.

  15. SUP on the Jordanelle

    The reservoir is so peaceful in the morning, before the wind and boating action picks up. Try picking up a paddle and a stand up paddle board. It’s one of the fastest growing outdoor activities, and for good reason. Incredible views await you and deer look on with envy, munching grass.

There you have them: our top 15 Park City activities that will keep you busy this summer. Be prepared with plenty of time and sunscreen and get ready to enjoy one of the best seasons of the year!

Consumer Advocate’s Guide to Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

The Right Real Estate Agent
I just read one of the best articles about how to find the right real estate agent. I could have written this article myself, but I think it’s more credible because it comes from consumer advocate David Horowitz. The entire article can be found here.

If you don’t have time to read the entire article, these are some of my favorite tips. I bolded the juicy parts. These are relevant for Park City real estate as well as other areas.

On Getting the Right Real Estate Agent

1. Find someone reputable.

2. Negotiation skills. The agent’s job is to close a sale, and that means you want someone who is detail oriented and a skilled negotiator.

3. Online home valuations. Sellers may look at the valuation of their home online and have falsely inflated or low expectations about pricing. No online algorithm alone can determine accurate pricing for your home. It is imperative for a licensed real estate agent to give you a pricing opinion.

4. Online ads. Agents pay to place ads on real estate sites. Usually they are offered ad placement in the geographical areas in which they work most. Ads are sold according to ZIP code. However, any agent can buy an ad in any area. Do not choose an agent based solely on these ads. Research an agent further.

5. For sale by owner. You may think selling your home yourself (by owner) is a smart way to save a few bucks. But think twice about this because these transactions are very complex.

Why A Skilled Agent Matters

Any number of bumps in the road can occur during (or before) escrow. Title issues, appraisals, physical concerns with a home, necessary repairs, loan issues and countless other unforeseen items could potentially blow a deal if they are not handled in a skillful way.

A licensed agent who works for a reputable brokerage will ensure your interests are protected before, during and after the sale of your home. Plus, real estate agents have access to marketing tips; premier ad placement; relationships with vendors, inspectors, escrow and title agents; and many more resources that could aid you in getting the right and best price for your house and ensure the process is a graceful one for all parties.

Are there any other tips you would add to finding the right real estate agent?

Is Park City a Buyer’s Market or a Seller’s Market?

Park City Real Estate AbsorptionThe above graph (reflecting condominiums & single family homes in the Park City and Jordanelle neighborhoods) was prepared by Rick Klein of Wells Fargo Private Mortgage for the Park City Board of Realtors. As you can see, inventory continues to trend downward. In general

  • Under 5 months inventory is considered a “Seller’s Market”
  • 5-7 months of inventory is considered a “Stable Market”
  • Over 7 months of inventory is considered a “Buyer’s Market”

Park City was a “Buyer’s Market” for over 6 years. Starting early last year, that began to change. It is important to note that Park City is comprised of several micro markets and these micro markets can and do shift rather dramatically.

Neighborhood Differences

For example, a year ago, Old Town was a “Seller’s Market”. Today, the inventory is bloated, with 41 homes for sale and only 9 closings in the last 90 days. At this rate (3 sales/month), there is over a 13-month inventory of homes in Old Town.

But let’s look a little closer. Of those 41 active homes, only 6 are priced under $1 million. Of the 9 closings in the past 90 days, 4 were priced at under $1 million. So, we can say the Old Town market priced at under $1 million is a “Seller’s Market” with only 4.5 months of inventory, while single family homes priced over $1 million are a “Buyer’s Market”.

3195 Daybreaker Drive
New listing at 3195 Daybreaker Drive

Park Meadows is another “Seller’s Market”. There are currently 21 homes for sale, with 18 closed in the past 90 days, making the inventory in Park Meadows just over 3 months.

Jeremy Ranch is a “Stable” or “Balanced Market”. There are currently 26 homes on the market with 14 that closed in the past 90 days. At a rate of 4.6 sales/month, the Jeremy Ranch inventory is about 5-6 months.

Get the Absorption Rate of Any Neighborhood

If you are considering buying or selling a home in Park City, the Absorption Rate for the targeted neighborhood and price point is important. Sellers can be more aggressive on list price in a “Seller’s Market” and buyers need to act quickly. On the other hand, in a “Buyer’s Market”, sellers need to price competitively while buyers have more choices and opportunities to negotiate.

Leave a comment or contact me if you are curious about the inventory in your neighborhood.

National Real Estate Trends vs. Park City Trends

NAR Midyear Conference in D.C.

I had the fortune of attending the National Association of REALTOR’s (NAR) Midyear conference in Washington, DC last week. This always involves a presentation by Lawrence Yun, PhD, the Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for NAR. It’s always interesting for me to compare the national real estate trends with what we are experiencing with Park City real estate. Here are some highlights from his presentation, with added comments as they relate to Park City.

Median Home Prices

National Trend: Median home prices are accelerating. Dr. Yun had predicted prices would rise 4% in 2014, but prices actually rose 8%. He attributes the large price increase to lack of inventory.

Park City Trend: In Park City limits (84060), the median single family sale price rose 7% year over year from 4/1/14 to 4/1/15, while the Snyderville Basin (84098) median price rose 13%.

Mortgage Rates

National Trend: Mortgage rates are predicted to rise to 6% in 2017. Higher rates combined with lower inventory are going to have a dramatic impact on housing affordability.

Park City Trend: In Park City, many first time homebuyers are forced into condominiums due to the current lack of affordable single family homes. This trend will continue. If you are thinking of selling your home, you will be able to obtain a higher sale price when interest rates are lower.


National Trend: There is huge pent up demand. Home sales were flat in 2014, but the population has increased dramatically. Where are all of these people living? They are living at home! They need good jobs and affordable homes to become first time homebuyers.

Park City Trend: In Park City, there is a 10-year wait list for the affordable housing at the new Park City Heights project. Utah is the number one state for job creation creating a greater housing demand. Yeah, Utah! We are seeing new companies relocate to Park City and we continue to be a “bedroom community” to the Salt Lake Valley. We expect demand for Park City real estate to continue to increase.

Length of Ownership

National Trend: People are staying in their homes longer. The average is 10 years vs. the historic 6 years. Dr Yun thinks that those with excellent mortgages are reluctant to give them up; some sellers think their house is worth more than the current market value and they are “waiting” for values to increase.

Rental Properties

National Trend: Rent prices are at a 7-year high.

Park City Trend: It’s a great time to buy a rental property in Park City. We are seeing low rental inventory in addition to fewer properties for sale.

Home Ownership Rates

National Trend: Home ownership is at its lowest rate in 25 years and the difference in net worth between renters and owners is enormous and growing.

Takeaway: If you are not a homeowner, you should think very seriously about becoming one!

Rob Bishop
Lobbying Park City Representative Rob Bishop about the importance of maintaining Section 1031 Exchanges
Representative Mia Love
Myself, Hong McDonald and Mark Jacobson (Park City REALTORS) with Representative Mia Love