Home sales are trending downward in Jackson, but prices in the nation’s wealthiest county continue to climb, according to the Jackson Hole Realtor Viehman Group’s latest quarterly report on Jackson real estate.
Sales have dropped 31% to 67 in the first quarter of 2023, the report says. The last time there were fewer than 100 sales in the valley was in 2010 — right after the Great Recession.
At that time, single-family homes in Jackson were selling for a mere $2.24 million on average, rather than the $5 or so million they sell for today.
Roughly 68% of first-quarter transactions were cash. No loans involved.
Single-family dwellings set a new record in 2022 for average sales price in Jackson, according to the Viehman Group’s annual report, hitting the $5 million mark. For comparison, the average sale price in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic was $2.6 million.
Prices Will Continue To Rise
Buyers can expect home prices to continue rising in the Jackson Hole region, Devon Viehman told Cowboy State Daily.
Jackson has the second lowest inventory in 40 years. Condos and vacant land inventory, meanwhile, are at their third lowest in 40 years, and there’s no new home construction in sight.
“Ninety-seven percent of our land is public land,” Viehman said. “And then another 1.5% is already in conservation easements. So, we are left with 1.5% of our total county that can be residential or commercial real estate, and it’s nearly all built out.
“We are just running out of room here, and with no new big developments on the horizon, there just aren’t many properties for people to choose from.”
Viehman expects demand to keep prices high for property in Jackson Hole and surrounding areas for the foreseeable future.
“People still want to come live here,” she said. “And that’s going to continue fueling our prices.”
A Plateau Before The Next Leap?
While sales, and to some degree prices, have leveled off, Viehman said she believes that’s largely due to fewer homes being listed now.
“It’s not because there’s any fewer buyers,” she said. “There’s just fewer people putting their properties on the market.”
Roughly 32% of sales, meanwhile, were never listed online at all, so never came fully to the marketplace.
“If you are a buyer in this market, you cannot rely on looking online,” she said. “The days are gone when you could wait for something to come up on the MLS and then call a Realtor. It needs to be the other way around.”
These other sales are happening between real estate offices, Viehman said, as a result of Realtors knowing each other and helping each other connect buyers with homes.
“Those are the ones that are often priced the best, too,” Viehman said. “So if you have the ability to be a buyer in this market, you need to get with a realtor you trust to look for those off-market properties.”
Prices Are On A Plateau But For How Long?
Prices have entered something of a level period right now, Viehman said, adding she doesn’t believe that will last long.
“There’s a very small window of opportunity right now where sellers are willing to negotiate,” she said. “They’re wiling to fix inspection repair items.”
During the pandemic, sellers weren’t willing to fix anything or back off their prices, Viehman added.
“Buyers have been kind of waiting since last fall to see what’s going to happen with the market or whether the price is going to come down,” she said. “We’re seeing sellers holding firm. Buyers aren’t going to see this big discount that I think a lot of them were hoping for.”
In fact, Viehman believes once summer starts, the market will start to crank once again. Prices will climb off this plateau, headed for new heights.
“It’s already picking up in other markets around us like Bozeman,” she said. “They’re already back to crazy high prices and multiple offers again. So I think it’s coming.”
Special Places Attract Wealth
Jackson Hole is not the only area in Wyoming, or even the nation, that has become a wealth magnet.
Now that people are able to cut the physical tie to a place of work and tend to business interests remotely, they can choose to live where they love to play.
That has billionaires pushing out millionaires in Teton County at an accelerating pace, according to a detailed analysis by Jackson City Councilman Jonathan Schechter. Those millionaires, meanwhile, are pushing people out of the areas all around Jackson Hole and Teton County.
In fact, Schechter’s analysis shows that all of the counties in Wyoming are showing at least some in-migration by those of higher means than existing residents.
“Jackson is the gateway drug to Wyoming,” Schechter has told Cowboy State Daily.
As people realize they cannot afford to live near their tourist destination of choice, they figure they can live somewhere nearby within driving distance. That’s creating a spill-over effect that Schechter believes has contributed to skyrocketing property tax rates across the Cowboy State.
"Four years in office have made it clear to me that the forces sweeping over Jackson Hole, the Tetons region and similar lifestyle areas are so powerful — the money is so large, and is moving with such velocity and strength — that local government can't adequately address them," he says in his report.