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Only Two Homes In Jackson Under $1 Million; Real Estate Prices Doubled In Last 18 Months

in Housing/News

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

Real estate prices have more than doubled in Teton County in the past 18 months and properties selling for less than $1 million are increasingly rare in the county’s limited housing inventory, according to a report by a Jackson real estate company.

Prugh Real Estate, in a report on real estate conditions in the first quarter of the year, said of the county’s 39 active residential listings, only two have an asking price of less than $1 million. The next least expensive 13 properties are on the market for from $1 million to $3 million. 

The residential property with the highest sale price currently on the market tops the $19 million mark.

In his 20 years of selling, Greg Prugh, broker and owner of Prugh Real Estate, said this is the lowest inventory he’s seen at such high prices.

Where last year a three-bedroom condo in Jackson sold for $775,000, the same property today was just sold for $1.5 million, Prugh said. His own house in downtown Jackson has more than quadrupled in value in the eight years since it was built.

The housing shortage is not a new situation, Prugh said, but the current shortage exacerbates a growing problem in supply and demand identified by a new Teton Region Housing Needs Assessment. 

The assessment, which looked into the housing needs of Teton County and surrounding communities of Teton County, Idaho and northern Lincoln County, identified an estimated need for about 5,300 new affordable housing units to address anticipated demand through 2027.

Despite a handful of new housing projects, the community is nowhere close to meeting that demand.

“We’ve always had a housing problem,” Prugh said, “but it’s more acute today.”

Influx of Out-of-State Buyers

Prugh said a dramatic increase in the housing sales occurred in March 2020 when panic buyers – mostly from other states such as California, New York, Texas and Florida – began gobbling up properties, buying at a much faster pace than had been seen before.

According to the input from local realtors included in the March housing assessment, many of these properties were purchased as second homes or “safe havens” to ride out the pandemic as work-from-home policies made it possible to live and work anywhere.

The influx of out-of-state buyers far outpaced local buyers, according to the report.

By the same token, locals took advantage of market dynamics and sold their local properties to purchase homes on the Idaho side of Tetonn Pass, many paying for these homes in cash.

However, rising home prices in Teton County predate the pandemic and can be traced back to 2015.

On average, housing prices have been rising by 16% per year since 2015 for single-family homes and 9% per year for attached condominiums and townhomes.

A more significant leap was seen in more recent years.

Between 2019 to 2020, the price for a median single-family home has jumped 44% — 27% for condominiums and townhomes, the report said.

In the first 10 months of 2021, the median sale price of a condo or townhome was $422,000 while the price for a single-family home averaged around $750,000.

The prices, combined with limited supply, have made purchasing a home below $1 million nearly impossible for many locals in Teton County and surrounding areas.

Changing Dynamic

Prugh said he is conflicted about the current market. While he and his firm have profited from 30 deals in the first quarter, he said it’s a bittersweet situation.

“We are happy, but we don’t know what the second quarter looks like,” he said. “It’s like eating all your Halloween candy in one setting. It tastes sweet and good but you’re going to get a stomach ache immediately following.”

Part of his discomfort is knowing that every sale drives someone else out of the valley where he was born and raised.

“I worry about the service providers, the guy who changes your tire and the nurse with a family whose rent just went from $3,000 to $5,000 a month,” Prugh said. “We have to protect our local population.”

The current housing shortage implies a larger problem in the future — what happens to Jackson when all the locals have been pushed out and the town no longer has restaurants, coffee shops and local businesses because service workers cannot afford to live in Jackson. It’s not good for the locals or tourists, Prugh said.

“You have to worry that Jackson becomes a cruise ship in the future,” he said. “People come to Jackson because they want to meet locals. They don’t go to meet other tourists. They are coming to experience Jackson and the community. We need both the working and leisure class.”

Over 200 Lander Citizens Turn Out For Zoning Discussion

in News

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By Bill Sniffin, Publisher, Cowboy State Daily

Some 225 Lander citizens jammed the town’s community center to comment on a proposal to change zoning in the community to allow for more short-term rentals.

Because of the widespread interest in the changes proposed by the Lander Planning Commission, the town council moved its working session on the changes from Lander’s Town Hall to its community center to provide more space for attendees.

The commission is proposing a change to zoning rules to increase the town’s housing density and allow the short-term rental of properties in all areas of the community.

The zoning changes are seen as a way to provide housing for low income residents. Based on applause for those offering comments during the session, it appeared most were against the proposed changes.

Most attendees observed social distancing guidelines and and wore masks.

The building normally holds over 1,000 people for certain events.

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Cheyenne’s housing market is heating up

in Economic development/News/Community

Affordable housing costs, a lack of inventory and Wyoming’s tax structure are contributing to create a seller’s market for Cheyenne homes, according to members of the city’s real estate and lending industries.

Figures show that single family homes with an acre or more of land priced between $450,000 and $500,000 are selling after just a little more than a month on the market and for an average of 99.3 percent of the asking price. A single family home in town with a price tag of $350,000 to $400,000 is selling for just a little more than the asking price after being on the market for less than two months.

Buck Wilson, president of the Cheyenne Board of Realtors, said the prices for homes in Cheyenne make them very attractive to out-of-state buyers.

“I believe there’s some opportunities for them to still find affordable housing compared to what they’re seeing in Fort Collins or anywhere south …” he said. “When you have a median house price of a home in town of $246,000, that’s affordable. Those people in Colorado go ‘I want to buy one all day long.’”

Wilson, of No. 1 Properties, and Larry Gardner of ReMax both pointed to the lack of inventory in Cheyenne as one reason for the market conditions. In 2009, there were 750 active listings in Cheyenne’s market, a number that has dropped to 250.

Wyoming’s lack of state income taxes and its conservative political climate also make Cheyenne attractive to buyers, Gardner said.

“They don’t want anybody telling them what to do with their guns, with their property,” he said. “A lot of people are looking for properties that don’t have (homeowners associations) or covenants, which is very hard any more.”

Mike Williams, manager of Jonah Bank’s Cheyenne branch, said the city is not facing a housing bubble, but some action might have to be taken to keep housing affordable.

“People are really, legitimately looking for places to live and affordably,” said Williams. “I wouldn’t say, in my opinion, that we have a bubble, but we really do need to watch this growth rate and we’ve got to do something to keep this cost affordable to the working guy in town.”

Gardner said he believes new home construction will eventually catch up to demand, ultimately leading to lower prices.

Wilson agreed, saying he also expects higher mortgage rates to contribute to a slowdown eventually.

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