They Want How Much?
The going price for a contemporary Craftsman in Park City, Utah with views of three world-class ski resorts.
By Sarah Max

(MONEY Magazine) - Mountain High Contemporary Craftsman in Park City, Utah with views of three world-class ski resorts

• 3,400 square feet; 3 beds, 2.5 baths • Community gym, pool, tennis courts

First asking price (Sept. 2005): $1.05 million Second asking price (Oct. 2005): $997,500 Accepted offer (Jan. 2006): $965,000

Five years ago, Michele Low traded her house near downtown Park City--a resort town about 30 minutes outside Salt Lake City--for a home with floor-to-ceiling views of the Wasatch Range. "I really wanted to be up on that mountain," says Low. Who could blame her? "That mountain" soon hosted some of the best events of the 2002 Winter Olympics, and world-class ski resorts like The Canyons, Deer Valley and Park City Mountain are all within a five-mile radius. "I can see all three resorts from the front of my house," says Low, now downsizing to a local condo. She trimmed her ambitious initial asking price last fall to a skosh less than $1 million to lure vacation-home shoppers who cap their online searches of multiple markets at a million bucks. The strategy ultimately produced a $965,000 offer, roughly double what she paid in 2000.

Prices have steepened considerably since the Olympics highlighted what's hailed as "the greatest snow on earth." Still, Park City--up about 20% the past year--remains a relative bargain compared with other high-altitude markets, which are often hemmed in by national parks and forests. The average single-family-house price here, recently $700,000, is a third that in Aspen, Colo. and about half that in Telluride, Colo. or Whistler, B.C. "We've been undervalued for a long time," says agent Randy Spagnoletti of Prudential Utah. But now buyers are coming from all over the country, in part because Park City is one of the only ski towns less than an hour from a major airport. "You can leave your house in California in the morning and be on the slopes that afternoon," says Spagnoletti.

Park City's recent run-up aside, the market for mountain property appears to be cooling somewhat nationally, says David Hehman, president of EscapeHomes.com, a leading website for vacation properties. "The inventory of houses for sale is building," he notes. Good news if you're a buyer bent on being near the slopes. You'll want to compare the price per square foot of homes in different markets--and coldly assess your rental prospects. "A lot of people think they can defer the costs of a ski house by renting it out," Hehman says. Maybe so. Just keep in mind: The choice weeks for renters will likely coincide with the weeks you hope to hit the slopes. --SARAH MAX

HOME-LOAN RATES

Up from previous month Down from previous month

RAISE THE ROOF This year you can borrow as much as $417,000 at regular mortgage rates vs. $359,650 in '05.

[UP] 1-Year adj. 5.39% [UP] 5/1 adj. 5.93% [DOWN] 15-year fixed 5.85% [DOWN] 30-year fixed[1] 6.17% [DOWN] 30-year fixed jumbo[2] 6.39% (One year range) [UP] Homeequity loan 7.64% [UP] Homeequity credit line 7.70% (Current average)

NOTES: As of Jan. 13. [1] $417,000 or less. [2] More than $417,000. SOURCE: HSH Associates.

DEALS: 30-Year Fixed-Rate Jumbo Mortgages

The banks below offer some of the best loan rates and terms. Use them as a benchmark for your own shopping. Visit hsh.com for more deals.

NOTES: As of Jan. 13. Rates and terms are for home loans over $417,000. SOURCE: HSH Associates.

LARGEST REAL ESTATE FUNDS

NOTES: As of Jan. 13. Largest funds by assets. [1] Annualized. [2] Closed to new investors. SOURCE: Morningstar. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.