They Want How Much?
The going price for a contemporary Craftsman in Park City, Utah with views of three world-class ski resorts.
(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
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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 6.17% [DOWN] 30-year fixed jumbo 6.39% (One year range) [UP] Homeequity loan 7.64% [UP] Homeequity credit line 7.70% (Current average)
NOTES: As of Jan. 13.  $417,000 or less.  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.
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