The new edition of the Jackson Hole Report backs up public opinion that Jackson Hole’s housing problem is getting worse.
Compiled by Realtors David and Devon Viehman and Luke Smith, who track and analyze every real estate transaction in Jackson Hole, the report calculated that with only 312 listings available, Jackson Hole has the fewest available homes in over 30 years — 13 fewer than in 2006 and 2007, the peak of the previous housing bubble.
As a result of this scarcity the median price of an available condo in Teton County increased by 61 percent over the past 10 years to $687,000. The median price of a home increased by 32 percent to $1.35 million over the same time period — the highest median single-family home price in the history of Jackson Hole real estate.
“Much higher construction costs and land values make it impossible to build a new home in the valley for under $1 million,” the report reads, “putting the dream of owning a new home out of the reach for most locals.”
Of the 312 home listings, 11 are single-family homes under $1 million. On Monday, when the report was published, the least expensive single-family home in Jackson Hole was $849,000.
The key indicator, according to the report, is that the upper-middle class is wary of selling its “affordable” property for fear of another economic downturn.
Ten years ago the average homeowner might remodel and sell their condo to trade up for a single-family home with a backyard and a garage, which they would later sell for a nicer home in a better location. Ultimately they would then sell that property to buy a piece of property and build their dream home.
“This type of trade-up allowed for a lot of turnover and additional inventory,” the report reads. “Today, there is little to no ‘trading up,’ as most owners still remember the Great Recession and are concerned about overextending themselves.”
The available housing stock is further limited by the strength of the rental market. Investors who purchased foreclosed properties during the recession have continued to maintain those properties as rentals due to the prices tourists will pay for a week in Jackson.
In 2007 there were 116 sales under $500,000 in the first quarter. That number plummeted to just 10 in the first quarter of 2017.
Even with the Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of County Commission approving plans for over 200 units in the last 12 months, David Viehman said he doesn’t expect a significant market correction anytime soon.
“At some point it’s going to slow down, but at this point I don’t see anything to suggest it’s going to happen anytime soon,” David Viehman said. “Those  units are a drop in the bucket. You’d need at least 400 condos and maybe 250 affordable units to make a dent. Maybe if the Porter Estate or the Lockhart land is annexed, divided into town-size lots and homes are built in the $300,000 to $350,000 price range you could see a difference, but I don’t see that happening.”
In fact the opposite is happening, he said. The largest increase in available inventory was for single-family homes valued at $5 million and up.
“As the baby boomers look for a nice place to retire and play with their grandkids, everything points to Jackson,” David Viehman said. “We continue to have no inventory and the demand is only growing.”
According to the annual indicator report released by the town and county planning department, Teton County continues to grow, regardless of commercial or residential development, by more than 200 people a year.