Sales in the market-dominant single-family house and condo market split in the first quarter of the year, according to reports by Jackson real estate firms, with houses holding firm compared with 2015 but townhouse business dropping.
The situation reflected buyers chasing limited inventory, in spite of a slight upturn.
“I think the general theme is we are consistently in a seller’s market,” said associate broker Bomber Bryan, of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, the Christie’s associate in Jackson. “There’s more buyers than there are properties to purchase.”
“We’re not seeing any local inventory,” said David Viehman, an associate at Re-Max Obsidian Real Estate. “Last year’s prices have gone up 15, 20 percent … and a lot of people who needed to sell, sold.”
Christie’s first-quarter summary, based on Multiple Listing Service transactions, reported there were 36 single-family sales during the quarter, down a slight 3 percent. Christie’s reported that the cheapest sale was $620,000 and that the average sale price was $2.37 million, with total dollar volume up 7 percent. About half of the sales were in the $1 million to $2 million range, Christie’s reported.
The report indicated that total sales in the segment amounted to about $85.5 million.
But sales of condos and townhouses fell 22 percent to 38 compared with first quarter 2015, Christie’s reported. Prices ranged from a low of $264,000 to a high of $3.75 million, with the average being $832,000. About half the sales were between $500,000 and $1 million.
Total townhouse sales, by Christie’s reckoning, amounted to $31.6 million.
The single-family segment accounted for 35 percent of sales, while 37 percent were condos and townhouses. Christie’s said total dollar volume throughout the market was down 15 percent, but average sales prices were up 14 percent in the year-to-year comparison.
Viehman said the fall in sales was even more pronounced. He tallies not only MLS listings but sales outside the system that he tracks through the county clerk’s office. He put the decline at 20 percent or more.
Forty-five percent of all real estate sales happened on the West Bank, Viehman said, with nearly half of those in Teton Village.
Though a big inventory of houses and condos fueled a healthy real estate market over the past two years or more, Viehman said that, as many people have taken advantage of inventory, that trend seems to be slowing. Rising prices are the result, he said, and that has made it more difficult for first-time buyers to get in or for people looking to move up to find something to buy.
“Nobody is trading up,” Viehman said. “A big hunk of our local market has been local buyers, but now there’s nothing to buy, so we’re down 20, 25 percent in sales — I don’t see that changing.”
Viehman’s Jackson Hole Report put the drop in total dollar volume at 27 percent. The Christie’s report said 15 percent.
Bryan said April was slow — as usual — but a slight growth in inventory and the area’s continuing popularity promise to keep the market moving. He cited an inventory slightly up from the same time last year, up 12.5 percent in townhouses and up 14 percent in single-family homes.
“It’s been busy for the start of May,” he said. “I think we’re tracking for a good summer.”
He said he was confident based largely on the fact that “a lot of people continue to want to be in a safe and desirable location” such as Jackson Hole, and that “there are certainly many buyers who are capable” of buying in.
There was also confidence at Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty, where COO and responsible broker Donna Clinton said signs were good.
“Relatively, January was a strong month for us, February and March a little slower,” Clinton said. “But the last six weeks are strong in pending transactions. It looks like the second quarter is starting off very well.”
The first quarter’s priciest sale was a single-family house in Indian Springs that went for $10.25 million.
But the total luxury market, usually put at properties worth $3 million or more, was stagnant. The Christie’s report shows there were 11 sales in the price range, down 21 percent, and total dollar value was down 21 percent. Average sale price was reported up 15 percent. The average sales price was $5.9 million. The segment accounted for 11 percent of sales through the MLS.
Viehman expects the segment, a mainstay of the Jackson Hole market, to be strong. He noted a healthy stock market and the fact that when stocks rise many people like to take their profits and put it in real estate.
“We are going to see more buyers” in the luxury segment, he said. “The upper end is where it’s happening.”