If you bought real estate in Jackson Hole in the past couple of years you can be satisfied with your judgment, or you luck.
Inventory continued to shrink and prices continued to rise during the first three months of 2015, according to Dave Viehman's Jackson Hole Report. That continues the trend of last year.
In the wake of the 2008 crash, inventory even in the ever-desireable Hole soared as people tried to sell but couldn't find qualified buyers. Some of the inventory was owned by banks that had previously valuable property land in their laps.
But no more, Viehman said in his recent report.
Inventory was at a high in the spring of 2011 but is now at its lowest in 25 years or more, he said. In 2010 there were 640 houses, condos, lots and commercial spaces looking four buyers. In recent weeks that's fallen by half, to 319 listings.
Viehman reports the tightest market is condos and townhouses. Over the past year available properties feel by 39 percent, to 49, a big difference from the 195 listed in the depths of 2009. Of what is available, only 18 are priced under $500,000, a segment that was the hottest part of the market a year and two years ago as people took advantage of what had been a slow market by turning cash into real estate.
But while the dwindling inventory may discourage some, it hasn't hurt the overall market, Viehman reported. His figures show the trend of recent years continued in the first quarter, with sales up 10 percent and the dollar volume up 46 percent — understandable given that the trend of rising prices began more than a year ago but hasn't yet discouraged shoppers.
The upper end of the market, a favorite of many real estate people, remained strong.
Sales were up 105 percent in the $2 million to $5 million price range, and of that nearly a third were condos and townhouses, mostly on the west bank. In the $5 million-or-more category, inventory was down 15 percent to 40 during the year.
Overall, the number of properties under contract is up 51 percent since the first quarter 2014, and dollar volume is up 35 percent, Viehman reported.
The single-family segment, the places in which people actually live, saw a slight fall in sales and the same rising prices as other segments. The cheapest house for sale is priced at $465,000, and it's 35 miles north of town.
One sign of people's faith in the economy, vacant residential land, had a good three months, with 33 sales, up 6 percent. Prices were also up. A good 58 percent of sales, according to Viehman's research, were to people who couldn't find a house that fit their tastes and budget and who decided to purchase land and build. But they will run into another problem: Compared to 2007 the list of general contractors in the area is about half as long, and Viehman said people with land and money might have to wait two years before they can find anyone to make their dream house real.
Viehman's full first quarter 2015 report can be found at the web site of Re/Max Obisidian Real Estate-Jackson Hole Real Estate — JacksonHoleObisidan.com.