The top five real estate sellers in Wyoming during 2015 were in Jackson, and eight of the top 10 teams were also in the Hole.
And the results — published in the annual RealTrends survey, associated with The Wall Street Journal — also show that the dollar volume of Jackson real estate agents was up dramatically over 2014.
Leading the individual rankings was John Resor of the Clear Creek Group, the broker for the Shooting Star development at Teton Village. Resor sold $165.1 million worth of property last year, nearly double the runner-up, Tom Evans of Jackson Hole Sotheby’s International Realty.
Resor acknowledged that “it was a pretty busy year.”
Following Resor and Evans were Brett McPeak, of Re-Max Obsidian Real Estate, and Patricia Hartnett and Ed Liebzeit, both of Sotheby’s in Jackson.
The top five reported sales during the year of $347.9 million. 2014’s top five sold $251.3 million in real estate.
But the strong business wasn’t the result of good years just for the top five individuals. Teams that didn’t include the top-selling individuals also reported huge sales.
Leading the list was Spackmans and Associates at Sotheby’s, which had sales of $176.2 million during the year.
Brandon Spackman said it was “a strong year all around for the market” and also credited his group’s long standing in the business. His father sold $44.6 million worth of property in 2014 to make third on the individual list that year.
A Casper firm came in second in the state last year and a Riverton firm was eighth, but all the others in the top 10 were Jackson groups.
Third in the state and second locally was the Graham-Faupel-Mendenhall and Associates group at Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates. It had sales of $156.3 million during the year. The group led the team sales in the state in 2014 with $90.2 million.
The rest of the group list — all associated with Sotheby’s — was Mercedes Huff and Associates, Realty Group of Jackson Hole, the Legacy Group, Teton Partners, JH Property Group, and Erich and Chris Wilbrecht.
The eight Jackson groups sold a combined $578 million worth of real estate.
The numbers, though dependable in a general sense for showing real estate activity, can be a bit confusing, some of the people listed said.
McPeak said the totals “are a little misleading,” and Resor said the numbers are “definitely inflated.”
The main factor that can mislead is that the numbers reported can reflect both sides of a deal, with agents representing buyers and sellers and then each reporting the sales figures. McPeak said some of his total was also reported by the Spackmans and Associates team.
Another thing that can throw off the numbers is that agents and firms decide whether to report sales as teams or as individuals. That came up last year in sales by Ken Gangwer, a longtime Jackson Realtor whose 2014 total of $74.8 million put him first on the list of individuals. But he pointed out then that he and his son-in-law, Brett Frantz, who also made the individual list, could have been reported as a team, and with their total of $110.2 million they would have topped the team list. Instead it was topped last year by the Graham-Faupel team.
An example this year is David and Devon Viehman, a father-and-daughter combo at Obsidian that reported as individuals and didn’t make the list, but who totaled sales of $37 million during 2015. That would have put them in the state’s top 10.
Also affecting the rankings is the exclusive relation some agents have with particular developments. Resor said that explained his great year.
Resor and his family are developers of Shooting Star, a golf course and residential development at Teton Village. Resor has an exclusive listing on the development, and its success and the timing of sales gave him an advantage, he said.
“It’s less me being a great salesman than it is me being a good developer,” Resor said.
During 2015 the Lodges at Fish Creek, one phase of Shooting Star development, was completed and “11 or 12 closed last year,” Resor said.
He said the fact that Shooting Star came on the market just as the Great Recession hit, combined with his decision not to discount units but wait out the crash, meant bad numbers for several years but a subsequent peak more recently.
“There were two years, 2009, 2010, when we didn’t sell a single lot,” he said. Shooting Star “didn’t fully come back until last year.”
The economy’s bounce back, and the popularity of Shooting Star, was evidenced last year, Resor said, when one of the newly sold Lodges at Fish Creek units turned over in six weeks for $1 million more than the original price.
McPeak agreed that a strong market made it easier for real estate agents to post big numbers and look good.
“Last year was a very robust year across all stratas,” he said, “not just big fancy stuff.”
Spackman said sales of big-ticket houses was a boost for his group.
“We did a lot of high-end, luxury business, he said, “and last year that market hit a peak.”
Factors outside local real estate also helped, Spackman said.
“A lot of high-end buyers moved out of the markets and into real estate” during the year, he said.
RealTrends publisher Steve Murray said the country’s 1.1 million Realtors average fewer than 10 sales a year for an average total of only about $1.2 million.