Biz - Real Estate Review

Single-family homes are the hottest segment of the Jackson Hole real estate market right now. Some, like these in the Gill Addition, are often bought to be torn down and replaced by larger and fancier digs.

Fewer properties were sold in 2016 and less money changed hands, but rising prices meant people paid more on average in Jackson Hole’s real estate market, according to statistics compiled by local Realtors.

“When you look at the big picture we had less sales, but average prices kept going up,” said David Viehman, of Re-Max Obsidan Real Estate.

Viehman, compiler of the Jackson Hole Report, attributed the tight market to “having the lowest inventory since 1985, the lowest in 30 years.”

“That’s what’s slowing our market down,” he said.

According to Viehman’s summary, total sales were down 8 percent to $1.005 billion during the year. His count of all transactions put the number at 618, down 10 percent.

Figures compiled by Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, the local Christie’s affiliate, were slightly different in details but agreed in the overall direction.

“Definitely, the market was down in dollars last year, though pricing moved up a little,” said Matt Faupel, an associate broker and one of the owners of the business. Declining inventory “has been the story of why we’ve had some reduction in volume,” he said.

Christie’s summary put the total number of transactions at 627, down 13 percent, and the average sales price at $1.35 million, up 3 percent.

In spite of the Hole’s reputation as a hideaway for the super rich, the two tallies agreed that the hottest part of the market was sales for less than $1 million. Viehman put that sector at 54 percent of sales, and Christie’s said 55 percent, with a number of sales it put at 286.

They also agreed that the traditionally vigorous high-end market had an off year. Christie’s put sales at more than $2 million at only 19 percent of the total, while Viehman said the over-$3 million segment saw a fall of 8 percent.

The category that gathers the most interest among locals, single-family homes, was the biggest part of the market, Viehman and Christie’s agreed.

Christie’s tallied 259 sales, up 2 percent from 2015, and put the median price at $1.11 million and the average at $1.72 million. The Christie’s count put the highest price at $10.25 million and the lowest at $355,000.

Viehman’s Jackson Hole Report said single-family home sales were up 13 percent to $505 million, with average and median prices down due to a drop in sales in the most expensive properties.

Low inventory and rising prices continue to push much of the growth out of the valley, Viehman said.

“There’s nothing for locals except condos, and that’s why people go over the pass,” he said. “They want a house and a yard.”

He reported less than two months of inventory available priced under $1 million, with only three homes listed under $750,000.

Overall, Viehman said, it’s the lack of new inventory that’s acting as a drag on the market: “The demand is here, we just don’t have the supply,” he said.

Faupel said he continues to “see strong buyer interest” that encourages him. But he agreed that there isn’t supply to meet demand and that “high-quality new inventory is down.”

Faupel said tear-down and rebuild projects in places like the Gill Addition, The Pines and John Dodge subdivision show how tight things are and how people are trying to work around the lack of major new inventory. He said he knew of one remodel on the West Bank that cost $2.5 million, an indication that some people who might be in the market for something bigger and newer are having a hard time finding it.

If there were to be new inventory, he said, it would move, “if I had the right inventory, priced right.”

Contact Mark Huffman at 732-5907 or

Mark Huffman edits copy and occasionally writes some, too. He's been a journalist since newspapers had typewriters and darkrooms.

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