Sunday, August 11, 2013

Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain, Ogden Valley...Waiting for Takeoff!

Click here for the latest Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics for the past six months, including Number of Units Sold, Median Sales Price, % of Original Listing Price, Median Price Per Square Foot, and Median Days on the Market. This data is organized by ski resort area.

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THE NEWS

Is the Ogden Valley and the greater Ogden area finally going to see the property run-up that has been predicted...but remained elusive...for years?

The conventional wisdom was that once the eyes of the world saw Snowbasin's world class ski mountain, elegant lodges and state-of-art infrastructure during the 2002 Olympics...and construction of the base village was underway shortly thereafter...property values in the Ogden Valley would explode.  After all, this is a paradise by so many measures and prices were on the very low end relative to other four season resorts.

What's there?  The Ogden Valley is rural in feel and appearance, with many operating farms and ranches and not a single traffic light.  There is a 2200 acre recreational lake (Pineview Reservoir) that covers much of the valley floor and dramatic mountains and jagged peaks surrounding this pristine shangri-lai.

Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are on opposite sides of this lovely valley, and are both world class ski mountains in terms of terrain, snow depth and quality (Utah powder) and lodges and infrastructure (Snowbasin).  Wolf Mountain is a third Valley ski hill, small but family friendly, with a terrific slalom and giant slalom race hill.  The slopes of each of these resorts is remarkably uncrowded - even on the area's frequent powder days.

There is recreational boating, water sports and fishing on Pineview, excellent mountain and road biking, hiking, rock climbing, a tennis center, a terrific golf course with stunning views...and views...and endless views.  And no traffic.  The climate is relatively mild in the winter considering the 400"- 500" of Utah's "greatest snow on earth" that falls on the resort's.slopes.  The summers are warm but rarely hot, with plenty of sun and cool nights.

But perhaps the most unique feature...this rural, recreational and scenic wonderland is only a fifteen minute drive through a spectacular canyon to the Walmarts and Home Depots of the city of Ogden, and less than an hour drive from Salt Lake City international airport and the metropolis of Salt Lake.  Ogden was recently voted the country's #2 Ski Town by Powder Magazine, and is perhaps the most affordable town in the country in such close proximity to the myriad recreational opportunities of the famed Wasatch Front.

So why hasn't the Ogden Valley been discovered?  Why are real estate prices still half of what they are at other resorts?  The extreme security post 9/11 kept the eyes of the world and spectators isolated from Snowbasin resort during the 2002 games.  The network did very few features and the resort's lodges and lifts were off limits to those with tickets for the downhills, super G and combined alpine events.  There has been very little formal advertising outside of Utah since 2002.  Earl Holding, the owner and driving force behind the amazing amenities, infrastructure, and ski experience at Snowbasin, had a debilitating stroke soon after the Olympics, which likely delayed the construction of the base village.  He never fully recovered and then the economy tanked in 2008.  And there is always the "there's not as many bars and restaurants as in Park City" line of thinking for destination travelers.  True, but there are also not nearly as many crowds nor as much traffic.  And the Ogden Valley now has a decent selection of restaurants, bars and entertainment.  Ogden, only twenty minutes away, has historic 25th Street, with numerous, established eateries and watering holes.

And why may the time have arrived for property values to jump significantly?  The background is the improving national real estate market, with buyers who have been waiting on the sidelines now trying to avoid missing the last of the good deals and low interest rates.  But there are many local, specific dynamics also in play.  The Ogden area is getting a lot of great press related to its exemplary quality of life, recreational opportunities, climate and cost of living.  The Summit Group has purchased Powder Mountain and development of  a base village is underway.  Their recent annual conference, held at the mountain, generated plenty of publicity and introduced hundreds of influential and well-heeled folks to the opportunities available in the lovely Ogden Valley.  Rumors are that Snowbasin may be within a few months of obtaining final approval on their master plan - and the long-awaited and eagerly anticipated ground-breaking for that base village could take place soon.

Whether for a lifestyle change, a vacation home, or investment - potential purchasers of ski resort/mountain community property would do well to investigate the Ogden Valley and the Ogden area, and soon.  Prices are still low but definitely headed up (next two paragraphs).

The real estate recovery continues at other Utah ski resort and mountain communities, as reflected in this blog's comparative statistics for July

Units sold were up 20% at Canyons and 8% at Alta/Snowbird over June.  But the Ogden Valley, which also had a 20% increase in units sold, lead all mountain communities with a $100,000 jump in median sales price from June to July.