Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ski Magazine Advises "buy property now" in the Ogden Valley's Ski and Recreational Mecca

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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Ski Magazine's current issue boldly states "buy property now" in its' feature article on Powder Mountain ski resort and the Ogden Valley.  National Geographic just selected Ogden, Utah as Number 1 on their list of the top ten "emerging ski towns", and Snowbasin Ski Resort has received the final approvals necessary to launch their long-anticipated base village development and resort expansion.  "Buy property now" in the Ogden Valley area may well be the best advice anyone interested in purchasing mountain resort property in Utah can possibly get.

Ski Magazine's feature article on the enormous potential at Powder Mountain and the Summit Group, who recently purchased the resort and is already building infrastructure on the mountain for a village and residences, makes a very strong case that the Valley's pristine beauty, three ski resorts, lake and myriad recreational opportunities, combined with very reasonable (some would say cheap) property prices - is a unique situation.  And one that should not be missed.  The article even draws an analogy related to the earliest days of the development of Aspen.

The Summit Group, and their plans for Powder Mountain, has been attracting a lot of recent publicity.  The organization has been described as a combination of "TED and Burning Man", and the Ski article's author, Gordy Megroz, thinks that "Summit isn't really selling the skiing experience to its prospective buyers (half of them don't even ski); what it's selling is the Summit Culture of good food, indulgences, and highbrow conversation among like-minded people."

But what the Summit Group does with the development of Powder Mountain, a resort with more skiable acreage then Vail, could have a dramatic effect on real estate values in the Ogden Valley.  And that is why Mergroz is telling people to "buy property now."  No secret as good as the Ogden Valley can last forever.

Snowbasin Ski Resort is still the undisputed "gorilla in the room" relative to the Ogden Valley.  Host of the downhills, super-Gs and combined alpine events during the 2002 Olympics, those-in-the-know praise the elegant lodges, dining lift system and terrain, typically filled with copious amounts of Utah's fabled powder but relatively few skiers and boarders.  A master plan for a base village and development that will include hotels, restaurants, shops, single family homes, condos and golf courses was made available to the public a number of years ago. But the planned development spans two counties, Weber and Morgan, and the final approvals were only recently granted in mid-November of this year.

The conventional wisdom has been that as soon as Snowbasin breaks ground on their base village, property values in Ogden Valley will take a significant jump.  With the last of the approvals final, that time may be close.

To be sure, there is a lot going on that could significantly raise what are still very reasonable property prices in the Ogden Valley.  And quickly.  Mr. Mergroz's advice to "buy property now" should perhaps be heeded.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Utah's Ski Resorts' Added Amenities for Upcoming Season a Plus for Real Estate Shoppers

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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Utah's ski resorts have added amenities and incentives over the summer to try and attract a record number of skiers and boarders once the snow starts to fly.  And this is only good news for those looking for real estate at and around these resorts.

Snowbird added the only new lift among the Utah resorts, replacing the original Gad 2, which opened in 1971, with a high speed detachable quad.  The resort is also expanding cat skiing operations, which will open more terrain in Mary Ellen Gulch on the backside of Mineral Basin.

Deer Valley has a new run for beginners called "Gnat's Eye", and has upgraded its snowmaking with two additional energy efficient guns.

Snowbasin drilled another well that will increase the resort's total snowmaking capacity to over 600 acres.

As reported in this blog last month (October post), the most valuable new incentives and amenities at all of the major Utah ski resorts are the alliances formed between resorts that give season ticket holders multiple free ski days at multiple in-state and out-of-state resorts.  These partnership/alliances are changing the face of the ski industry, and for property owners at resorts it eliminates the loss of the variety of ski areas they enjoyed before they owned property and purchased season passes at one resort.

Units sold and escalating prices for Utah ski resort property slowed considerably in October from the torrid pace of the recovery's past few months.

The best bet is this slowdown in the Utah real estate recovery is due to the government shutdown and sequester as Utah has numerous national parks and government employees through the state's large Defense Department (Hill Air Force Base, etc.) and IRS presence.  For the actual October Utah ski resort sales statistics, click here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Powder Magazine Again Features Ogden, Utah, as Top US Ski Town

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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Powder Magazine, in the issue just hitting newsstands, once again trumpets Ogden, Utah as one of the best ski towns in the United States in an extensive feature article.

This follows the magazine's selection last year of Ogden as the #2 ski town in the US.  The article, written by Derek Taylor, is entitled "Tied to the Tracks", a reference to Ogden's past glory as a major railway hub of the west.  Taylor's third paragraph recaps the widespread and highly favorable publicity the city, hard against the famed Wasatch Range, has been receiving. "For the last five years, this is where they've been telling you to go.  Forbes rated it among the top places for business and careers, and the eighth best place to raise a family.  National Geographic Adventure called it an emerging ski town and one of the nation's top 100 adventure towns.  Smithsonian.com listed it among "Where to live next."  Last year, Powder placed Ogden second in its ranking of ski towns (this year, Snowbasin/Powder Mountain are fourth), based on a formula that factored skiable acres, annual snowfall, and skier visits."  Snowbasin and Powder Mountain are located in the Ogden Valley, just through a canyon or over a pass, and 20 to 30 minutes, from Ogden.

Taylor has written an excellent, comprehensive article that is highly informative, from both an historical and contemporary perspective.  Yes, he praises the amazing skiing and riding opportunities at Snowbasin with statements such as "3,000 acres of anything you'd want to ski - steep couloirs, well-spaced glades, open bowls, backcountry, and fast groomers," and Powder Mountain, extolling "lifts servicing 2,800 acres, another 1,900 served by snowcat and bus shuttle, a 3,000-acre cat skiing zone, and another 1,000 of backcountry touring."

But through stories of folks who have moved to the Ogden area, and are thrilled with their decisions, he puts in honest plug after plug for the lifestyle the area offers.  "The girl moved here from Oregon in 2007.  She's part of the Portlandification of Ogden - the young, educated, health-food eating, IPA-drinking, outdoorsy type that personifies Ogden's changing demographic.  When she moved here, she bought a little brick house from the 1930s in one of the town's nicer neighborhoods for around $160,000."  Mike Dowse, General Manager of AmerSports, the parent company of Atomic, Salomon and Suunto that moved to Ogden in 2006, is quoted by Taylor.  "The cost of doing business here was substantially less - the lease rates were 30 to 40 percent lower than where we looked in other cities.  Also, the cost of living for our employees was much more affordable here.  A lot of our employees bought homes for the first time."  Jared Allen, a local, extreme skier, who is pictured slashing through the area's epic powder in photos that accompany the article, offers his tale of good fortune to Taylor.  "I saw that Salomon moved their headquarters up here.  It forced us to take a closer look.  Before we knew it, we were buying houses by the dozens."  Taylor relates that Allen and his wife now own about 20 rental properties in Ogden, and they have paid as little as $20,000 to $30,000, with all the properties within a half hour of skiing.

Even with the volume of recent, terrific national publicity for the Ogden area and its lifestyle, real estate prices remain low.  But with all the area has to offer - that won't last.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Are Utah Ski Resorts Offering Incentives to Real Estate Shoppers?

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 move by ski resorts in Utah to offer season passes that include multiple free days at numerous, quality ski resorts in other states, should make it easier to decide to purchase ski property in Utah.

One of the potential drawbacks to owning a second home at a ski resort is that you will feel compelled to spend all of your ski or boarding days at the  same hill, or hills in close proximity to your property.  For those accustomed to visiting different resorts in different states, or countries, this can be a significant consideration.  The current trend to offer multiple free days at a number of resorts with the same season pass should go a long way to overcoming this objection - by making it highly appealing to buy a season pass at your home area that will also make it cheaper than ever to visit other resorts for some variety.

Vail Resorts was an early leader in offering multiple resorts on one pass, and now that Canyons Resort in Utah is being operated by Vail, a Canyons pass allows you to ski free at the following resorts:

Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin, in Colorado; Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood in California; Verbier, Switzerland; Alberg, Austria; Les 3 Vallees, France.

Snowbasin, Utah, has added what they term their "Powder Alliance", which entitles you to free skiing days at the following resorts:

Sierra, Mountain High and China Bowl in California; Stevens Pass in Washington; Angel Fire in New Mexico; Snowbowl in Arizona; Crested Butte in Colorado; Timberline and SkiBowl in Oregon; Schweitzer and Sun Valley in Idaho; Bridger Bowl in Montana.

Powder Mountain's season pass offers free days at Taos in New Mexico; Durango Mountain Resort/Purgatory in Colorado; Red Mountain Resort in British Columbia.

These are just a few of the Utah's resorts that offer free or discounted days at multiple resorts.  Each resort's website offers details.

More News

Real estate sales in the ski resort and mountain communities of Utah, as well as areas in close proximity to the resorts, continue to improve in terms of units sold and sales price.  There are still some great deals, but they are becoming scarce.

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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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.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Utah Ski Resort Real Estate Surging in Sales and Prices

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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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Real estate sales are surging, prices are rising, and the amount of time properties are on the market is dropping, an many of Utah's ski resort and adjacent communities rebound from the lengthy recession.

This all reflects the national trend of significant recovery in the real estate and residential construction industries, particularly in many area that were hit hard during the downturn.  But some of Utah's resort areas were initially slow to show consistent signs of  rising prices and sales, particularly when distressed properties were excluded.

June's Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics shows Alta/Snowbird and the bench around Little Cottonwood Canyon with a jump in median sales price and a drop in average days-on-the-market down to only fourteen.  The Park City and Deer Valley area also had a decrease in days-on-the-market, while Beaver Mountain, close to Bear Lake, showed a significant increase in number of units sold and the median price of those sales.

The most dramatic increase in activity and positive sales statistics occurred along the Ogden Bench and Ogden Valley, home to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain.  These areas have been among the slowest to recover, but are now beginning to show signs of a sustained rebound.  Median sales price and price per sq. ft. are up, while days-on-the-market are down.  The publicity surrounding the sale of Powder Mountain to The Summit Group and Powder Magazine's selection of Ogden as the #2 Ski Town in the country may be having an influence.  In any case, this pristine valley, with it's three ski resorts, Pineview reservoir, and stunning vistas, still offers some of the best deals on prime property of any mountain/resort community in the Rockies.  But indications are buyers might want to act fast if they hope to take advantage of those deals.

Summit Group to Host Annual Event at Powder Mountain

Speaking of the Summit Group - they will host their annual event in July at their new home at Powder Mountain.  Hundreds of qualified buyers will for the first time see the lovely Ogden Valley and all it has to offer.   And perhaps add more fuel to the real estate recovery.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vail Resorts enters Utah Ski market with lease of Canyons Ski Resort

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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.

It has been a fact for years - Vail Resorts has long tried to acquire a resort or establish a presence in the Utah ski market.  They now have their presence...as they take over operations of Canyons Ski Resort.

 According to the May 30th edition of The Salt Lake Tribune, in an article by Christopher Smart and Dawn House, the Colorado-based resort operator will operate Canyons under a long-term lease with Talisker Corporation of Toronto, Canada. The article quotes Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, "Vail Resorts is really good at selling lift tickets, and they have lots of experience in some of the busiest, and most popular, resorts in North America.  It brings a lot of credibility when a company with such a broad reach is part of our industry."

At some point the agreement could include all ski terrain currently operated by Park City Mountain Resort, according to a statement from Vail and reported in the same article.  This further development depends on the resolution of a legal dispute between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker.

Jenni Smith, Park City Mountain Resort president and general manager, was quoted in the Tribune as saying "We welcome Vail Resorts to the Utah ski community and look forward to working with them to continue to grow Utah's ski industry.  As we have for the past 50 years, we remain committed to owning and operating Park City Mountain Resort and will continue to work toward a fair resolution of the lease dispute."

This news, along with the Summit Group's finalization of their purchase of Powder Mountain, should provide a high octane boost to the Utah ski and mountain property market.  More of the "Colorado faithful" will surely show up to see what Utah skiing is all about, particularly if they can utilize their Vail Resorts pass.  If history is any indication, once they've experienced the epic powder and overall snow quality, reasonable pricing, temperate winter temperatures, un-crowded slopes, and the fact that most of Utah's ski resorts are less than an hour from the Salt Lake City airport...well, many of them will decide to put down some roots.

Utah's ski resort real estate continues to heat up.

A number of Utah's ski resorts and bench areas adjacent to the Wasatch have experienced dramatic jumps over the past month in the number of properties sold and average sales prices, while at the same time showing significant drops in days on the market.  As an example, the Ogden bench and Mountain Green areas, with their close proximity to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain resorts, reported sales of 63 units in May, up from 39 units in April.  The latest sales statistics can be perused at Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics. The buyer's market is rapidly turning toward a seller's market, and savvy buyers will likely not stay on the sidelines much longer.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Powder Mtn. Ski Resort Sale Final - Major Implications for Ogden Valley

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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.

The Summit Group recently closed on their acquisition of Powder Mountain Ski Resort, and the finalization of the sale could have enormous implications for real estate sales in the Ogden Valley.

The Ogden Valley has long been a paradise for the relatively few aficionados of four season recreation and natural beauty who know about it.  Snowbasin is a bonafide world class ski mountain, with terrain that received rave reviews when the 2002 Olympic Downhills, Super-Gs and Combined alpine events were held there. Some of the most elegant ski lodges on the planet, award-winning food, cutting edge snowmaking, multiple base-to -summit gondolas, open bowls and 400 inches a year of Utah powder are all a part of the resort's appeal.  Powder Mountain is the largest ski resort in North America in terms of privately owned, skiable acres, with just under 10,000.  And Powder averages 500 inches of "the best snow on earth" each season.  Wolf Mountain, a small resort with a strong local following and a terrific slalom and giant slalom hill, completes the ski resort trifecta in the Ogden Valley.
Pinveview Resevoir, a 2200 sq. ft.recreational lake offering boating, fishing, wake boarding and skiing, fills much of the floor of the stunningly beautiful Ogden Valley, which is ringed by imposing peaks, dotted with farms and ranches, and doesn't have a single traffic light.  Numerous biking and hiking trails, trout streams and snowmobiling opportunities are but a few of the other recreational draws in this gorgeous alpine valley.  And it's less than an hour from the Salt Lake City International airport.

The purchase of Powder Mountain by the Summit Group, reported on at length in the Huffington Post on 5/8/2013, will surely mean changes and development on some level for the Ogden Valley.  Couple that with Snowbasin's master plan for a base village and housing, which is reportedly close to final approval with the second of two counties that the development will encompass, and major changes and a significant jump in real estate prices in the Ogden Valley is essentially a given.

The Summit Group's plans for Powder Mountain are all built around environmentally conscience, limited development geared to it's members and visiting movers and shakers in the art, business, science and political communities.  Local businesses are already tapping into the Summit's multiple undertakings and operations in the Valley.  And more and more influential and well-to-do individuals drawn to the outdoors and natural beauty will see first-hand this remarkable corner of the globe when they attend the Summit Group's high profile conferences, which in the past have been attended by such luminaries as Bill Clinton and Richard Branson.

Also affected should be the greater Ogden real estate market, where property is considerably cheaper than in the Ogden Valley.  Ogden is only a twenty minute drive from the Valley via either the stunning Ogden Canyon or a gorgeous mountain pass adjacent to Snowbasin, and the town of 80,000 was recently judged the "2nd best ski town in America" by Powder Magazine.

If you have experienced he idyllic beauty and recreational opportunities of the Ogden Valley and have thought about purchasing property, or haven't yet, but are looking for an amazing mountain environment at what could still be considered bargain prices - don't delay!  Call a local realtor.

In other news related to Utah ski and mountain real estate, sales in terms of units are dramatically up while days on the market are dramatically down (Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics) at a number of resorts.  Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons, the Salt Lake Bench, and the Park City/Deer Valley and Canyons areas lead the pack in positive real estate trends for sellers.

National real estate is, in many areas, trending strongly toward recovery.  Utah ski and mountain property reflects this trend.  Again, if you're in the market for a home, condo, land, fractional ownership - it might be wise to act quickly!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ogden Valley's Powder Mountain Development Gets Final Approval, $24 Million Bond for Infrastructure, and The Sanctuary Get Heli-Ski Permit

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: Click here for the latest UtahSki 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.


Ogden Valley's Powder Mountain has finalized major milestones toward getting underway with construction related to the resort's master development plan.  The Summit Group, now operating Powder Mountain and soon to close on its sale, has received both final approval for the initial phase of its Master Plan and a $22.5 million bond to finance the needed infrastructure.  The Weber County Commission granted both.

And there's more big develop-related news for the Ogden Valley.  The Sanctuary Ranch, approved for six 40+ acre residential lots, has been granted a rare, private Heli-Ski Permit, which will allow property owners to access 80,000 acres of heli-skiing from a pad in their community.

In an article by Janelle Hyatt in the April 9 Standard Examiner, Ogden, Utah's major print and online newspaper, Thayer, Walker, the "chief Reconnaissance officer" of the Summit Group, is quoted.  "The initial development at Powder Mountain will be a village tucked away among the trees and out of sight."  Thayer added that "the proposed 154 dwellings range from full-size homes to "nest units" of between 200 and 400 square feet."

In late March, the Weber County Commission agreed to back a $22.5 million bond for the Summit Mountain Holding Group.  The bond is essentially a loan, and is designated to build the infrastructure of roads, water and sewer that is the first stage of any development.  Property owners within the special assessment district, limited to the 1,570 acre development, will be responsible for the nearly $1.6 million annual bond payments.  No county taxpayers at large, who live outside the special assessment district, will be liable for any of the levied taxes.  According to Douglas Larsen, executive director of the Weber Economic Development Partnership, quoted in a Standard Examiner article by Jesus Lopez Jr. on April 1, "by backing the project, the county is supporting economic growth in the community."

Thus, the first major development at either of the Ogden Valley's two major ski resorts, Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, is finally poised to start - reportedly this summer.  Stay tuned for updates.

The Sanctuary Ranch is a 525 acre development high above the floor of the Ogden Valley, in the southeast corner.  According to the development's representatives on their Facebook page," the roads and power are complete and building lots are now for sale."  Lots are 40+ acres and the development's Heli-Ski Permit is" the only such permit in Utah."  The Sanctuary operated this winter as a Heli-Ski Base, and Diamond Peak Heli-Ski has access to 80,000 acres of private terrain less than a ten minute flight from the development.

Real estate prices are continuing a slow, but steady climb at most Utah ski resorts as the inventory of foreclosures, short sales, and distress sales declines significantly.  The real estate market is red-hot in some parts of  Utah, especially certain areas of Salt Lake, and the mountain communities are showing signs of beginning to follow that trend.

For investors, Realty Trac, an online real estate research site, named Ogden, Utah, as one of the top twenty real estate investment cities in the country.  Ogden is a mere eight miles from the Ogden Valley and Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Wolf Mountain. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Is The Summit Group's Powder Mountain Development the Launch of Ogden Valley, Utah, as an Elite Resort Destination

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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.

The Summit Group is moving forward rapidly with their unique development concept for Powder Mountain, and this endeavor could be the impetus for, and the beginning of, the long anticipated arrival of the Ogden Valley as one of the elite ski and four-seasons resort destinations in the US.  When this pristine valley, with three ski resorts, limitless recreational opportunities, stunning vistas, and 50 minute access to an international airport, finally is mentioned in the same league as Park City, the Vail Valley and Aspen - real estate prices will undoubtedly take off.  Three scenarios may well be about to intertwine to make this rise in values a reality.

A second meeting with the local community was recently held by the Summit Group, at which time they revealed their Master Plan for Powder Mountain(Powder Mountain PRUD) and much more detail related to their proposed development than in their earlier, previous presentation.  There was more emphasis and discussion on home sites, condos and lodging that will be available for purchase to the public than in the first meeting, when they emphasized the village that would be exclusive to Summit members.  Some eyebrows were raised and a few pointed questions generated after the group's managing partner, Greg Mauro, mentioned an eventual, self-imposed limit of 1400 units and limited access to some hiking trails which have been used for years by locals (even though they have long been on private property).  However, the consensus of those present appeared to still be positive, albeit with a wait-and-see attitude.  If the Summit's young entrepreneurs can pull off their significant, but low-key plans, which they consistently state will always show a reverence for the history and traditions of Powder Mountain, as well as the environmental and community impact of each aspect of the development - most locals seem to agree that the Valley and its residents will only benefit.

Russ Watts, the builder for the Summit Group's Powder Mountain development, gave a thorough presentation of what the various aspects of the project will entail, and his presentation was also well-received.

As the Summit Group waits for the final board and commission approvals for the initial stages of the development, which could come within the next month, the real estate market in the Ogden Valley continues to show significant signs of recovery.  This is the second piece of the puzzle.  The majority of bank-owned properties and short sales, which dominated the market and kept prices low over the past four years, have largely disappeared.  Prices have begun to rise, more properties are being sold, and there are many more folks looking...more potential buyers.  There has been a great deal of recent, positive, national press about the Ogden area and the Ogden Valley, and it is being felt in both an increase in skier days at the Valley's three ski resorts (Snowbasin; Powder Mountain; Wolf Mountain) and the upswing in the real estate market.  The recent national jobs report showed a large increase in construction jobs and home prices are climbing significantly across the country and in Utah.  A strong real estate recovery in the Ogden Valley should continue.

The third factor, and what would surely be a major force for the development of the Ogden Valley and a spike in real estate prices, is the date Snowbasin finally breaks ground on its base village, lodging and property ownership options.  Snowbasin, the site of the 2002 Olympic downhills, super-gs and combined alpine events, with its huge and diverse mountain, stunning lodges and world-class lift system and infrastructure - is still the gorilla-in-the-room related to the evolution of the Ogden Valley into an elite level resort destination.  According to reliable sources, their master plan, released to the public over two years ago, is in the final stages of the necessary approvals from Weber and Morgan counties.

Snowbasin hired a new general manager for the 2012/2013 season and beyond, and he is an extremely knowledgeable industry veteran who oversaw the development of the base village at Northstar, a Lake Tahoe area resort.  The Holding family, who owns Snowbasin and Sun Valley, are notoriously tight-lipped, but speculation is rampant that the long-anticipated base development at the resort is just around the corner.  When it does happen, it will be huge news in the ski and snowboard industry, and could set off a land rush of sorts in the Ogden Valley.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Utah Ski Property Investment Currently a Great Deal

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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.


Real estate Investors should be flocking to Utah towns in close proximity to the state's ski resorts, as well as to the resorts.  Home and land prices are still indicative of a strong buyer's market, while rental rates are up and the inventory available for rental in some areas is beginning to lag behind demand.

It's still a great time to purchase investment property close to Utah's fabled ski resorts, but the clock is ticking.  Many or the bank-owned and short sale properties have been purchased, but prices are still low.  Seasonal rentals are holding steady at the resorts, but long-term rent/leases are in high demand in the cities along the Wasatch, which are no more than a 45 minute drive from a number of resorts.  It is still considerably harder to qualify for a mortgage than it was previous to the real estate bust and recession, and coupled with the lack of property appreciation/depreciation since 2008 - the idea of renting rather than owning is gaining wide acceptance.  Which, of course, is good news for real estate investors.

But as the inventory of homes is further depleted and the economy continues to improve, prices could move higher quickly.  Very little inventory in terms of spec homes has been added over the past four years.  The Fed has promised to keep interest rates low, but they will eventually start to rise, and as banks ease their mortgage requirements, there could be a sort of gold-rush from those who have been waiting on the sidelines to purchase property.

One of the best current markets for investors is Ogden, Utah.  Ogden was recently voted the #2 ski town in the USA by Powder Magazine.  The historic town of 80,000 is less than a thirty minute drive from Snowbasin, the world-class mountain that hosted the downhills, super-gs and combined skiing events during the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Powder Mountain, with over 5,000 acres of terrain and 500" annual inches of Utah powder, and Wolf Mountain, are less than 45 minutes away.  SLC International airport is a 30 minute drive, a number of the town's neighborhoods are connected to hiking and biking trails into the Wasatch, and the cost of living is low.  Single family homes suitable for rental in a National Historic District in Ogden can be purchased for less than $100,000.

Although many real estate investors took substantial financial hits during the recent market downturn, opportunities for a reversal of that scenario now exist.  Property prices are low and likely headed up, in contrast to inflated prices before the downturn.  Rental rates are up, and if an investor has the resources to buy and maintain a property rather than counting on a quick flip or dramatic appreciation, the short term and long term returns can be significant.  Particularly as compared with the essentially non-existent returns on savings accounts and money markets.

Additional Thoughts

If you are interested in investment real estate in the Ogden/Ogden Valley, Utah area, contact Lisa Karam (801 791-8801; Ogden Valley Real Estate Guide).  She has extensive experience as a local real estate agent and investor.

If you are going to be in the Ogden/Ogden Valley area looking at property in March and are interested in photography, check out this link.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Utah Ski Resort Property Deals Vanishing Fast

Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics: 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.


The terrific deals on real estate at, and in close proximity to, Utah's ski resorts, are vanishing at a rapid rate.  Foreclosures, short sales, and other significantly discounted properties are selling briskly as buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are now trying to avoid being left out.  Far fewer distressed properties are coming on the market, so the available inventory will continue to decline, and prices will continue to rise.

Sales activity and prices continue to increase across the board all along the Wasatch front, mirroring the national trend, although some areas are emerging from the real estate recession faster than others.

Average resale prices of homes and condominiums at many of Utah's major ski resort areas are still in the $100.00 per sq. ft. or less range, including Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons and the Salt Lake Bench, The Ogden Valley and Ogden Bench, and Sundance and the Provo Bench.

With the Summit Series purchase of Powder Mtn. (December 2012 blog entry), speculation that Snowbasin may soon start that resort's long anticipated base development, and a number of recent national articles in major publications touting Ogden and the Ogden Valley's Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Wolf Mountain resorts, this area could have some of the most dramatic real estate appreciation over the next few years.  At this point, prices are still relatively low. 

Again, time to look and buy. Don't wait any longer if you want to get in on the last of the great Utah ski property deals.

While you're looking at property, and if you have a family member or friend who wants to learn to ski or snowboard, check out Utah's ski resort's participation in January's national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.  Every resort is taking part with special packages, and a sampling is listed below.

Alta is offering a First Time Learn to Ski Package all season long.  For $199, first time skiers will receive four two-hour classlessons, four beginner lift tickets and four days of complimentary rental.

Park City's StartNOW has a great offer for beginning skiers and snowboarders.  For $200, the five-day program includes a lift ticket, beginner ski or snowboard lessons, and ski or snowboard equipment rental.

Snowbasin is offering the Lucky 13 Program.  For $39 an individual will receive a Little Cat Lift Ticket, two-hour group lesson and basic rentals.

As this blog entry is being published, the Wasatch is being pounded with the "Greatest Snow on Earth."  Resorts have reported up to 2 ft. over the past 24 hrs., the lake effect has kicked in, and another 1-2 ft. is expeccted over the next 24 hrs.