Dept. of the Interior

Park City's Real Estate Boom

Young, new, and modern are what’s driving Park City’s recovered real estate market.

By Cole D. Lehman June 1, 2014 Published in the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of Park City Magazine

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The Enclave's modern townhomes cater to the new Park City buyer.

Park City’s real estate market has once again proven its resiliency and has fully recovered from the low point of the Great Recession in 2008. No longer are homes languishing behind for-sale signs while rare buyers make unrealistically low offers. Properties are selling fast—as in hours versus days—to buyers coming to the table with cash offers.

A string of positive PR has helped fuel the now vigorous local market. Last year Outside magazine named our city the “Best Town Ever,” Vail Resorts brought a new crop of potential buyers to town with its de facto purchase of Canyons, and the Sundance Film Festival extended its contract through 2026. Pretty impressive props for a city that just 60 years ago was considered a ghost town.

Among the biggest changes afoot with Park City’s latest real estate renaissance are the buyers: they’re younger, they like modern homes, and they want them brand new.

Steve Chin, of Chin, MacQuoid, Fleming & Harris Luxury Resort Real Estate, explains the distinct shift in the age of buyers he’s matching with homes. “We’re seeing younger buyers, between 40 and 55, versus the typical 50- to 70-year-old range we saw in the past,” he says. “As the economy improves, the earning power of these younger buyers is coming back. Bonuses are being reinstated, and the tech markets are flourishing again.”

This influx of younger professionals from San Francisco, New York City, and Texas comes with a change in taste. Extravagant log cabins are out. Contemporary architecture and design are in. Demand for these homes is high, and the number of homes available in that style is low. That means the right home sells fast. “I recently represented a clean and updated, one-level home in Park Meadows that was under contract less than 24 hours after it listed,” says Scott Maizlish of Summit Sotheby’s International Realty.

Carol Anne Kret of Keller Williams Park City Real Estate enjoys th eopportunity to find her clients what they’re looking for in this market. “The smart money already recognizes the trend and is actively looking right now,” she says. “People often wait until the market has moved too far, and in a market like this, it’s been really satisfying to offer clients with foresight their pick of the inventory before prices ramp up.”

Don’t expect this trend to slow down anytime soon. Utah’s reliable economy and burgeoning tech startup scene combined with Salt Lake City’s potential Google Fiber network are sure to draw even more young professionals to the area. They’ll be looking to Park City to get out of the inversion and into the mountain town life. If you’re planning on selling a home soon, it might be time for a remodel.

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