PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Real estate recovery makes for healthy Hole

By on April 2, 2013

I’m no expert on these matters, but it appears something good is happening in the Jackson Hole economy. Our depressed real estate prices may be halting their steady decline and beginning to rise. My source for this optimism is The Real Estate Scoreboard.

Tim Mayo of Brokers of Jackson Hole publishes the Scoreboard. In the last two weeks the year-over-year median sales price has finally started to rise. During the 12-month period ending March 31, the median sales price was $662,000.  During the 12-month period ending March 31, 2012, the median was $650,000.

It has been years since our median sales price has risen. I’ve been told that the median price metric is a “blunt measurement,” but it has caught my eye and buoyed my spirits. Psychology is a critical factor in the movement of markets. Nobody wants to buy into a market where prices are falling, but if prices are rising that creates the incentive to not only buy in, but to buy in soon before things get more expensive.

“The real estate market has shown significant positive change in the last six months,” Mayo noted.  He says the key statistic to watch is the number of sales versus the amount of inventory. “In the worst days of the crash we had about 1,000 properties available for sale, but they were only selling at the rate of about 300 per year. A healthy market has a one-to-one ratio. Over the last six months sales activity has risen. 466 properties sold in the 12 months ending March 31, 2013, and the inventory of active listings now stands at 570.”

Why should we care if the real estate market is coming back to life? It’s important because, along with tourism, real estate activity is the biggest private sector driver of our economy. In addition to the hundreds of realtors who have been barely scraping by during this four-year long recession, real estate demand is critical for thousands of people who work in construction and the ancillary businesses that serve that industry.

Since the economic crash our valley has lost thousands of residents who have gone elsewhere to make a living. That loss of population has a far-reaching impact on every sector of the economy. Bars, restaurants, retail, etc., all suffer during a population decline. If real estate turns around our population will rebound, and we will be back in business.

About Judd Grossman

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