Jackson Hole real estate’s doughnut hole

Fall has been fabulous in Jackson Hole so far, with crisp mornings and warm days.

High-end Jackson Hole properties led the way in September with 33 percent of all closings at or above $1.75 million. At the other end of the market, approximately 40 percent of all sales were below $450,000.

In the middle, however, only two residential properties in Teton County sold for a price between $450,000 and $1.16 million. This creates a pretty wide doughnut hole of activity resulting in a median price in September of $640,000 and a disparate average sales price of $1.89 million.

Overall, unit sales in September totaled 33 with a volume of approximately* $62.5 million. The month compares similarly to September 2011, which posted 39 unit sales for $49 million, both high-water marks for that year.

Why is there such a large gap in sales activity for homes valued between $500,000 and $1.25 million? So far in 2012, 40 percent of the 276 sales during the first three quarters closed below $500,000 while 30 percent of all sales closed above $1.25 million. That means less than one in three sales were in this range, which includes the median and average for 2012 sales.

Not all the great views in Teton County include the Teton Range. Taken from south of Wilson overlooking the Snake River.

It may simply be a reflection of the limits of the buying power of the majority of households. If a family earning $120,000 per year should limit their mortgage to no more than three times that figure, and they can manage to come up with down payment of about $75,000, that means they can only afford about $435,000 worth of home.

There are plenty of households making more than $120,000, but they diminish quickly with every $10,000 increment, perhaps about as fast as the sales drop off above $500,000.

On the other side of the gap, for the significant amount of households remaining that make more than $200,000 per year, the inventory priced between $500,000 and $1 million is less appealing than higher-priced options, which include homes in lower-density neighborhoods outside Town of Jackson, quality second homes, income properties and premium building sites.

Autumn is the best time for golf in Wyoming. Pictured is the 13th at Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis.

There were five vacant lot sales in the month for 49 so far in 2012, extending what is already the strongest year since 2008 building sites. Three building sites sold in the doughnut hole, including a 6-acre site on Gros Ventre North listed at $675,000 and a 4-acre site near Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis listed for $1.1 million.

Please contact me for a more vertical look at recent sales or a personalized discussion of the Jackson Hole real estate market.

* Three sales prices were not reported to Teton County Multiple Listing Service, including a ranch within Grand Teton National Park listed at $13.9 million. Sales volume was approximated based on estimated closing values which may or may not reflect actual sales prices.

All information is provided by Teton County Multiple Listing Service and deemed accurate and reliable, though not guaranteed.

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