Park City General News

4th Quarter 2021 PARK CITY, UT Market Stats

January 24, 2022 – The remarkable rise in homes sold and sale prices that we experienced since shortly after the global pandemic struck in the latter half of 2020 continued unabated through all of 2021. Sale prices for single-family homes in the primary market area of Summit and Wasatch Counties as reported by the Park City Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service showed strong appreciation with increases in both average (Up 28%) and median (Up 24%).

Despite appreciation slowing the rate of sales (units were down in many areas), the overall dollar volume increased (Up 6%). Fears that the market might be overheated and could not sustain such appreciation for the longer term were unsupported by market activity. Major financial indicators such as continued low mortgage interest rates and active involvement of the federal government in money supply control pointed to a sustained bull market in housing.

2021 turned out to be a record setting year for a couple of reasons. Obviously, the sales volumes and average price increases set records. But to fully appreciate the historical significance of these records, it’s important to consider them in the context of the continuing health crisis and economic turmoil. To do that, and to make valid comparisons, we are reporting the past four years of activity.

Two years ago in January 2020, the U.S. real estate market was rolling right along when we first heard talk of a mysterious illness overseas. No one had the slightest thought that it could totally change life over here. The first report the CDC received of the outbreak in China was on January 5, 2020. So, the comparison of 2018 to 2019 is the last “normal” market comparison. The first confirmed case in the US was reported in Washington on January 20th.

Thus began the invisible spread of epic proportions across the planet, as we learned the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic.

By March, we were seeing the beginning of what would come to be called the COVID housing market in the U.S. Buyers, facing lock downs and work-from-home mandates, started looking for housing further away from metro centers. In June, the World Bank predicted the worst economic recession since WW-II. But instead, people started moving.

In the beginning it was anyone’s guess as to what was going on then. Nobody was coming out. Showings stopped (or went virtual). Contract offers stopped. Closings stopped. The industry stopped. Then the most unexpected thing happened: the stop stopped. The market not only came back to life, it boomed, setting records and defying expectations over the ensuing 24 months and in the process changing the way Americans live and where.

Many saw it as an opportunity for a change in lifestyle, thinking if they are forced to work from home then home should be somewhere I want to work from – somewhere less crowded than the city with elbow room and a scenic view out the office window.

Through all the ups and downs of virus variants, mask mandates, school closings, social distancing requirements and finally vaccines and boosters, the real estate market rolled on and agents persevered. In the process, it set all sorts of sales records. Inventory plummeted, driving up sales prices and pricing many buyers out of the market. Sellers who wanted to cash in on the appreciated value of their homes could not because of the daunting task of finding replacement housing. By late summer of 2020, sales were white hot, prices were rising, competition was fierce, and by the end of 2020 we set sales records with volume nearly doubling over 2019 and prices rising more than 25%.

The resort and luxury home markets were less affected by these trends than other areas, even within Utah. A year ago, as the stay-at-home restrictions were being relaxed, the market reacted strongly with buyers coming out in droves. The sales spurt continued through the middle of 2021 with each month’s sales numbers exceeding those of the previous month and year. 

Finally, the pent-up demand for homes was subsiding and by autumn it was clear that monthly sales tallies of units sold were falling short of the same week the year before. But the volume of contracts and sales prices in the first six months of 2021 provided enough momentum to guarantee that, even with a slight slowdown in the pace of purchases, 2021 would end by setting new records for total sales volume and average/median price appreciation. 

Price appreciation continues to be driven by a dearth of available inventory. Pending contracts continue to far outstrip new listings coming to market. PCMLS active inventories peaked in May 2020 at just over 2,000 listings and has been on a downhill slide ever since. At the end of 2020 there were only 541 residential properties for sale across the entire marketplace. By the end of 2021 that number was 265 and many of those were still under construction.

Some neighborhoods always fare better than others and the year-end results were no exception.

For Single Family homes, all but one (Kamas Valley) of the major areas that make up the greater Park City market showed drops in units sold in 2021 versus 2020. However, because of the historic rises in median prices, only two of the major areas (Park City limits and Jordanelle) showed declines in total sales volume.

Condo sales were even stronger across the entire market range. The Heber and Kamas valleys showed declines in total sales volume, primarily due to a lack of inventory to sell. Within Park City limits, condo sales volume was up 52% as median sale prices jumped 36%. In the Snyderville Basin, sales climbed 23% with average and median prices spiking 18% and 21% respectively.

New listings and listing inventory, however, were a totally different story, with both dropping to historic lows.

Comparing the 12-months ending December 31, 2021, to the same period in 2020: 

  • Not only were homes selling quickly, but not as many were being offered for sale. New listings in 2020 totaled 3,641. That dropped 15% in 2021 to 3,077.
  • PCMLS members signed 3,764 purchase contracts in 2021, nearly as many as were signed in 2020 (3,869) Those few homes coming to market were snatched up almost immediately maintaining the dramatic drop in inventory.
  • With Pendings running higher than New Listings, available inventory started to shrink even more dramatically. 541 residential properties were active at the end of 2020, compared to 265 at the end of 2021. The active inventory as we begin 2022 is barely more than 15% of our pre-Covid low water mark (1,715) in December 2017.

Overall, how did the local market fare? Here is our take on the total year-long results reported on a rolling year-over-year basis for the period ending December 31, 2021.

Single Family Homes

Overall sales units dropped 14%, but a 26% rise in prices more than made up the difference in sales volume. In 2021, $3.24 Billion in total sales was 8% higher than the 2020 total of $2.99 Billion.

Highlights of the single-family home market:

  • Within Park City Limits, total unit sales were down 26% over 2020 to 225 units but sales volume declined just 2% from $868 million last year to $847 million this year.
  • The median price of a single-family home across the city rose 32% to $3.3 million.
  • In the popular Old Town area units were down 24% (101 to 77) but sales volume dipped only 7% (to $204 million) as the median price set a new record at $2.5 million.
  • The Prospector and Thaynes Canyon neighborhoods bumped Aerie for the grand prize for greatest increase in median price, with Thaynes up 71% to $2.3 million and Prospector up 87% to $2.4 million.
  • Snyderville residents saw a slight rise in sales volume (up 9%) on a strong increase in the overall median price up 21% to $1.9 million.
  • Almost all the Snyderville neighborhoods saw declines in units sold with Glenwild dropping the most (53%) to 19 units. Silver Springs had the biggest gain with 46 homes sold, up 28%.
  • Promontory led the Snyderville neighborhoods in sales volume ($412 million, up 9%) while Canyons Village saw the biggest price increase with the median in that neighborhood passing $11.8M, up 73% year over year. 
  • The hotspots south and east of the metro area around the Heber and Kamas valleys showed substantial median price increases of 26% and 42%, respectively.
  • Prices were particularly robust in the South Jordanelle area, where the median rose 22% to $3.4 million. 
  • Heber Valley saw a slight dip in units sold, but 19% higher sales volume propelled by a median price that jumped 26% to $899,000.

Despite fluctuations in the regional markets, Single Family sales activity in the primary market area was markedly up compared to the year prior with sales volume up 6% and median prices up 24%. 

Single Family Summary  End of Q4 2021Qty Sold% ChgSales Volume % Chg Average Price % Chg Median Price% Chg
Park City225-26%847,405,791-2%3,887,18234%3,305,00032%
Snyderville Basin445-15%1,256,955,8119%2,830,98128%1,900,00021%
Jordanelle82-24%214,883,235-11%2,620,52717%2,350,000-4%
Heber Valley353-18%469,420,01619%1,329,80146%899,00026%
Kamas Valley1412%171,009,97415%1,212,83612%850,00042%
Wanship/Hoytsville56-24%46,143,8812%823,99734%702,50041%
Total Primary Market Area (Summit & Wasatch Counties)*1,306-17%3,011,137,3606%2,321,61728%1,550,00024%

* Primary Market totals include only Summit and Wasatch counties and are not totals for all areas.           

Condominiums

  • The Condo market in Old Town Park City continued to be solid with sales up (23%) in units but 63% in volume on a gain in median price of 18% to $805,000.
  • Lower Deer Valley was the standout neighborhood performer with sales nearly doubling driving the median price to $1.48 million, up 49%.
  • Empire Pass sales were very strong. Units sold were up 49% and sales volume up 83%, as the median price jumped 24% to $3.3 million.
  • In the Snyderville area, outside of perennial volume leader Canyons Village, Pinebrook led in sales volume (up 70%) while most of the other Snyderville neighborhoods saw sales decline due to lack of inventory.
  • In Wasatch County, (areas with 10 or more sales are reported) Jordanelle Park, Tuhaye, and Hideout all saw gains of 70% to 100% or more in sales volume, with Jordanelle Park leading the price gain parade, up 111% to $28.4 million. 
Condominium Summary  End of Q4-2021Qty Sold% ChgSales Volume % Chg Average Price % Chg Median Price% Chg
Park City51119%898,653,97952%1,772,49328%1,300,00036%
Snyderville Basin5354%478,959,56423%895,25118%710,00021%
Jordanelle29228%252,447,15464%864,54529%799,95019%
Heber Valley52-30%24,977,320-22%480,33311%387,50015%
Kamas Valley2-80%1,040,000-79%520,0003%520,0004%
Total Primary Market Area (Summit & Wasatch Counties)*1,39311%1,656,938,01841%1,192,90028%815,00021%

* Primary Market totals include only Summit and Wasatch counties and are not totals for all areas.

Vacant Land

  • Land sales exploded in fourth quarter as buyers who could not find an existing home to their liking elected instead to build their own.
  • Jordanelle showed the most activity selling 431 lots this year compared to 314 in 2020. Those lots sold for nearly twice the price of lots in 2020. The median sale price was $640,000, up 97% from $324,500 the year before.
  • Overall land sales in Summit and Wasatch counties were up just 14%, however, the price increase expected when supply decreases and demand remains steady, pushed the median sales price for land region wide up 80% to $586,000. 
  • All the major areas of the market saw a substantial increase in sales volume. Jordanelle led the way with $337.9 million in sales, 143% of the previous year’s total for the second year in a row.
  • Only 40 lots sold within the Park City Limits but that lack of available lots pushed the median sale price for the few that were bought to $1.89 million, up 57% from the year before. 
Land Sales Summary End of Q4-2021Qty Sold% ChgSales Volume % Chg Average Price % Chg Median Price% Chg
Park City40-7%81,958,37529%2,048,95936%1,885,00057%
Snyderville Basin2460%318,969,00044%1,296,62144%775,00029%
Jordanelle43137%337,695,180143%783,51577%640,00097%
Heber Valley24415%139,472,61475%571,60953%375,12560%
Kamas Valley103-2%78,588,10143%762,99146%350,00035%
Wanship/Hoytsville77-3%18,319,53293%237,91698%124,50013%
Total Primary Market Area Summit & Wasatch Counties)*1,14614%978,366,80271%853,72350%586,25080%

* Primary Market totals include only Summit and Wasatch counties and are not totals for all areas.

Opinion and Observation

What do Park City agents see coming in the next three to six months? Here are a few observations about the important market results that point the way coming from those with their fingers on the pulse of the market.

ON SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

  • Even with the drop in units sold, the sales volume has stayed the same or increased because of the big increases in median prices. And this is not just happening locally; it is happening in markets across the country.
  • Park City has enjoyed a strong, sustained market because of its unique positioning as a resort and recreation market.
  • Utah is 50,000 housing units short of meeting demand, and we cannot build our way out of this dilemma soon enough. This supply problem will not be solved anytime soon. Utah can build only 15-17,000 new units per year, so there is no light at the end of this tunnel.
  • Construction costs continue to rise due to supply constraints and labor costs. Coming in under $600-700/sq. ft. is not happening. And that’s not counting the land costs. But that hasn’t deterred sales or wait lists.
  • Homes are selling so fast that buyers need to be able to make an offer the minute that a property comes on the market.
  • Park Meadows replaced Prospector as the most stable neighborhood in the Park City metro area with prices remaining relatively stable compared to the other highly appreciating neighborhoods.
  • Within the Park City Limits, the volume of sales fell 2% from last year, but prices climbed. It now costs more than $3.3 million (median sale price) to buy a house in town in Park City. 
  • The northern neighborhoods that make up Snyderville Basin — Pinebrook, Silver Springs, Summit Park and Jeremy Ranch – continue to be the more popular areas, with 40 or more sales in each (exceeded by only Promontory in total number of sales). 
  • Deer Mountain, historically a more affordable area around the Jordanelle, has seen median prices double in the past four years.  

In a superb example of how dramatically this market is changing, Rick Klein, local lender and long-time, frequent contributor to our agents’ understanding of market statistics called the performance in 2021, “Nothing short of spectacular.” As an example of the magnitude of the change, Rick has compared market times for Single Family homes sold in 2021 to those in 2020 and 2019, based on whether the asking price was above or below the median for the area. 

At the end of 2019, the median price of a single-family home in Park City was just over $1.9 million and the average market time was 8.2 months. Homes priced below the median sold on average in 3.5 months while those above the median took more than a year to sell. 

Fast forward two years. At the end of 2021, the median price of a single-family home in Park City was just over $3.3 million and the average market time was 1.1 months. Homes priced below the median sold on average in 0.2 months (that’s less than a week) while those above the median sold in 2.0 months.   

Single FamilyMedian Sale PriceMedian Mkt TimeIf <$MedianIf >$Median
2019$1,980,0008.2 months3.5 months12.9 months
2020$2,500,0003.4 months1.3 months5.5 months
2021$3,305,0001.1 months0.2 months2.0 months

These differences in market time based on price confirm that a Realtor’s help in setting a realistic list price is absolutely crucial for achieving a quick sale. 

ON CONDOS: 

  • The lowest median price for a condo in Park City continues to be in Prospector where the median price is up 37% but still hovers just under $300,000.
  • The overall median price across all neighborhoods within Park City is up to $1.3 million, a 36% increase in the past year (up from $956,000).
  • People that used to spend three to five weeks each year in Park City are now spending three to five months, and this is pushing the sale of larger units up to higher prices.
  • In the Canyons, Yotelpad dominated condo sales at the lower end of the market with nearly 25% of sales happening in that development. The median Yotel condo sold for $365,000 while the remainder of the Canyons the median price was nearly three times that, $945,000.

ON VACANT LAND:

  • Land continues to appreciate at higher rates than existing housing due to the continuing adage that they’re not making any more of it. Across Summit and Wasatch counties combined, median sale prices were up over 80% from 2020 to $586,000 per parcel.
  • Total land sales for 2021 surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time. Last year total sales were just under $600 million.

What is the new normal?

Given all the disruption in the market, some good some not, over the past 20 years, perhaps it’s a worthy exercise to see how far we have deviated from normal. To do that, we need to define “normal” for the Park City market and that isn’t as easy as it might seem.

Looking back over the past 21 years, we see 15 years when total sales transactions were between 1,000 and 2,000. Nine of those were within a few points above or below 1,500. In the two years after Subprime Mania and the Covid Pandemic sales topped 2,000 and in the three years of the great recovery, they were below 1,000. So the old normal seems to hover right around 1,500 units per year. But is the new normal the seven-year stable era we saw just before the pandemic changed our world? Or is it somewhere above 2,000 as we have seen during a medical crisis that should have rocked the market but instead rocketed it to new stratospheric heights? We will find out in 2022 and beyond. 

Overall Impressions

High demand and low inventory lead to explosive price gains. Over past two years single family residences in the Basin are up 50%, in-town they’re up 67% and in Heber Valley up 71%. 

Looking forward:  There probably is no “new normal” on the way anytime soon. External market disruptors are common and will continue to be unpredictable. We are at least a year or two from a more stable and balanced market given current demand and declining inventory issues.

Real estate in the Wasatch back consists of highly segmented markets with nuances that vary significantly from one neighborhood to another and one house to another. Comparisons are hard to read on paper due to the unique features of individual properties, such as amenities, condition, style, location, age, view, and inventory. Buyers and Sellers are advised to contact a local Park City Board of REALTORS® Professional for the most accurate, detailed, and current information.

About Joanne O'Connell

Joanne has lived in Park City for 21 years, having practiced real estate for the last 15 of those. She’s had two children move up through the Park City School District and is very involved in the Community! Joanne understands and loves this community, is dedicated to customer service, and has long-term commitments with all of her clients!

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