I was reminded this week by a long time Jackson Hole real estate pro, with 30+ years experience, that real estate is "local". What this means is that Jackson Hole is effectively an island, which can not be expanded outward into the suburbs. There are no suburbs in Jackson Hole! Certainly there are commuter markets which are located outside the general Jackson Hole valley, which have an abundance of private land. These areas are much more affected by the supply portion of the macroeconomic conditions which are prevalent.
When your comparing Jackson Hole to other resort communities, the neighboring counties are not a true comparison. More realistic comparisons are the top tier mountain resort communities, such as Aspen, Telluride and Park City/Deer Valley. However, getting back to the local phenomenon, what differentiates Jackson Hole from these other top tier mountain resort communities is: lack of state income tax; airport which is conveniently located, wide variety of high quality recreational amenities, unmatched scenery and diverse amenities of town and the Village. Did I forget to mention the new tram at JHMR! Of course this is not an all inclusive list, but some of the big factors which combine to create a highly demanded, exclusive, mountain resort oriented community, with a finite supply of real estate. This is the demand side.
Since real estate is considered a long term investment, it is important to recognize these factors. In the long term, demand will likely increase, due to the retiring baby boomers and desire of many high net worth people to live in such a exclusive area. It does not take more than a few dozen newcomers to have an affect on real estate values in this area. On the supply side, there is limited potential increase, which will be mostly infill. Some large tracts of land exist in this valley, but it is unlikely that they will be developed in such a fashion to have a significant impact on the supply side. Meaning, what you see today will change slowly in Jackson Hole, and real estate should continue to be highly coveted.
In conclusion, the reason most of us live in Jackson Hole is the unmatched quality of life, with world class amenities, amazing scenery and ecosystem, and lack of state income tax. These factors directly relate to the demand for owning real estate in this valley and the intangible associated benefits.
Review of a recent site sale and pending sales in Teton Board of Realtors MLS, this week, indicate buyers have not lost sight of these factors.
Have a great weekend.