Among all of the impacts we would expect from the ongoing coronavirus crisis, renewed interest in ski resorts doesn’t seem high on the list. But according to a recent report published on the Mansion Global website, that’s exactly what is happening. People looking for vacation homes are looking more frequently at ski resort towns than they have in the past.
Mansion Global incorrectly describes these vacation home buyers as snowbirds, yet that does not change the fact that searches for homes in ski towns were up some 36%, year-on-year, during the fourth quarter 2020. The thinking is that people want vacation homes within driving distance of where they currently live. And if you live in the north, skiing is a great outdoor activity that can be enjoyed with social distancing built in.
The reason such buyers are not snowbirds is as simple as the definition itself. Snowbirds flock to warmer, southern climates during the winter months. If you are looking to buy your second home in a ski town, you are not a snowbird. Nevertheless, towns like North Creek, New York and Eden, Utah are suddenly popular among vacation home buyers.
Strong Performance in Utah
It is no surprise to some that the vacation home market has seen robust performance in Utah. The state is already performing above average for standard home sales, according to Salt Lake City-based CityHome Collective. It has a strong economy, plenty of job opportunities, and wide-open spaces galore. It is the destination of choice for a growing number of buyers.
Mansion Global says that interest in Eden properties is up by more than 100%. Eden sits on Utah’s Wasatch Front and is one of the more popular areas of the state to offer exceptional skiing opportunities. On the Wasatch Back are additional ski towns, like Park City.
Local real estate brokers have a limited supply of homes to offer. But there is good news for buyers in that opportunities for building vacation homes abound. There is plenty of land and a full array of architects and builders just waiting to get to work.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
Whether you are talking Utah, New York, Montana or Colorado, the one thing ski towns have in common is their ability to attract people looking to enjoy the great outdoors more often. Your typical ski town is awash with visitors during the winter months. But in the summer, tourism doesn’t necessarily dry up and go away. There are plenty of people who still visit to enjoy the mountains in the spring and summer.
How does all of this relate to the coronavirus crisis? Well, consider the fact that people are looking to leave cities like New York and Chicago out of fear that staying increases the risk of getting sick. They need somewhere to go. Enter suburban neighborhoods and rural properties.
What is true for buyers looking for permanent residences is also true for others looking to buy vacation homes. They do not want to go to highly congested vacation destinations. For many, that rules out vacation homes in central Florida and the Gulf Coast.
A Changing Demographic
Snowbirds or not, northern residents looking for vacation homes within driving distance are fueling increased interest in ski resorts. They are looking for homes in quaint little ski towns perched on top of snow-capped mountains. They are also changing the demographic for vacation home seekers.
It could be that the increased interest in skiing is just a fad. On the other hand, it could be the wave of the future. Towns like Eden, Utah probably prefer the latter.