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Teton Springs in Trouble?

 
News in the Teton Valley of Idaho. Teton Springs sued in U.S District Court.
 
Teton Springs, a planned all seasons resort, located in Victor, Idaho could be credited to jump starting the massive growth that the valley has seen in the past 5 years. The development encompasses a total of 780 acres and includes numerous real estate opportunities, 27 holes of golf (private), fly fishing lakes and streams, a hotel, golf club, fitness facility, swimming pool and endless other amenities. During the past 10 years the developers of Teton Springs have transformed a rolling barley field into the cornerstone of the valley. Since then developments have sprung up all over the valley which include River Rim Ranch, Huntsman Springs and Teton Reserve. Most of these other developments followed the Teton Springs blueprint that if you build it they will come.
 
As we some of us know, times have changed and real estate has slowed in the Teton Valley (see previous post). During the 2007 calendar year, Teton Valley showed continued strength but in the end the growth slowed and did not meet the numbers as 2006. What is very interesting to look at is that Teton Springs recorded numerous land closings that were in the Mountain Meadows area of the development. This was a very interesting development as I was wondering who was purchasing all these properties. In the meantime construction crews swarmed the area and construction took off like we have never seen before. If any of you have ever been to Teton Springs you will understand what I an explaining but if you have not had the chance to see the development this is what it looks like. The lot sizes are no larger than .10 acres and the homes average 2,500 square feet. There are close to 150 of these homes. I remember talking with my wife and saying, “Who is buying all these homes and who is building all these homes?”
 

Maybe a clue to who these buyers are came out in the news last week.  The headline in the Teton Valley News reads…”Teton Springs sued in U.S. District Court.” Over the past few months I have received numerous phone calls from worried buyers that were being told that they were going to have to close on their homes in the next few weeks or months. The buyers, all but one from Idaho, were sold a house/lot combination and were told that by closing they would see an increase in equity of somewhere between $200,000 to $400,000. This has not happened, a matter of fact their investment is worth less than $200,000 to $400,000 than the ibuyers are under contract for or have closed for and most of the plaintiffs are not in a financial situation to close. Even if they could close the case is questioning the developer (Nu Way Partners), the real estate brokerage (All Seasons Realty), the appraisal services (Rivers Edge Appraisal) and the lender (Eagle River Mortgage) on the way the transaction took place. You can read more about this situation at the Teton Valley News website: article written by Lisa Nyren.

With all of this said, Teton Springs is an excellent development.  The golf course is known around the Jackson area as one of the best.  The amenities are fantastic with beautiful ponds, streams, walking trails, cross country skiing and a state of the art fitness and pool facility.  My hope is that all the negative press from the above mentioned article and court case work themselves out and that the development prospers in the near future.  The Mountain Meadows area of the development has some adjustments to work out in inventory and price.  There are some fantastic values in both the Mountain Meadows area and the estate lot homes so if you have interest in the development please do not hesitate to call me to discuss further.

For more information on the Teton Valley of Idaho visit our Idaho Real Estate website – www.TetonValleyExperts.com or our Jackson Hole website www.JacksonHoleExperts.com.

March 7, 2008 Teton Valley Idaho Update

 

Market Update
March 7th, 2008
 
Today I am going to introduce you to the Teton Valley of Idaho.  In the coming days I will give an overall view of the valley explaining the different areas but today I tought I would share some interesting facts, statisics and thoughts about the valley.  First off, the Teton Valley of Idaho, includes the communities of Driggs, Victor and Tetonia.
 
The numbers presented here look at the overall market in 2007 and a quick look at the trends that we are witnessing.  2007 was a disappointing year on both the sales volume side and also in the number of transactions. Sales volume and the number of transactions deceased for the first time since 2003. Other news that dragged on the market was the continued release of additional inventory throughout the valley flooding the market with homes, vacant lots and investment type offerings. The news was not all bad as there were signs of a developing community and some much needed infrastructure improvements. Overall the real estate climate in the Teton Valley continues to show a lot of strength and development but the pressures of outside forces like the economy nation wide, a sagging stock market, changing political environment and competition from other resorts finally took a toll on the market as we saw a decrease in some important statistics.
 
When reviewing the Teton Board of Realtors statistics. sales volume for 2007 was $263,786,400 which is a decline of 15.4% from 2006. Sales volume peaked in 2006 ($311,665,600) which was an 356% increase from 2003. So after 4 years of solid growth, sales volume declined. The only category in which sales volume grew was in vacant building sites which increased by 7%. Sales transactions decreased across the board with residential property transactions decreasing by 22.5% or 72 less sales. Overall the market saw a decrease of 9.4% or 90 transactions. The one positive (if you choose to see it that way) is that the average sales price increased almost 20% for residential units and 8% for vacant land. 
 
When looking at the trends the news does not get much better. Sotheby’s International Realty support personnel looked back until January 2006 and graphed sales volume and units sold. The graph is quite interesting to see but in this format I explain. From January 2006 to December 2006 there was tremendous activity and the graph moves in a noticeable and in some month’s aggressive manner upward. Then through February 2007 till June 2007 the market made another upward move with transactions (sold) in May nearing record activity. What happens next is quite telling. The line almost nose dives from 115 sales in May 2007 to a total of 28 sales in January 2008. January 2008 sales numbers are the lowest since the 4th quarter of 2004. When comparing Q4-07 to Q4-06 the units sold declined 58%.
 
Looking at available inventory in Teton Valley we can see that it is increasing rapidly due to decreased activity and the addition of new inventory on the market. The number of available listings (includes residential and vacant land) in January 2008 are 46% higher than January 2007 and 153% higher than January 2006. The rising inventory coupled with falling unit sales is contributing to the jump in months of inventory.
 
On happier notes: There is a lot of information that shows that the Teton Valley is developing in a quality manner and that there is going to be some sustainable growth. The Teton Valley High School completed an addition earlier this year but with growth in the valley some additional space will be considered later in 2008. The high school has been busy creating a new recreational field and is expected to be ready for the 2008 football season. The facility includes a new track and facilities, a football field, lockers and bleachers. There are a few exciting new restaurants in town which are getting rave reviews from locals. The restaurant at Teton Reserve is doing excellent prix fix dinners on weekends. The Headwaters Club at Teton Springs has been open all winter and it is a great place for a quiet evening of good food. Teton Thai has been busy preparing for their grand opening in Victor in April. Commercial activity has also been very strong. There are developments all along Victor’s main street heading west toward Idaho Falls. There is a new bank, First Bank of the Tetons, which will be open this spring on Main Street. The building is very attractive and is a great addition to the Teton Valley.
 
Overall I feel as if the Teton Valley of Idaho has probably not quite hit the bottom but it is very close. There are numerous quality investments, residential and vacant land parcels that are available and a continued desire for individuals to move to the mountains. Considering the values of Jackson Hole the Teton Valley offers many of the same outdoor opportunities yet offers a lot of opportunity along with value priced properties.
   
If you would like additional information on any of these developments or on the Teton Valley in general please email or call Garth at 877-739-8056 (toll free).