Is the notion of buying mountain property as an investment dead? So proclaims an article in the November 2011 issue of SKI magazine. No doubt ski properties across the country have taken a hit over the last several years. This article cites 30 % declines in Eagle County, Colorado condos and 40% drops in Lake Tahoe single family homes, numbers that aren’t far off of what we have seen in Summit County. These declines, however, pale in comparison to many non-ski markets like Florida, Nevada and California. They also are far less severe than what was experienced on Wall Street and public certainly hasn’t declared the death of stock investments.
In my mind, predicting that values will never go up again is just as naïve as the predictions that they would never fall. Sure there will be variability, but the long term trend has been and is likely to remain upward.
That said, I can’t disagree with the articles point that buying for high personal use is the best deal. That is the case for many of the same reasons that owning rather than renting your primary residence is attractive. First, you build equity. Even without a rising price value you will build equity versus spending on hotels or condo rentals. Second, it’s personal. It’s your furniture, your decorations, your clothes in the closets. No need to lug tons of luggage every time you visit. Third is familiarity and relationships. Sure it is nice to see different places but it sure is convenient to know where everything is and see people you know. Finally, there is the pride of ownership. Owning your own ski retreat has an element of prestige. It also will make you high on your friends and families popularity list.
Bottom line – owning a ski property is great for those that intend to use it frequently and it could turn out to be a rewarding investment as well.