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6 most (and least) affordable mountain resort towns in the US

06/23/2017

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Your real estate clients dream of skiing across snow-covered peaks in the morning and mountain biking down rocky slopes at night; and now they’ve made up their mind to search for the perfect mountain home.

As you are about to find out, not all mountain homes are created equal and not all can be purchased for the same price. For those living in a two-income household, and taking into account that the average American income is around $50,000 a year, “affordable” lies somewhere between $0 and $300,000.

The list below offers a peek into some of the most affordable and least affordable mountain resorts in the U.S.

Ogden, Utah

Affordability status: affordable

Median home sale price: $122,800

You’ve probably never heard of Ogden, Utah. It’s a pretty ordinary town in an extraordinary place. In fact, with a population of 84,000 (by far the largest on this list), many people forget it’s considered a resort town until they realize Snowbasin and Powder Mountain ski resorts are close by. The peaks nearby shoot up to 9,500 feet, the people are friendly, the single track is endless and the price can’t be beat.

Leavenworth, Washington

Affordability status: affordable

Median home sale price: $251,838

Leavenworth stands as a monument for endless backcountry skiing and superb whitewater rafting. The whole town is Bavarian-themed, and the median home price is just $250,000. Leavenworth also knows how to throw an excellent party as anyone visiting for Oktoberfest or Christmas is sure to find out.

South Lake Tahoe, California

Affordability status: somewhat affordable

Median home sale price: $313,929

Lake Tahoe is the place where Wheel of Fortune would send all of its winners. It’s a beautiful spot complete with a lake, mountains and the best of California and Nevada, which means gambling is included. The city at the south end of the lake is currently going through a development renaissance, so it may be a great time to buy.

Park City, Utah

Affordability status: somewhat unaffordable

Median home sale price: $716,654

With a resident population of only 8,000 and a rotating tourist population of 600,000, Park City isn’t exactly full of empty space. That said, its home prices aren’t unreachable at just over $700,000. Besides, it’s home to the Sundance Film Festival, it has the best snow on Earth and its mountain biking trails are unrivaled. In short, Park City delivers on the hype. It’s a good place to start your search.

Jackson, Wyoming

Affordability status: unaffordable

Median home sale price: $1.025 million

Jackson Hole sure is fun to visit for a weekend, but staying forever … well, that will cost you. The climbing is world-class, and the skiing is unbelievable. The only problem is the city can’t build anymore houses because of the regulations and protected lands in the area. Jackson isn’t growing anytime soon and, for some, that might be a good thing.

Aspen, Colorado

Affordability status: extremely unaffordable

Median home sale price: $2.6 million

Aspen may very well be the most expensive ski town in the country. That means it attracts not just the rich and famous, but the super-rich and ultra-famous. With the median sale price well over $2 million, most employees in the area commute. Aspen got its start as a mining town. Its population steadily declined but then boomed with the development of nearby ski resorts, and it’s back on top today.

Jackson Cooper is a writer and real estate enthusiast at Jensen and Company. Follow Jensen & Company on Twitter or Facebook.

Email Jackson Cooper

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