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Posted by Jay Emmer on April 23, 2020
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Normally, I would not open my newsletter with a lengthy editorial piece, but due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control I feel compelled to get a few thoughts out to you. If you prefer to skip straight to the market data it is located at about the mid-point of the newsletter.

These are unprecedented times for most of us on this planet. The situation that we find ourselves in is extremely challenging, but along with those challenges comes opportunities. At the top of the “Opportunities List” that I have created since the manifestation of the pandemic is the opportunity to learn. I feel that one of the difficult things confronting us at this time is: for all that we know, or thought we knew, we still have a lot to learn. The flip side of that challenge is that learning is good. That being said, I also feel it is very important to know that despite all of the challenges that we now face, and the losses that we have experienced, we will be okay.

My family and I – and much of the world – have been sheltering in place and practicing social distancing for over a month. Idaho just declared that the state will continue doing so until at least April 30th. Despite this situation, my family and I, and most of our community, feel blessed to call this Valley home and that we are able to get outside and enjoy the many things that are still available to us in this amazing place.

We are grateful that as spring progresses and the snow melts we are still able to enjoy many of the Valley’s world class outdoor offerings; that there is more than enough space for us to spread out and very easily adhere to social distancing guidelines while taking a walk, a run, hiking, biking, or skinning up and skiing down Baldy or Dollar.

We are grateful that most of the Valley’s restaurants are offering their same delicious fare via take-out; that Valley grocery stores are delivering curbside to our cars and even our homes. And, that despite the cancellation of the vibrant social scene that comes with the end of the ski season, and that naturally blossoms with the warmth of spring, we can still look forward to the beautiful summer days that a Sun Valley summer brings.

We are grateful for the altruism of first responders, the medical staff of the Wood River Valley’s hospital and medical system, the front line employees and delivery people for the “essential” businesses that have been able to stay open – all of who have done an exemplary job at great risk to themselves; we are grateful, too, for all the people that make this place what it is, as well as for the philanthropy and generosity of everyone that loves this valley enough to help make it as incredible as it is.

We are grateful.

I do not know how all of this is going to play out. I am not a financial or economic analyst or expert, I am a Realtor. I do spend a lot of time and energy on information gathering and analysis of the world’s, national and local economies because I am interested and want to be as informed as possible in the interest of providing you with an educated perspective on your real estate interests, activities and goals. However, as stated previously, these are unprecedented times. I am not going to attempt to convince you of anything by using this space, or your time, to present you with charts comparing what is happening now to what happened in the great depression, great recession, or other times of historic economic disruption. What is happening now, the reasons for it happening, and how governments around the world are responding is different from anything that has ever happened before. Based on that, I do not know – nor do I believe that anyone knows – what things are going to look like when we are on the other side of this pandemic. But, I do know that we will get to the other side.

In the interim, I hope this finds you and yours healthy and well. If there is any way that I can be of service to you right now, or once we are on the other side of this, please do not hesitate to reach out.

We all look forward to dancing outside of our homes once more and we hope to see you on the dance floor.

Thank you,


Despite the abrupt change to how all of us usually go about life and business in March, the first quarter for Real Estate in the Valley reaffirmed several trends that we have been seeing over the past two years.

First, the lack of available residential inventory is causing a reduction in the number of residential sales and is continuing to push prices for available homes up. The average number of days on market, and the discount from a list price to a sales price, are both down significantly.

Second, as a result of the first item (above), the number of vacant land sales has increased significantly. While prices are still below the price levels from 2002 -2007, existing land listings are selling at less of a discount than a year ago and there has been an increase in the pricing of new inventory coming to market.

In general, price levels in most property categories, and in most areas of the valley, are on the rise but have not hit pre-recession highs experienced in the run up to 2008.

How do I interpret what is going on here? In very general terms I believe that if you are a buyer, property in this Valley is still a value when compared to peer resort areas. If you are a seller, this is a good time to sell as long as you have good guidance on pricing.

All of the above being said, the pandemic is having a tremendous impact on the economies of the U.S. and the world. As an integral and significant part of any economy, Real Estate has been affected, too. The early impacts appear to be concentrated in the lending practices of financial institutions; the long term impact is yet to be seen.

For now, check out the Valley’s first quarter real estate statistics below.

  • Vacant land sales, volume and avg. sales are up significantly.
  • Condos sales volume and avg. sales price are up significantly.
  • The number of luxury sales ($2.5M and above) has increased.
  • Sotheby’s International Realty (SIR) corporate data shows that in March 2020 year-over-year property searches for Mountain properties across all SIR websites are up as follows:

Searches containing “Mountain Lifestyles” up 21%Searches containing “Mountain Views” up 38%

Real Estate transactions and listings are still happening even with an
active shelter-in-place order, albeit at a slower pace than usual. I
represented a buyer, and negotiated an accepted offer that is scheduled
to close this month, all while the shelter-in-place order has been active.
This was accomplished while following social distancing guidelines and
exercising every possible precaution to protect the buyer, the occupants
of the home, myself and the seller’s agent. If you would like to know more about how I accomplished this and what type of precautions, measures
and best practices are being put in place to protect you as a buyer or
seller please check out my blog or contact me directly.
Fourth & Main Coming Soon!!
I am honored to give you a first look at the latest renderings of what will be the best mixed-use project in Ketchum’s core! Located on Main St.
between the Fourth St. pedestrian corridor and 5th St. and featuring
unobstructed Baldy views for its 12 luxury private residences, 6
community housing rental residences and Main St. level class A
commercial space. Updates will be posted on my website’s blog and on
the property site: fourthandmainketchum.comContact me with any
questions and stay tuned!
1) Worried about Zoom’s privacy? Click HERE for a guide to video conferencing options.
2) Has fitness become a part of your shelter-in-place routine? Even if not, click HERE to try these exercises that promise you will see results after just one workout!
3) Take Care | 5 Ways to Balance Working from Home and Homeschooling. Click HERE.
4) A good read: Why the Housing Market May Weather Coronavirus Impact Better Than the Great Recession. Click HERE.
Sales Associate
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Sun Valley Sotheby’s International Realty291 North Main Street Ketchum, Idaho 83340208.720.4282 | View Website
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