Archive for November, 2009

Park City Failed Development

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

             The Park Record reported Saturday that a portion of the Black Rock Ridge Development outside Park City, Utah has been sold to the Talisker Company and is slated to become employee/affordable housing.  Talisker owns the Canyons, Tuhaye, Empire Canyon and other properties in Summit and Wasatch Counties. Black Rock Ridge was slated to be a community of approximately 250 condominiums and townhomes ranging form 800 to 2000 square feet. The development offered its first completed models for sale in early 2008.

            Black Rock Ridge was promoted as affordable mountain style townhomes and condominiums in Park City, Utah. The development offered new construction homes at prices just below $300 per square foot. The product appeared well received, but the timing was poor. Black Rock Ridge is technically in Wasatch County and not Park City. This may have had something to do with its poor sales too as Wasatch County is outside of the nationally ranked Park City School District.

            Five unit sales in Black Rock Ridge were recorded across the Park City MLS. The remaining project was foreclosed upon by the bank this past spring. What will happen with the uncompleted common area amenities and future phases of the development is unknown. The Talisker Corporation purchased 26 of the unfinished units and has an agreement with Park City which will allow Talisker to use them (along with other concessions) to satisfy some of their employee and affordable housing components of the Empire Pass development. A Talisker representative was quoted as saying the company would sell the 9 townhomes at market value and the 17 condominiums when complete for $200K – $240K. The current owners at Black Rock Ridge will welcome some completion to the project, but are unhappy (to say the least) that the development will become “affordable housing” as the impact on their investment is decidedly negative.


            The location of Black Rock Ridge is less than 5 miles from the center of Park City making the area easily accessible. There are 2 other residential developments currently under construction in the area – Park’s Edge and The Retreat at Jordanelle. There are also commercial development possibilities in the area which is home to Stock Building Supply. Presently the area is a bit of no-man’s land and given the current economic state, it may be a while before this changes. The group advises to carefully examine these and other unfinished Park City real estate developments before purchasing.

Pricing Schemes in Utah

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

             I recently read a blog post by another Utah real estate agent discussing Buyers in her area that were putting in offers on property that were sure to be accepted by sellers (as they would be the highest priced offers) with the background idea that the property would later not appraise for the offer price and then the seller would lower the price to the appraisal value and settle on that as the selling price.

            It is an interesting type of bidding scheme and an idea that probably works well for short sales and bank owned properties in the current national real estate market where appraisers are bearing some of the blame for our financial crisis.

            Buyers using the ‘offer high and hope to pay less’ tactic are counting on the appraisal coming in lower than the offer price. This will mean that the Buyer can’t get their expected loan or that they simply state that they are not willing to “overpay” for the home unless the price is lowered.

            Appraisers in Park City currently have a tough time with property appraisals not only because they are under increased scrutiny, but also because there are relatively few sales and therefore finding a comparable property that has sold recently can be tough.

            I have seen a few Park City real estate sales recently that were affected by low appraisals. The end result is not always a lower price. In one recent case, the seller did lower the sales price (although not to the appraised price). In another case of an appraisal lower than the agreed upon sales price, the seller just removed the property from the market; effectively stating that they would not sell for what the appraiser had established was market value. The Buyer did subsequently purchase the home at the original offer price.

            The Buyer’s side tactic of offering over what the buyer wants to pay in hopes of an appraisal effectively lowering the price may or may not work in Park City. It is probably best left to investors that have no emotional attachment to the property they are buying. The group suggests finding a property that you want based on location, features and local amenities. Present an offer that makes sense to you as a buyer. The appraisal may give you an idea of fair market value or it may not. Appraisers only have data as to other “similar” sales, but no two properties are alike. In the end, fair market value can be defined by a willing Seller and a willing Buyer.