If you own ranch real estate that’s close — but maybe not close enough — to your favorite ski mountain, buying a ski house near your Colorado or Wyoming ranch may be something to consider.
This seems to be a growing trend as finding a large ranch for sale close enough to the slopes can be a challenge. Not only does it cut down on your commute from your ranch to the mountain, but a house in town can offer your family and guests different experiences than your ranch activities alone. And, with the resort market still red-hot, the right house in the right town can end up being a great investment.
The resort real estate market
As the pandemic shutdowns pushed many buyers to more remote resort towns, prices took off and haven’t slowed down across the Mountain West. With high demand and high prices for short-term and nightly rentals, many owners of resort homes who are not full-time residents are seeing great annual rental income.
As a western ranch owner looking to offer guests and family members resort-quality amenities, renting out your ski house near your ranch when you’re not using it may be a good option. And, keep in mind that ski homes in the winter are also great summer retreats for anglers and tourists. In the fall, they’re great places to stay for hunters and leaf-peepers. A second home in a resort community is not just a wintertime resource.
Ranch property owners chose the ranch they chose for a reason. The lifestyle suits them. Hunting, fishing and skiing are often very important to ranch real estate owners.
And, taking advantage of the proximity to good ski resorts can be difficult. Even a short 40-mile drive to a ski area in the dead of winter can be challenging.
So, according to Hunter Harrigan of Harrigan Land Co., many ranch owners choose to invest in second homes that are closer to their preferred ski hill.
“Being close to the things they love is important to a lot of ranch owners,” Harrigan says. “Convenience matters, and being able to ski in and ski out, or at least being closer to the mountain, helps these folks enjoy amenities near their ranch.”
A safe, profitable investment
Harrigan monitors the ranch and resort-area real estate markets every day. And while other segments of the real estate market have cooled a bit, ranch acreage and resort-area real estate continue to grow in value.
“Prices in many resort areas throughout the Mountain West have leveled out some but are still climbing,” he said. “With a lot of demand and high prices for nightly rentals, investing in a ski house is a good choice.”
In other words, a second-home investment in a ski town is something that can be enjoyed by the owner and guest, as well as offer some investment income.
Passive income potential
Although cash buyers may not need to earn income from a ski-area home purchase, the short-term rental market in ski towns is quite robust. Using management and marketing services like Airbnb or VRBO is always an option for second homeowners.
The benefits? By working with local service providers and listing property for shorter stays, the home will see regular cleaning and maintenance. It’s a great way to passively earn from high-value property in desired areas.
But, there have been crackdowns from some resort communities on short-term rentals. If it’s important to you to be able to earn income from your ski-area home investment, know the rules before you buy.
Ranch real estate owners interested in a second home in a ski resort community should work with an experienced broker. These professionals are well-versed when it comes to current trends. They also know the markets very well, and have important connections who can help make the purchasing process easier.
As prices level out a bit, but continue to appreciate, now is a good time to get into the resort-area real estate market. While there is income potential in some resort communities, the real value for cash investors is the almost-instant equity that comes with a wise second-home purchase.