The Mad River Valley has been discovered—not only by the American Skiing Company, which bought Sugarbush in 1995, but by modem cowboys and young retirees, many of whom are researching property on the Internet. "A minimum of 55 percent of our customers are now coming from the Web," says Cindy Carr of Sugarbush Real Estate.
Prices at the slopeside Snow Creek condos are only now creeping back to where they were 20 years ago. In the early Eighties, these units sold for $130,000 to $150,000; at the depths of the late-Eighties recession, the lowest sale was for $67,000. In 1999, the average sales price crept back up to $111,000. But demand is rising.
"The buyers, by-and-large, are paying cash," says Carr, "and they're using the units more frequently, rather than just looking for the rental income." (Condos are the Mad River Valley's tourist accommodations, because there are no large hotels there.) New in the market is a spike in demand for single-family homes and large land tracts. One recent sale: 49 acres for $460,000, a very high price for the region.
"We've been seeing people from California and England. They're buying big properties and building big houses," says Carr, noting that buyers include both computer jockeys and real jockeys; the horsey set has, it seems, discovered the charms of central Vermont.
List Price $103,000
Square Footage 1,050
Price Per Square Foot $98
Year Built 1982
Beds/Baths 2 bedrooms /2 baths
Condo Dues $45 per month (includes water, sewer, roads)
Taxes In 1998 $1,450
Listing Agent Cindy Carr, Sugarbush Real Estate, Waitsfield, (802) 496-3500; www.sugarbushrealestate.com .
Jackson, New Hampshire
Near Wildcat, Attitash, Cranmore Mountain, Black Mountain
These Dana Place condominiums are the closest complex to Wildcat ski area, 5 minutes away. Only five units make up Dana Place, which is surrounded by national forest and located near a small stream.The unit sprawls across several floors and is strikingly contemporary. "There are a lot of different angles to it," says Peter Pinkham of Pinkham Real Estate. "You come around a corner, and there's a different feel than you'd expect from most places."Although this unit sells for one-third of what a comparable condominium would go for in Boston, for example, it is in the top quarter of the region's price structure. "Our market for condominiums probably goes up to $250,000, maybe $275,000," says Pinkham.That situation may not last, however. New Hampshire, like much of northern New England, is finally bouncing back from the recession of the late Eighties and early Nineties. "Prices of townhouses and condominiums dropped 50 percent," Pinkham recalls. "We were left with five years of inventory that didn't sell." Things started moving in 1995, and only now is new construction getting under way again. "There are still some deals," Pinkham says, "but in another year there aren't going to be."
List Price $189,000
Square Footage 2,300
Price Per Square Foot $82
Year Built 1987
Beds/Baths 4 bedrooms/4 baths
Condo Dues $133 per month
Taxes In 1998 $1,948
Listing Agent Peter Pinkham, Pinkham Real Estate, Inc., North Conway, (800) 322-6921; www.pinkhamrealestate.com .