The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 7 - 10/14/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
What's available for working families.
by Rob Shaul
The selling season for real estate in the northern end of Sublette County heats up in the spring and begins to taper off in the fall. This is a good time of year to take a look at what types of properties are for sale, and their asking prices to get an idea of where the market is going.
This week, I attained the latest multiple listing of properties for sale in the northern end of Sublette County. This analysis focuses primarily on home prices for working and middle class families in Pinedale. I looked closest at three-bedroom home prices, reasoning that this is the size of home most couples with two children would need.
Eighty-one Homes For Sale
As of this week, there are eighty-one homes for sale in Pinedale or near the town according to the latest multiple listing. Of this total, forty of the homes have three-bedrooms.
For the sake of my asking price analysis, I threw out the three homes with the highest price tags. These homes had asking prices of $975,000, $600,000 and $450,000. I also did not consider mobile homes in the analysis.
In looking at the asking prices, the first thing that jumps out is that the three-bedroom homes in town cost significantly less and are quite a bit smaller than the three-bedroom homes near Pinedale, but outside the city limits.
Of the total 37 homes in the analysis, 14 were located in Pinedale and the average asking price for these was $114,307. The average square footage for these 14 three-bedroom homes was 1,341 square feet.
The average asking price for the 23 three-bedroom homes near Pinedale, but outside city limits, is $240,047. The average size of these homes is 2,060 square feet.
The average asking price for all 81 homes and mobile homes currently on the market in or near Pinedale is $204,407. Thirty of the homes are priced above $200,000.
What can the working class afford?
According to the Wyoming Department of Employment, the average annual salary for working class, Sublette County residents employed in the private sector in 1997 was $21,289.
A person making this much money could borrow up to $56,800 through a conventional loan given today's interest rates, says Jeff Patterson of the Bank of Pinedale. Assuming a typical 20% down payment, this means the average working class person could purchase at most a $71,000 dollar home. On this week's multiple listing, there were seven homes priced under $71,000. Three of these were mobile homes.
If we assume that in most Sublette County families, both husband and wife work, and we assume both make the county average salary, the total family income would then be $42,578. A family with this amount of gross income could qualify for a $123,701 conventional loan says Mr. Patterson. With a 20% down payment, the couple could purchase a $154,626 home.
Thirty-one of the 81 homes on this week's multiple listing are priced less than $154,000. Further, all but three of the fourteen three-bedroom homes currently listed within the Pinedale town limits are less than $154,000.
On the surface, these figures would seem to indicate that it is possible for working and middle class families in Pinedale and the northern end of the county to purchase homes here.
Overall, real estate prices for single family homes have flattened out some since 1996 says real estate agent DeLona Winters with Allen Agency. Ms. Winters says the prices for average family homes in Pinedale are still increasing, but just moderately. There is a "huge demand" for single family homes under $150,000 she continues, adding that a three-bedroom home located near town on an acre or more ground that is priced under $150,000 is "no problem to sell."
Broker Cyd Goodrich of Pinedale Properties also says the prices for average, single family homes in and near Pinedale are still climbing - "slowly." She agrees that a three-bedroom single family home in good condition in or near Pinedale priced under $150,000 would have no trouble selling.
As the two charts below illustrate, since 1990, real estate prices in northern Sublette County have risen steeply. Prices for homes within Pinedale have increased 109% in just nine years - an inflation rate of 12% per year. Prices for homes near Pinedale have increased 95% over the same period - clipping along at 10% per year.
One of the concerns I've always had with Pinedale's steadily increasing real estate prices is the ability of working class families to purchase homes in or near town. To this end, I am glad to hear that the single family home prices are beginning to flatten out. On the other hand, prices are still increasing. Though there are thirty or so homes currently on the market below $150,000, several of these have been on the market for some time, which tells me many are in poor condition. While it's difficult to argue that we have an affordable housing shortage in the north end of Sublette County, I believe the potential is definitely there.
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