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Weighing Pro's and Con's of CO to UT Move

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

As much as I love Colorado, the real estate market is getting out of control. I've been wanted to purchase a duplex as a second property but I feel like there's a mini real-estate bubble in the Denver area, and I don't want to be left behind holding the bag when it pops. Even if there isn't a bubble, the price of real estate is still high, and only going to get higher. 

 

I originally lived in Massachusetts and moved here in early 2012. Part of the reason I left Mass was because of the mass influx of people and the increased cost of living. And also cuz Colorado has some pretty awesome skiing. But seems like the same is happening here now, whether it's a result of Amend 64 or not.

 

I've been looking at Utah real estate in the SLC metro area and it's definitely within my budget, both for a primary and an investment property down the line. 

 

I have plenty of research to do, but I'd like to get a general idea of where some good areas are.

 

Right now I live in St. Mary's, CO, a tiny little unincorporated sub-division of 300 people in the mountains about 10,100 feet above sea level. While I'm removed from the Denver Suburbs, I'm not isolated as Denver is only 45 minutes away. While the winters can be brutal, I do like this area. I can do mtn biking, trail riding, hiking, and even skiing almost right out my door, without having to trailer any of the aforementioned gear. 

 

I do have a commute to work that's almost an hour, but that's worth it to me.

 

A few other things that I'm trying to figure out, in order of importance:

  • How is the housing market?
  • I've been working in IT for 10+ years, specializing in designing VoIP networks. From what I can see on monster, there are definitely IT jobs around, VoIP can be a little harder to find though. Would like to hear from anyone that has insight to this. I've also worked as a network engineer in the past. (All experience with Cisco)
  • Colorado usually has skiing Oct-June (A-Basin). What's the average ski season length?
  • Colorado has the Epic pass. Other than PCMR/Canyons, are there any other kinds of collaborative passes? My annual budget for season passes and day lift tickets is $1,200 (Already purchased Epic local pass and MCP.) I've skied Snowbird a few times and thoroughly enjoyed the resort, I'd be leaning towards making that my go-to/default resort. Skied Alta once in 2014 and 2015 (April both times) and even though I had really high hopes and expectations, I wasn't overly impressed. In all fairness though they hadn't received any fresh snow recently.
  • Are there any areas around SLC or in the mountains that fit the rough mold of where I live now?

  • Are there any spots nearby to earn turns in the summer?

 

 

I've heard that interest rates are going to jump to 5% by September, so if I am going to move I can't be dragging my feet.

 

Feel free to add any other points that may be important that I did not mention. 

post #2 of 26

Eh, I don’t think a bubble is “busting” anytime soon in Denver, and I’ll leave it at that.

If that possibility and a slight increase in an interest rate causes you to relocate to SLC, I think your 15 years late on the party. I would be looking for the next SLC

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Interest rates have nothing to do with me considering SLC. Didn't even need to really mention that, only did because I was making the point that if I were to move, it would need to be sooner rather than later. 

 

I don't want to stretch myself thin on property in CO, and I'll leave it at that. 

post #4 of 26

totally different culture b/t CO and UT.  that would be top of mind for me.  don't purchase a 2nd property in CO if you think there's a bubble/don't want to be overextended in real estate.  sounds like you've got what you want where you are.

post #5 of 26

SLC and CO are culturally worlds apart.  I can appreciate you like the lower RE prices around SLC (look at Ogden for really cheap) so why not buy your rentals out there and stay in CO if you are happy there?  SLC gets pretty damn warm in the summer and that is a deal killer for me.

post #6 of 26

Reasons I still like Denver over SLC even though I will be buying a pretty low-end house soon for too much money 

  • Good air quality -- SLC has inversion and therefore smog
  • Beer. Lots of good beer.
  • Altitude -- easy to find the right temperature for activities any time of the year.
post #7 of 26

Colorado has had a crazy sweet deal for ski passes for at least the last decade - Utah season passes are much more expensive. VR buying PCMR might drive a change to push down season passes, but I don't think that's happened yet. Utah people just flip CO people the bird if we complain about a $50 hike in the epic pass. It's still cheaper than an Alta season pass.

 

I don't think that Utah has anything with the kind of season lengths of A Basin or Loveland - they just are a lot lower in altitude. But I'd love to be told I'm wrong!

post #8 of 26

I think Snowbird can match A-basin for staying open into late spring most years.

 

Real estate in Sandy would be where I'd look for the best deals.  Ogden is worth a look too, with Snowbasin in the backyard.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post
 

Colorado has had a crazy sweet deal for ski passes for at least the last decade - Utah season passes are much more expensive. VR buying PCMR might drive a change to push down season passes, but I don't think that's happened yet. Utah people just flip CO people the bird if we complain about a $50 hike in the epic pass. It's still cheaper than an Alta season pass.

 

I don't think that Utah has anything with the kind of season lengths of A Basin or Loveland - they just are a lot lower in altitude. But I'd love to be told I'm wrong!

Snowbird has skiing into June quite often, but I think that's just because they get so much more snow (usually) rather than altitude. I don't think they were open very late recently, but I'm not sure. They don't open until late November, but that may be neither here nor there. As for summer skiing, I don't really know but again I think you need more high altitude than UT has. I bet in the deep years you can ski Snowbird close to year-round before it melts out, though.

 

I wouldn't really base a move on season pass price. In the long run, especially if you are moving for RE prices, it's a drop in the bucket.

 

I'm a CO person, so I'm biased. I love skiing in UT, but I prefer the other things about CO. The mountain ranges in UT are not nearly so vast. I just spent the last few days driving and hiking from here to Copper to Crested Butte and back, and it is just spectacular. I am not really a desert person, although I see the charms. But to me, desert is okay maybe once a year, whereas high-altitude mountains are my compulsion. The pollution in SLC really is gross, too. I think moving from St Mary's to SLC would be quite the shocker, I don't know. 

 

What about other areas in CO? Southwest? 

post #10 of 26

Since you are used to a pretty big commute there are some places in UT like Park City and nearby Heber City, and up by Snowbasin like Eden/Huntsville and nearby Mountain Green where I think you can escape the SLC smog and also live close to ski trails and within similar commute to downtown.  For that matter, you might be able to afford a small house in Big Cottonwood Canyon very near Solitude/Brighton and out of the smog?  If you are the type that a little smog is not an issue, there are lots of cheap homes in the SLC and Ogden suburbs near the access roads to Alta/Snowbird, Sol/Bright and Snowbasin.  Knowing you a little bit (low key/slightly conservative leaning), I don’t think the CO to UT culture shock would be too much of an adjustment for you.  Believe you are aware that Hill AFB is a pretty big employer of IT and Telecom people in Ogden area.

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
If I could, I would rent a property to try the area out but that would be hard to do with my current job.

I've never skied in SW Colorado, I imagine I'd thorougly enjoy telluride and the San Juans in general, but with the industry I'm in, generally speaking I need to live near a major metro area. Ever once in a while a job pops up for a tourism company that's located in a resort town, but that's risky in itself since if I were to get laid off or the company were to
go under, I'd be stuck with a property and not be able to find a new job.

Park City seems like a cool Mtn town, but just doing a Zillow search shows that real estate is significantly more expensive than the SLC suburbs.

Someone mentioned Sandy.....RE there does look affordable, and it's like 30 minutes from snowbird, but I've never been a huge fan of cookie cutter developments, which is one of the many reasons I like the Mtn's.

From the lack of responses, it seems that there really aren't many mtn communities.
post #12 of 26
Have you considered Sandpoint or Coeur d Alene, commuting to Spokane? Schweitzer is a great ski area, uncrowded, and the region overall is pretty affordable. Sliver Mt is also nearby. Plus day trip proximity to Red Mt and Whitewater in BC.

Doesn't have the reputation or cachet of Utah or Colorado, but the skiing is underrated and the area may fit the requirements for proximity to a metro area, live-ability and affordability,
post #13 of 26
As far as what I've experienced of Utah, Ogden sounds appealing, though there are neighborhoods in SLC like Sugar House that I like. I hear you about the inversion issues though. Maybe Mountain Green to the east of Ogden near I-84?
post #14 of 26

With regard to season length:

 

Snowbird has the longest season. Last few years they closed Mid-May, but in better years they stay open weekends into June and in rare years until July 4th.

 

The 4 LCC areas open as soon as they can, but with minimal snowmaking don't count on earlier than mid-November to Thanksgiving most years.

 

The Park City and Ogden area mountains have shorter seasons.

 

http://www.skiutah.com/index.html offers gold and silver Utah passes (x number of days at each Utah resort), but they are expensive and apparently the number sold are limited.

 

For a change of pace for a few day trip, both Sun Valley and Jackson are a reasonable drive (4-1/2-5 hours).

post #15 of 26
The RE market in Denver is especially strong right now. I don't anticipate a bubble or crwsh, because the reason is both explainable and rational- people have been stuck in nuetral for the past 7 years. Lots of people looking to move up haven't been able to because they can't get out of the current house.
post #16 of 26
I personally like the western slope in Colorado. Grand junction gets a bad rap but I love it. Biking is sublime, no traffic to go skiing and while outside of powderhorn its a drive to go skiing you have a great variety of places to go, even LCC is a reasonable drive for a couple days. Living is cheap and simple. Someday I will settle there but I got a thing for blue collar desert towns.
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by snoseek View Post

I personally like the western slope in Colorado. Grand junction gets a bad rap but I love it. Biking is sublime, no traffic to go skiing and while outside of powderhorn its a drive to go skiing you have a great variety of places to go, even LCC is a reasonable drive for a couple days. Living is cheap and simple. Someday I will settle there but I got a thing for blue collar desert towns.

Living in Rifle was pretty sublime for the reasons you mention.
post #18 of 26

Mike, have you thought about going independent contractor route?  Then you'd be able to freelance and live in a place like Breck, Aspen, Steamboat, or where ever.  Lots of IT folk in Breck have done that exactly.

 

Mike

post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
 

Mike, have you thought about going independent contractor route?  Then you'd be able to freelance and live in a place like Breck, Aspen, Steamboat, or where ever.  Lots of IT folk in Breck have done that exactly.

 

Mike

 

Is VoIP freelanceable?

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

It is, but that's a whole different ballgame. I'd want to find a good blueprint that worked before moving around.

 

Edit: Wanted to add to that I work on the enterprise side of things, not the individual user. What Mike mentions sounds like the latter.

post #21 of 26

Quote:

Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 

It is, but that's a whole different ballgame. I'd want to find a good blueprint that worked before moving around.

 

Edit: Wanted to add to that I work on the enterprise side of things, not the individual user. What Mike mentions sounds like the latter.

 

A lot of companies these days, even enterprise level IT shops, will let people work remotely if they have the skills.

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by core2 View Post
 

Quote:

Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 

It is, but that's a whole different ballgame. I'd want to find a good blueprint that worked before moving around.

 

Edit: Wanted to add to that I work on the enterprise side of things, not the individual user. What Mike mentions sounds like the latter.

 

A lot of companies these days, even enterprise level IT shops, will let people work remotely if they have the skills.

 

My company has that, I gotta wait 3 years per policy though.

post #23 of 26

I went to the University of Utah, so I've experienced SLC and Colorado.

 

As far as skiing goes, I think it's pretty comparable. With the different mountain ranges, sometimes one canyon or PC will get a dump where another doesn't. Checkout historical snowfalls and season lengths here:

 

http://www.onthesnow.com/utah/ski-resorts.html

 

Culturally, the further you get away from SLC, the more conservative. With the exception of Provo, the most conservative areas are small towns.  Personally, I loved the atmosphere in SLC, but YMMV.

post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rx2ski View Post
 

I went to the University of Utah, so I've experienced SLC and Colorado.

 

As far as skiing goes, I think it's pretty comparable. With the different mountain ranges, sometimes one canyon or PC will get a dump where another doesn't. Checkout historical snowfalls and season lengths here:

 

http://www.onthesnow.com/utah/ski-resorts.html

 

Culturally, the further you get away from SLC, the more conservative. With the exception of Provo, the most conservative areas are small towns.  Personally, I loved the atmosphere in SLC, but YMMV.

 

I live near Boulder in Colorado, but my first (only) experience of a fully raw vegan restaurant and the first time I experienced a yoga class that I really enjoyed were both in SLC. My aunt used to live in Park City and still has a house there. I do not think Park City is terribly affordable, but there is plenty of housing and skiing that isn't right in Park City. Relevant to the rental/appreciation thing: She bought her house before the SLC Olympics were even a sure thing, and she bought a house where no other buyers could see past the weird design decisions to the "good bones". I don't have an eye for that stuff, but I think you can do very well if you can see the house or property that could be, rather than what is currently there. This is why realtors are always trying to get sellers to paint, remove the clutter, etc - and if buyers get turned off by stuff like that, imagine how much lower the price can go if you need to knock down a wall or redo the kitchen to really make the place nice.

 

Here in Colorado, I live in Longmont, and it's still pretty cheap and has some lovely homes, but definitely a pretty suburban experience ("Little boxes which all look just the same"). As the tech boom happens to Boulder, I expect Longmont is going to get a real estate bump.

post #25 of 26
I like the western slope of Colorado as well. Lot's of uncrowned outdoor recreational opportunities.
Glenwood Springs has a lot to offer for a mountain town.
post #26 of 26
Where do you want to buy a duplex? Near a ski resort or just as an income property?

I think you'll have a hard time leaving CO in terms of wanting to live "in" the mountains. This is where CO is pretty unique - we have vast amounts of high alpine terrain that is reasonably accessible and, as you already know, developed in some areas for residential living.

So the con is simple - leaving the mountains as primary residence.

I'm not really sure what the pros are for acquiring a second property when you already live in the mountains. If it was me, and I liked my employer, I'd get 3 years under my belt, consolidate my RE objectives, and move my primary residence to a mountain community closer to my preferred mountain activities.

But then my only objective for a duplex would be to have a second home at a ski resort...
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