News » Whistler

Park City provides insights two years after Games

Whistler realtors take the trip, politicians plan to go for fall, Chamber hopes to organize excursion in early 2005



If Park City, Utah is anything to go by, Whistler’s real estate market could come to grinding halt during the 2010 Olympic Games.

"We have to accept the fact that there’s a high probability we won’t do a lot of business for the period of the Olympics and the Paralympics… which is traditionally one of our busiest times," said Whistler Real Estate Company President Pat Kelly, who was in Park City six weeks ago.

"That’s important for me to know so that I can plan my cash flow. And it’s important for my agents to know."

Earlier this summer Kelly took a four-day information-gathering trip to Park City, along with real estate agent Heather Clifford.

Even though it’s been two years since Park City played host to some of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic events, the excitement of the experience has not waned.

More importantly, the people there were more than willing to share their experiences and information with the Whistler realtors.

Kelly and Clifford spent their time in the Utah resort talking to businesses, realtors, and ordinary citizens where they learned that some companies, including real estate companies, did virtually no business in the three-month period surrounding the Games.

The people in the market for lifestyle homes are simply not in the resort at that time.

Instead, it’s filled with tourists who are unprepared for a mountain resort setting and corporate clients and media who are not interested in skiing.

They’re here to work and most of them aren’t spending their time and money dining out in fancy restaurants, choosing to grab a quick hot dog or hamburger instead.

"During the event what you have is a lot of event people and they’re here for souvenirs, they’re here for a party, they’re here for a good time," said Kelly

Rather than buying resort homes, these guests are in the market for T-shirts and Olympic pins to mark the occasion.

"If Park City is an example, they did none (no real estate transactions), and I mean zero," said Kelly.

"And it wasn’t just for 17 days. It was in the order of three months.

"That’s a bit of a shocker for me."

In fact, the real estate market in Park City didn’t come to life again until roughly four months after the Games, at the beginning of the third quarter.

By the fourth quarter, however, they were having record sales and they’ve been having record quarters ever since.

"But at the same time the real estate business in North America has been at its strongest point ever," said Kelly, who has always maintained that the Olympics are not a direct contributing factor in the real estate market.