Landlording & Rental Properties

7 Mountain or Ski Towns Worth Your Investment in 2020

Expertise: Business Management, Personal Finance
63 Articles Written
nature scenes on blue ridge parkway great smoky mountains

Some people long for a beach vacation on a sunny island, while others prefer a cozy ski chalet and breathtaking, snow-covered mountains. With the right investment property, you can afford to take vacations wherever you want.

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Many mountain towns are often overlooked, especially those in Colorado. BestPlaces.net reported the median home price for a ski town like Frisco is over $750,000. But not all ski towns have such a high barrier to entry. Towns in Montana or Utah may be more suitable for a first-time investor. Below is a guide to start your search and help you find the perfect vacation home for the chilly months.

Here are seven mountain and ski towns worth investing in:

  1. Logan, Utah
  2. Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
  4. Fraser, Colorado
  5. Whitefish, Montana
  6. Salt Lake City, Utah
  7. Bozeman, Montana

Logan,Utah

Logan sits just an hour away from Salt Lake City. According to Realtor.com, the median home price is $264,900—just over half of Salt Lake City’s.

What makes Logan so appealing to investors is its position as both a mountain town and college town. Utah State University is home to more than 20,000 students that live near or on campus, and more than half of all the town’s residents rent. Buy a house here and enjoy the highest gross rental yields that you can find in Utah’s major cities.

prepare-rental-winter

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Just because median home prices are high doesn’t mean the market isn’t worth the investment. Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is consistently named as one of the top places to invest in the West.

BestPlaces.net reports median home prices sit at around $800,000, but these homes are in high demand. More than 95 percent of the land surrounding Jackson Hole is federally protected, and tourists can access Grand Teton and Yellowstone with a quick drive.

The market is hot. Even if you can’t find the right investment in Jackson Hole, nearby towns and valleys are also reaping the benefits of the boom in Jackson Hole.

Related: Looking to Invest Out of State? Here’s How to Pick and Analyze a City

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Don’t overlook the East Coast when looking for a mountain property. Consider places like Gatlinburg, where visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and top-notch skiing.

Zillow reports the median home value as $252,325, up 9.9 percent from last year. They also predict home prices will rise at least 6 percent in the coming year and continue down this track for years to come.

Are the Great Smoky Mountains calling your name yet?

Fraser, Colorado

Fraser is less than a two-hour drive away from Denver and Boulder and sits right above a more expensive option, Winter Park. Visitors can take a quick drive to Winter Park to enjoy more than 150 different ski trails and a cozy resort experience.

But while Zillow found Winter Park’s median home value to be over $450,000, Fraser’s median sits below $400,000. Home prices increased by 4.6 percent in the past year and are continuing to rise at least 3 percent each year.

Whitefish, Montana

Stepping just 25 miles outside of a hot spot can significantly decrease home prices. Whitefish is a quick half-hour drive to Montana’s Glacier National Park, which welcomes 3 million visitors each year.

The median price in West Glacier is over $720,000, according to Zillow, but in Whitefish, that number drops to $450,000. It’s become one of the hottest places to invest in the West—home prices increased by 9.3 percent in the past year with another 6 percent increase expected in 2020.

Related: Should You Quit Your 9-5 Job to Become a Full-Time Real Estate Investor?

Salt Lake City, Utah

A lot of these markets have a low population—Fraser is home to less than 1,300 people! Salt Lake City, meanwhile, has a population of more than 200,000, offering a nice mix of city life and mountain air.

Like Logan, Salt Lake City is also home to one of the larger colleges in Utah (The University of Utah has over 32,000 students). Zillow reports a median home value of $414,000, up 6 percent in the past year and predicted to continue to grow by almost 5 percent in 2020.

The average home rents for $1,575 per month, making it a great place to purchase a property and act as its landlord. If you prefer a more bustling ski town, Salt Lake City is a great place to look.

Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman isn’t just known for the nearby Gallatin Mountains or Big Sky Ski Resort—a number of startups and tech companies are also making headlines in the Montana city. Bozeman’s population boom is turning heads, as everyone from retirees to millennials are packing up and moving here.

It’s a town of under 50,000, but is experiencing rapid growth—the population has increased by a whopping 23 percent since 2010, according to WorldPopulationReview.com.

Housing supply remains low through this boom. The median home value is $471,000, Zillow found, but the average monthly rent is over $1,800. Buying or building could result in great returns for investors who want to check out Bozeman.

Investing in a ski town can bring in big returns—and give you more chances to hit the slopes. Keep your eye on these areas and surrounding cities for exciting investment opportunities.

What do you look for in an investment property?

Let us know in the comments below!

Scott Royal Smith is an asset protection attorney and long-time real estate investor. His law firm, Royal Legal Solutions, helps thousands of real esta...
Read more
    Nathan G. Real Estate Broker from Cody, WY
    Replied 2 months ago
    I tried commenting on this yesterday and the system kept giving me an error. Jackson is a terrible investment. You have to be a millionaire to afford anything and then it will never cash flow. You could buy it for appreciation (if you have that kind of money) but even that is a gamble because the liberal billionaires are pricing everyone out and making it increasingly difficult for new owners. Kanye West just spent about $20,000,000 in Cody because (according to rumors) he wasn't welcomed in Jackson. Bozeman is growing leaps and bounds. The worst time to buy in a market? When it's on fire and everything is in high demand and over-priced. I suspect the other locations are the same. If you can afford to pay top dollar and sit on a property that doesn't cash flow, I suppose these are "good" investment locations. If you're looking to actually make a return on your money in the next 3-5 years, you should look somewhere else.
    TJ Watson Rental Property Investor from SoCal
    Replied 2 months ago
    Agree Nathan. I've been following Bozeman/Belgrade for a bit, and specifically MF properties, and recent listings have been ridiculously priced versus the income they produce. Only way to cash flow at these prices is with a huge down payment or rolling 1031 equity, which must be how most of these are being acquired. Some of these 4plexes going for $750k-1M but with only $5000-6000 in income.
    Taunya Fagan Real Estate Broker from Bozeman, MT
    Replied 2 months ago
    Hi Scott, Good piece. Thank you. Bozeman, MT is growing quickly in both population and real estate prices, but Big Sky, Montana (about 40 miles south of Bozeman) with its world-class skiing, is where the real estate prices have increased dramatically in the last 6 years, from about $400,000 in March 2014 to about $730,000 in March 2020. https://www.taunyafagan.com/big-sky-real-estate-report/ Thanks again.
    Shelli Callan from Kalispell, MT
    Replied 2 months ago
    Even better than Whitefish, Montana are the surrounding towns with lower-priced homes!
    Ryan Mertens Developer from Holladay
    Replied 2 months ago
    Q4 last year ave home price in SLC was about $344K. Even if it was what you said it was comparing Logan to just over 50% is a far stretch!