Sun Valley, ID Market Insight

Sun Valley, Idaho: Sales of high-priced homes hold their own

Updated 11/28/2006 3:21 AM ET

During the real estate boom, home prices in the Sun Valley area spiked almost as high as the peak of nearby Bald Mountain. The median home price is now about as high as San Francisco’s.

That’s hardly a concern for stars such as Demi Moore, Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who have second (or third or fourth) homes there. But it’s a problem for working-class families in this ski resort area, who have to commute to Sun Valley from towns that have affordable housing.

Sales of homes in Sun Valley and the adjacent town of Ketchum that are priced over $2 million are holding their own right now.

But the rest of the market — with sales in the area down 50% from last year — looks as scary as a black-diamond slope.

"I’ve been in real estate here for 18 years," says Mia Edsall, an agent at Paragon Properties in the southern part of the valley. "I’ve seen it slow but never like this. There are no buyers, and the reason there are no buyers is because they can’t sell the house they have. A lot of us (agents) are getting second jobs."

A redevelopment plan for downtown Ketchum calls for more-affordable housing and hotels, says Jim Figge, president of the Sawtooth Board of Realtors in Blaine County, which includes Sun Valley.

"It’s geared toward reinvigorating our commercial and retail core," he says.

Local officials, Figge says, want to shift Sun Valley’s image away from that of the staid, second-home retirement community it’s becoming.

The most expensive


Mac and Helen Whiting are selling this 2-acre hilltop estate, designed by Neil Wright and built in 1980, for $12.5 million. The sellers are also offering the two adjoining 1-acre lots for an extra $8.5 million.

Price: $21 million
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 7
Size: 8,586 square feet
Features: Library, fireplace, separate office wing with conference room and separate entry, three-car garage, views of valley and mountains.

Median-price home


This two-story house, built in 2001, is on the market.

Price: $729,000
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4
Size: 3,317 square feet
Features: Two-car garage; basement contains fifth bedroom and recreation room.

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