Flashbacks to the 2008 recession where closings were few and far between weighed heavily on Rita Lovell’s mind early in the spring, but the Cody real estate market “didn’t skip a beat.”
“When COVID hit, I was scared to death,” said Lovell, owner of Canyon Real Estate in Cody.
It’s a seller’s market in the Cody area. Homes priced under $300,000 have been selling like hot cakes and high-end properties are going, too.
Low inventory and high demand have kept homes near their asking price, said John Parsons, owner of 307 Real Estate.
“Cody is such a great place to live,” he said, citing favorable tax structures, good recreation opportunities and quality schools.
Couple that with record-low interest rates and it’s a recipe for success for anyone looking to sell a home.
“Some people that come in try to low-ball people,” Lovell said. “That just doesn’t work. Buyers are going to have to realize that, because if they don’t want it, there’s two more in line behind them.”
Lovell said one possible reason people are moving to Cody is they want a change from city life and more conservative politics.
Canyon has been getting calls from across the country, including New York, Tennessee, Illinois and a sizable contingent from California.
“I think our lifestyle drives it a lot, but I always tell people, ‘If you came here for our lifestyle, don’t try to change it,’” she said.
Even before the pandemic, the real estate market had been strong in the Cody area, both in the city and throughout its outer limits.
Data provided by the owner of Sage Realty, Phyllis M. Claudson, shows that though sales have stayed largely stable, houses in the city are on the market for less time and selling for more.
Outside the city, the median sale price of a home has increased even more, going up 27% since 2018. The data from the Northwest Wyoming Board of Realtors-MLS covers not just Sage’s sales, but all home sales in the Cody area.
Even the rental market has been booming. Nathan Gesner, owner of American West Realty, which manages some 400 properties between Cody and Powell, said though the restrictions due to the pandemic slowed home rentals in the beginning, the company is currently at less than a 1% vacancy rate.
Rent moratoriums – the government canceling evictions due to unpaid rent during the pandemic – and high taxes have also prompted some real estate investors on the coasts to look inland, said Nathan Gesner, the owner of American West.
“A lot of people think that landlords are New York fat cats,” Gesner said, “but 70% of landlords are private individuals with one to three homes. If these moratoriums continue, we could see a lot of these landlords go under.”
These landlords are paying property taxes and often mortgages on the rental units, and need the rent checks to make those payments, Gesner said.
When it comes to new residential developments, calls for permits in the area have remained fairly steady, according to Sean Collier, city building official. He also said that the number of permits asked for fluctuates every year, but June had the most permits requested in five years.
“Single-family additions or alterations seem to be rising,” Collier said. “That could be new air conditioner units or entirely new master bedroom and bathroom additions.”