Every January, Park City, Utah draws in tens of thousands of movie fans to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival. This influx of nonresidents creates a huge opportunity for real estate agents to up their game and attract potential buyers.
Park City is the lesser-known Hollywood ski town when compared to Aspen, Colorado; however, many celebrities choose Park City because they can keep a low profile there. Celebrities from Michael Jordan to Katherin Heigl own homes in this ski town.
While many locals see the Sundance Film Festival as two weeks of crowded restaurants and paparazzi, real estate agents see the festival as a boost in business. They find ways to turn the thousands of nonresidents who visit into potential buyers––especially those who are looking for an escape from Hollywood.
“I love Sundance. I have sold so many homes through Sundance. At least one person will fall in love with Park City. They may not buy that week but they come back,” says Paul Benson, an agent at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty, who sold three homes for a total of $27 million last year to people exposed to Park City through Sundance. Mr. Benson says the potential buyers aren’t just in the entertainment industry, they are also the investors and the corporate sponsors. He hosts dinners and events to get to know them.
According to a study by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research, of the more than 30,000 nonresidents who attended Sundance last year, some 40% said they would return to Utah during the following year.
As far as the real estate market in the Park City area goes, nearly 70% of homes are second homes. The average price for a single-family home in 2013 was $929,000 up about 6% from the previous year, according to the city’s department of economic development. Last year, 34 homes sold for over $4 million and the number of building permits for new homes was up 50%.
In the end, wining and dining festival attendees seems to pay off for real estate agents.
Photo: World Ski