Surprisingly, not all housing options fit the ski chalet stereotype.
While most people purchase homes in Massanutten for the desire to retreat to the mountains, the homes in any of the 11 neighborhoods do not necessarily fit the ski chalet stereotype. While there are chalet-style homes to be found, Dave Cureton, former Northern Virginia resident and Massanutten Realty realtor, says the style of homes on the mountain—Cape Cods, contemporary homes, log cabins—include “a vast variety with approximately 1,000 homes,” he says.
Of those homes, not including the timeshare market run through Great Eastern Resort, the majority of homes are single-family homes and have a breakdown of 70 to 75 percent primary residents, 25 to 30 percent second homes or vacation homes with only 10 percent being pure vacation rentals.
The primary homes and vacation homes are mixed throughout the neighborhoods, though Cureton says there is a higher proportion of vacation rentals and second homes in what is called The Kettle, the upper part of the mountain where the ski resort and Massanutten Greens Golf Course are located. Homes range from standard three-bedroom homes to those with six to seven bedrooms and four bathrooms and cost anywhere from $113,000 to $355,000 in price.
The first homes went up in the mid-1970s, and there are still many lots that have not yet been built on. “For many years now a lot of lots have been owned,” Cureton says. “There is not a huge market where people are building on lots, but it is happening. This year only five home plans are going through the process; last year four were approved.” These lots are owned by the builders who purchased them. Currently there are 22 lots within the private residential neighborhoods. The lots typically run .25 to .75 acres and range in price from $15,000 to $54,950. “There are huge variations in terrain and location, and most of the lots, 17 of the 22, are priced below $40,000,” says Cureton.
Cureton says there is a large range of buyers in the area. “Compared to other mountain resorts in the region, everything is close by. You’re not at all isolated in a resort. People want a mountain-type environment. They don’t necessarily come here for skiing, though that is a big plus. They want a mountain feel,” he says.
Cureton adds that more primary homebuyers are younger than years ago, but there is still a large range of buyers—those looking for retirement homes and second homes. “When people come [here] to ski in January … one thing leads to another.”