Aspen’s spring market remains strong, with eager buyers bidding on what few properties are available. Inventory, particularly new construction, is so low that buyers are now looking at older properties to update and renovate. Ann Abernethy, a broker associate at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate in Aspen, offers an on-the-ground look at current market dynamics: “Business is awesome. It would be even more awesome if we had more inventory to sell.”
A recent news story in the Aspen Times defines the current climate of real estate in Aspen. According to the report, a Miami-based development firm founded by a Russian-born billionaire paid $76.25 million in March for nearly an acre of land at the base of Aspen Mountain, where the sellers had planned to build a slope-side hotel called the Gorsuch Haus. This week’s closing amount surpassed last year’s price by more than seven times.
The latest data points from the Slifer Smith & Frampton’s RFV Local Market Update for February 2022 underscore how strong the Aspen market is. In February 2022, the single-family median sales price rose almost 88% to $14.55 million, up from $7.75 million a year ago.
Average days on market fell from 247 in February 2021 to only 37 this past February. That’s pretty astounding in a market that continues to outperform historically.
The townhouse/condo market saw the average sales price rise 84% from February 2021 to about $4.28 million.
“To be a seller in Aspen today, you have to a have a compelling reason to sell. You’re leaving the area, or you are looking for a lifestyle change,” Abernethy confides. “The challenge if you sell in this market and choose to make a lateral move you will be shell shocked with sticker shock.”
For sellers downsizing from a large single-family home in the $20 million range, they may be looking at condos for half that price, according to Abernethy. If you are interested in buying a ranch in the Aspen area, that’s not happening at any price right now. “We have run out of ranch properties and don’t have much land to sell,” Abernethy adds.
Here are two very different active listings around the Aspen area to pursue. Currently on the market for $2,395,000 in downtown Aspen with a high walk-ability score is a recently remodeled 2-bedroom 2-bath condominium. In nearby Snowmass, there is a 38-acre property with river frontage listed at $6.35 million. The property includes a five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home surrounded by gardens, pastures, a pond, and a creek.
Aspen has four full seasons of activities, festivals, and events of all kinds, attracting a diverse group of visitors, residents, and potential buyers. These include X Games Aspen, Aspen Snowmass Open, Power of Four Ski Mountaineering, Bud Light Spring Jam, Wild West Rodeo, and Food and Wine Classic.
Aspen’s reasonable property taxes and favorable state tax rate attract both U.S. and international buyers. “I’m seeing buyers coming from all over, including Texas, Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Sydney, Australia. Like other places, people who had second or third homes came here during COVID and made Aspen their main residence,” Abernethy observes.
Rising mortgage rates won’t impact Aspen buyers as most are the check-writers who pay cash.