First Quarter Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my Aspen/Snowmass Real Estate newsletter for the 1st quarter of 2017.  It’s been quite a year so far with sales in Aspen for 2017 outpacing 2016 in virtually every statistical category; while Snowmass has yet to show that kind of recovery and is still searching for positive traction.

In Aspen Single Family Home (SFH) sales were up 67% over 2016 (15 vs. 9) with current inventory down almost 20%.  Average Sales price has increased 13% for SFH and 18% for condos and townhouses, where inventory is down a whopping 40%. 

In Snowmass SFH sales were off 30% (7 vs. 10) and the accompanying average price per homes was down almost 20%; while sales of condos were up 10% with average sales prices remaining flat.  Inventory of SFH is up slightly, while condo inventory is down 20%.

What does all this mean? In our little hamlet it’s business as usual (or at least the new post-recession normal).  The “A+” properties of Aspen - the Central Core and to a lesser extent Red Mountain and the West End, continue to get all the love (and money); with newly built or renovated properties in these neighborhoods setting records for gross sales price and dollar per square foot.  The farther you get from the Central Core (the ripple effect), and as you get into residences that were built in the 70’s and 80’s, prices slip, sometimes well below the previous peak of 2007/2008.  So if your wants or needs push you into the aforementioned areas be prepared to pay up in a steady but continually escalating market.  If you should find your desires lie outside of the Aspen city limits there is certainly more bang for your buck to be had. 

(*Quick note – as a vacation mecca Aspen/Snowmass swells with visitors and guests.  Annual occupancy days and rental rates have steadily increased.  Supply of rental units has not kept up with demand and this has further buoyed real estate prices, most significantly in the high rental demand areas within walking distance of the Central Core.)

For a quick and easy search of all the Aspen/Snowmass and Roaring Fork Valley properties listed in the MLS, as well as quick links to Community Resources like weather, travel and local activities, visit

For related reports, visit:

- New Listing -

Never before offered legacy ranch! Located adjacent to West Buttermilk Ski Area on 61 private acres at the end of the road. This is the only ski-in/ski-out property on West Buttermilk & it can never be duplicated! $50,000,00

- The Big Buy! -

The biggest news of the season has to be the partnership of the Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners in purchasing Intrawest Resort Holdings and two days later Mammoth Resorts for a combined $2.2 billion dollars.  This now puts sixteen (16) ski areas under one big umbrella!  In addition to the ASC’s existing Power of Four (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk) KSL operates Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows; Intrawest brings ownership and/or management of Winter Park, Steamboat, Stratton Vt., Snowshoe WV., Mt. Tremblant Que., Blue Mountain Ont. and Canadian Mountain Holidays BC. (heli-skiing).  Mammoth Mtn. includes Mammoth ski area along with Southern California favorites, Bear Mountain, June Mountain and Snow Summit.

So how does this affect us? Well, for now there does not appear to be any cooperating passes or travel benefits for the ‘16/’17 Season, as plans and marketing materials for next season have already been put in place; but don’t be surprised to see significant integration in the not too distant future.  Ski Co. execs have stressed the importance of all the areas maintaining their own individual identities; however the distinct marketing and technological advantages of this size merger is undeniable.  Aspen Ski Co. will continue to operate its four mountains individually from the rest of the group; but it appears likely that somewhere in the not too distant future some type of combined passes are likely.  For Aspen and Snowmass this could result in another nice bump in what has been a continuing upward trend in rental occupancy figures. So stay tuned, your little Aspen Ski Co. has Gone Big and there is no turning back.  

(I just want to know if this means cheap Heli-Skiing ?!?)

For related articles, see:

- Raging Rentals -

One metric of the Aspen Real estate market that has continued to strengthen, and in fact dominate the industry, is rentals.  Aspen has consistently maintained not only the highest year round occupancy rates of all Colorado mountain towns but, not surprisingly, the highest dollar rental rates as well.  The continued interest in “leaf–season” (post Labor Day September) has added several weeks of increased occupancy compared to years gone by.  All this has had a bottom line effect on Aspen real estate prices as well; continuing to support values well above the industry average.

For related articles, see:

- Is Two Thousand a Foot Too High? -

It seems like not that long ago that we were breaking through the $1000 a ft. price tag in Aspen/Snowmass.  Now it’s the $2,000 a ft. ceiling that has been smashed, and in a few circumstances, the $3,000 and $4,000 a ft. tag has fallen as well.  But is this the norm or an aberration?  A quick look at the high end of sales since Jan. 2016, and the current inventory, paints a disproportionate picture between how many of these super luxury properties are listed and how many are selling.

In 2016 there were fifteen (15) properties that closed for over $2,000 a ft.  The highest being a Monarch on the Park penthouse that went for $4,275 a ft. ($15m gross sales price).  A new penthouse in the Mill St. Building behind the Hotel Jerome went for $3,625 a ft. ($7.250m for 2,000 ft.) Through April of 2017 there have been seven (7) properties that have changed hands above that lofty $2,000 a ft. number, with the most recent being  a new home on Willoughby Way that went for $3,120 a ft. ($30m price tag).  The two common characteristics of these uber high end sales are location, Central Core or Red Mountain, and age, new.

But does this show a market trend or simply a scenario where the highest end buyers have the means and willingness to pay beyond the rest of the pool for the very best of the best.  A search of the Aspen/Snowmass MLS shows ninety (90) properties currently listed for greater than $2,000 a ft.; twenty (20) of those being over $3,000 a ft.  At current absorption rates that’s a 5-6 year inventory.  Clearly there is a gap between what is listed and what is selling and while Seller’s in this rarefied air are typically exceptionally strong and often willing to “wait it out” regardless of the length of time, something will have to give before most of these properties change hands.  So if you are inclined to have the newest and the best be prepared to see numbers in the high $2,000 and even $3,000 a ft. range.  But don’t be surprised if some of the inventory in this bracket doesn’t come back down to earth; that is if you consider $2,000 a ft. to be on terra firma.

If you’d like to see the results of these searches, just drop me a line.  If you want to know about a new 5,500 ft. house a ½ mile from the Central Core that I helped a Buyer purchase recently for $820 a ft. ($4.5m), I can help you with that too!


Listed and Sold by Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty for $30,000,000 ($3,120 ft.) on Aspen's prestigious Willoughby Way.

Wherever your interest lies, give me a call or email; I’m sure you will be just a little bit wiser for the effort!