Luxury Ski Resort Real Estate market in
Just as the distressed luxury home market was behind the
rest of the country in the current foreclosure mess, the
destination ski resorts on Colorado's western slope are now
dealing with looming foreclosures also. The bargain hunters
surface and conquer. Luxury ski resorts and destination ski
resorts are synonymous terms.
Probably only the tourist ski market is aware of the wealthy
real estate market on Colorado's western slope. Economic
slowdowns hit even the wealthy, and this current one has
dealt a serious blow to Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs, and
Telluride. Home prices are often measured in millions of
The wealthy are helping lead western slope resort markets
back from a dismal 2009. Generally it’s because the bargain
hunters see an opportunity to buy for less than during the
market peaks of 2007 or so, and they expect sellers to be
willing to drop prices. Aspen prices have come down
approximately one-third from their peak as buying has
picked up. One local realtor said that even with the lingering
effects of the recession on resort markets, things have
improved a lot since last year, when people were so worried
about the nation’s real estate woes that they weren’t buying
at any price.
In Park City, Utah, the general consensus seems to be that
transactions are picking up, but not prices.
Resort real estate agents are hesitant to predict whether
resort prices have bottomed out and the markets have
turned the corner toward a recovery. Given that local Grand
Junction real estate agents say the same thing, that can't be
Until the wealthy realize that the country, and therefore the
real estate market, is not going to recover until the jobs
market recovers, there's no hope of them understanding the
The mayor of Aspen said that the Aspen market was seeing
investor interest from Russia, Brazil, the Far East and
Europe, possibly prompted by a weaker U.S. dollar. Certain
neighborhoods of the Aspen-area market, such as the city’s
popular west end, have experienced strong sales.
Despite poor overall 2009 results in these resort towns,
sales later in 2009 actually began to show improvement
over the same months in 2008, even if they still paled in
comparison to the real estate boom of previous years. There
seems to be less speculative investing than during the time
of what in retrospect appears to be market excesses.
The mid-level market in local mid=valley working
communities such as Basalt and Carbondale are more
affected by the economy, which impacts prices. One realtor
guesses that those prices will need to fall 50 percent or so.
One Aspen realtor observed that it has been hard to watch
neighbors who worked in hard-hit construction and related
industries face the possible sale of their midvalley homes at
half-price after buying them during the market peak.
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