Aspen and Snowmass Real Estate Market Update: A Deep Dive into 2023 and What Lies Ahead in 2024

Stephanie Kroll

Aspen, often referred to as a hub of "aspirational pricing," has long been a sought-after destination for luxury real estate. As we delve into the insights provided by Randy Gold at Aspen Appraisal Group, who has a rich history of appraising properties in Aspen and Snowmass, we gain valuable perspectives on the 2023 real estate market and a glimpse into what awaits us in 2024.

Despite fluctuations in interest rates, the down-valley real estate market showcased remarkable strength in 2023. With a staggering $635 million in real estate activity across four sub-markets, it came close to being the biggest year ever. Even with a modest 11% drop in dollar volume, 2023 ranked as the fourth-largest year on record.

According to the Land Title Mountain Communities Report, Aspen and Snowmass outperformed other mountain towns in 2023. While most areas experienced declines, Aspen and Snowmass reported the least drop in transactions. The average price in Aspen stood at $11.5 million, significantly higher than the $2.7 million average in Eagle County.

Snowmass Condos Shine: Snowmass condos experienced a record-breaking year in 2023, with strong sales and record dollar volume. Over half of the condos are already under contract, and the market boasts a 6-12 month supply. The addition of units in EPL and the Havens contributed to these impressive numbers, setting the stage for sustained growth with upcoming developments like Aura, Cirque Viceroy, Snowmass Center, and Stratos.

Aspen Condo Sales Dynamics: The Aspen condo market appears well-balanced, with a healthy 6-12 months of supply. Notable sales, such as the Monarch on the Park unit and the 5935 Town Place condo in 2023, highlight the market's stability. However, disparities in pricing between short-term rental units and those with restrictions raise questions about potential future trends.

Snowmass Single Family Market: While the Snowmass single-family market experienced a downward trend in 2023, it remains an attractive option due to its better value proposition. With an average price of $7.3 million, down 4%, Snowmass houses and condos offer a 60% cost advantage over Aspen.

Aspen Single Family Market: Despite an 8% decline in dollar value, Aspen's single-family market saw an increase in sales. Notably, 83% of sales in 2023 were above $10 million, contributing to a drop in the average home price to $17.75 million. The market experienced a 30% increase in supply, with West Aspen and East Aspen being the most active neighborhoods.

The Billionaire Impact: Aspen's real estate landscape is undeniably influenced by billionaires, with 120-125 billionaires owning property in the town. The 2023 report reveals a concentration in New York, with their influence driving pricing into lower ranges. Notably, 59 sales exceeded $10 million, with 50 of those occurring in the Aspen zone.

Land sales in Snowmass are minimal, while Aspen saw a bidding war with the Ute Ave lot selling for $35 million. City regulations limiting demo permits are increasing the value of vacant land, as homeowners opt for renovations while awaiting permits.

The Transferable Development Rights (TDR) program is undergoing significant changes, with new measurement units and regulations designed to encourage long-term residency. These changes aim to extend the life of existing homes, reduce negative effects on rural land, and incentivize deed-restricted housing.

As we step into 2024, early indicators suggest a promising year for Aspen and Snowmass real estate. The first six weeks of the year have seen $238 million in closings, compared to $175 million in the same period in 2023. With a total of $3.1 billion in sales in 2023, the market remains robust despite declining values and price per square foot. Predictions for Aspen houses indicate increased sales and stable to modestly improving values, with reports of off-market $100 million offers circulating.

As Aspen and Snowmass navigate the dynamic real estate landscape, the trends of 2023 and the early indicators of 2024 paint a picture of resilience and adaptability. With unique market dynamics influenced by billionaire ownership, city regulations, and shifting development programs, the Aspen and Snowmass real estate markets continue to capture the attention of investors and luxury home seekers alike. The journey into 2024 promises to be both intriguing and promising for those involved in the Aspen and Snowmass real estate scene.

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