The Aspen area real estate market is down across all sectors, has a glut of overpriced inventory that will take years to sell — but very few buyers — and looks like it will be especially hard hit in terms of fractionals and the highest-end homes, according to a local expert.
By Catherine Lutz, Aspen Daily News

“What a difference a year makes,” said Randy Gold, owner of Aspen Appraisal Group, during his introductory remarks to the Aspen Board of Realtors luncheon Wednesday at the Hotel Jerome.

Gold does an annual real estate overview and forecast for the coming year, and this year found that the unprecedented national events of recent months skewed many of last year’s predictions, although a local market downturn was already in the works when the recession hit.

And the outlook doesn’t look so good either.

Gold predicts the local market will remain down for the next 18-24 months — far longer than the post-9/11 downturn — “while the rest of the country suffers for the next three to five years.”

Down across the board

Gold, who has been doing appraisals locally for 30-plus years, punctuated many of his reporting Wednesday with comments such as, “If that’s not enough bad news … .”

Aspen single-family home sales are down 36 percent, condo sales are down 63 percent and lot sales are down 29 percent in terms of volume. In each of those cases, said Gold, the number of listings this year exceeds the number of sales, sometimes significantly. With single-family home lots, for example, Aspen has a 10-year supply — and with some adjustment for sales of some mining claims, actually is seeing an 80 percent drop in sales volume.

Prices, however, have not gone down much in accordance with less demand. The average single-family home price in Aspen is currently $6.6 million, up from $6.2 million in 2007 and $5.4 million in 2006. Even the median price — a more accurate gauge because it’s not skewed by extremes on either end of the scale — is high: $6.1 million, which means that Aspen has even in this downturn seen a large number of sales exceed the median price. But even with a buyer’s market and a “lack of market enthusiasm” for Aspen homes, said Gold, they are overpriced.

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