Real estate sales in Colorado’s six resort counties, in dollar terms, fell more than 10 percent in 2011, a year that saw hopes for a rebound fizzle. While high-end pockets like Aspen, Snowmass, Vail Village and Beaver Creek enjoyed strong sales last year, the widespread boomtimes that saw prices peak in 2007 and four mountain counties surge past $1 billion in annual sales seem long gone. Since the high point of 2007, when Eagle, Pitkin, Summit, Routt, Grand and San Miguel counties saw more than $10 billion in combined residential and commercial sales, real estate activity in the resort-anchored communities of Colorado’s high country has fallen more than 60 percent. Measured in transactions, the numbers are a bit more encouraging. Total transactions in the five counties excluding Grand rose to 6,200 last year from a low of 4,200 in 2009, but that’s still well below the 2007 level of 10,400. In other words, sales are rebounding but at much lower prices, and some of the growth is coming from bank sales. Last year was supposed to be the comeback. Several counties saw vibrant sales in January 2011, fueling hope of a turnaround from the 2009-10 stretch that saw the collapse of the mountain real estate market. But July 2011 deflated any anticipation for recovery with the worst month in a decade. For the rest of the year, high-country real estate buying and selling either fell or stalled, erasing any gains from the first half of the year.
By Jason Blevins, March 4, 2012, Denver Post