“Investor mentality is shifting from a concentration on financial returns toward lifestyle returns, said longtime Telluride broker T.D. Smith. “There is definitely a recognition by people that they can buy in this market and they are not going to get hurt,” he said. “People are tired of being tired. They are ready to move on and teach their children and grandchildren how to ski and fly-fish and be a part of the mountain environment.”

A huge December pushed 2012 high-country real-estate sales to their highest levels since 2008.Three years after the resort real-estate market cratered in 2009, sales in six Colorado resort counties have rebounded.Realtors say the rebound was supercharged in the last few months of the year, with December sales ranking as one of the strongest since the boom times of 2007. In Pitkin County, where average prices in tony Aspen were $4.2 million in 2012 and most high-end deals are done in cash, December sales reached $270 million, up 116 percent over December 2011. Aspen broker Tim Estin said uncertainty over tax changes planned for 2013, primarily estate and capital-gains taxes, “likely fueled a number of these transactions before the end of the year and trumped the uncertainty caused by the ‘fiscal cliff’ debate.” By Jason Blevins, Feb. 17, 2013 DP

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