Released: April 2, 2010

The Estin Report
Aspen Snowmass Residential Real Estate
1st Quarter 2010 versus 1st Quarter 2009

Jan 1 – March 31, 2010
(See: 1Q10Summary Chart)
By Tim Estin mba, gri / Broker Associate,Mason Morse RE
Contact: 970.309.6163 –

The Estin Report is based on Aspen/Glenwood MLS statistics and it relates specifically to Aspen, Snowmassand Woody Creek residential activity. This report is for the upper Roaring Fork Valley activity only, not all of Pitkin County, CO. Quarterly and Annual Estin Reports do not include fractional sales. However, separate and focused Estin Reports have been written on individual projects and developments within the fractional market.

General Comments
In general, real estate activity has been off to such an extent that the data set for 1st Quarter 2010 – as in prior quarters over the past two years – continues to be small. The reader is cautioned against drawing significant conclusions based on these quarterly results at this point in time.

We are definitively in a better place now than the same time last year but by historical standards, the improvements, though generally on the positive side, are slight.

Much as the national economy is starting to show signs of a recovery slowly taking shape, the Aspen and Snowmass real estate environment appears to have seen the worst and activity is increasing especially in March. But prices in general are down significantly and properties are for sale on the market an average 33% longer than a year ago unless realistically priced to begin with.

Bottom line

There is more business going on at the present time than same period time last year.

Specific Notes

Here are the numbers comparing1Q10 to same period a year ago, 1Q09.

Other than Sold Prices (significantly down an average 25% – 40% or more from original ask prices of more than a year ago) and Days On the Market (up approximately 33% – in general, it takes 1/3 longer – from 12 months to 16 or more months now to sell a property), the numbers are positive compared to same time last year:

Total Dollar Volume – up +35%, $120.5MM in 1Q10 versus $89.5MM in1Q09

Total Number of Solds: up +43% in: (43) in 1Q10 versus (30) in 1Q09
> 1Q10: (43 ) total – (15) single family homes and (28) condos closed.
> 1Q09: (30) total – (9) single family homes and (21) condos closed.

Future Activity Indicators – more properties are under contract and more solds.
> Listings under contract as of 3/31/10 is up +56%, from 39 last year to 61 this year.
> Local Buyer activity increasing: anecdotally, local buyers who know the market well have started buying. Typically, this is a good sign and indicative of a market bottoming.


Inventory of unsold properties is slowly decreasing, a positive sign.
>The number of active properties on the market is down -16%, from 1,091 last year to 913 this year
>The number of new listings – properties for sale – on the market is down -36%, from 246 last year to 157 this year.

Negotiations Taking Place

No longer is there a stand-off between buyers and sellers: both sides appear more realistic and there is more negotiating going on.
>Buyers are no longer making crazy lowball offers (last year, "50% off" offers were more common with the thinking, "Well, it happened in Las Vegas"…even though Aspen is not a sand/sun, sub-prime affected area). At present, offers seem to be more realistic and buyers appear more comfortable pulling the “buy’ trigger”. The dust has settled and there are less clouds in the valuation process. But valuing properties continues to be difficult and mirky…. Much of the process seems to be determined by: a) location; b) uniqueness of individual property; c) condition of property – newer is selling much better than older; d) seller motivation; e) availability of buyer(s) for that specific property.

> Sellers either already have, or are in process of, adjusting to new market realities. Any offer is more likely to beconsidered as at least a negotiating starting point rather than an insult.

Condo Activity Has Turned Upwards

– In Aspen: (15) condos closed in 1Q10 versus (8) in 1Q09,+88%. In 1Q08, (13) Aspen condos closed.
– In Snowmass, (8) condos closed 1Q10 versus (7) in 1Q09, +14%. (7) of these condos were 3-4 bdrms…buyers are getting more space for less $. For comparison, in 1Q08, (13) condos closed .
– Snowmass has come from being what some have said dead and buried a year ago to a heartbeat this year. In the spirit of Easter, perhaps we can say "some degree of resurrection is taking place".

Aspen Single Family Home Activity

– Basically unchanged in terms of number of transactions, (10) in1Q10 versus (9) in 2009.
– Smaller homes are selling: avg size in 1Q10 is 3,545 sq ft versus 6,645 sq ft in 1Q09.
– Avg Price per sq ft appears to have bottomed out.
> Last year 1Q09, the sold average was $879 sq ft versus this yr 1Q10, it is $1,024 sf. I believe this price/sq ft and the house size differential reflects the fact that last year, developers were unloading inventory – bigger, brand new homes – at significant discounts. New built home inventory has largely been depleted from the marketplace and remaining opportunities are fast disappearing.

Snowmass Single Family Home Activity

– (5) homes closed in 1Q10 versus (0) sales last year 1Q09.

Sold Price Breakout/Distribution

Total Solds by Price Range

The lower end of the market, under $1.5MM, has been the most active part of the total market
> 0-$1.5M: (17) total units
> $1.5-$3M: (9) units
> $3M – $5M: (8) units
> $5M and Up: (8) units

> $0 – $1.5M: (12) condos sold
> $1.5M -3M: (5) – 1 condo, 2 duplex units, 2 single family homes
> $3M – $5M: (5) – 1 duplex, 2 townhomes, 2 sf homes
> $5M and Up: (6) – 2 townhomes, 4 sf homes

Snowmass Village

> $0-$1.5M: (5) condos
> $1.5 – $3M: (4) condos, (1) sf home
> $3M-$5M: (3) sf homes
> $5M and Up: (2) sf homes both in Two Creeks

Total units sold by month, single family (sf) homes and condos

> Mar = 21
> Feb = 11
> Jan = 11

Condo Average and Median Prices: down substantially

– Aspen Condos: avg price in 1Q10 was $759,000 vs $1,835,000 in 1Q09; median price was $1,285,000 in 1Q10 and $705,000 in 1Q09.
– Snowmass Condo: avg price in 1Q10 was $996,000 vs $952,000 in 1Q09; median price was $792,000 in 1Q10 and $410,000 in 1Q09.

Price Per Sq Ft: Notes

Aspen Single Family Homes: shows signs of improvement
– The average price per sq ft of an Aspen home increased+16.5% from 1Q09, from $879 sq ft to $1,024 sq ft now.
– The median price per sq ft of an Aspen home increased +20% from 1Q09, from $804 sq ft to $968 sq ft now.

Aspen Condos: price/sq ft is down significantly
– The average price per sq ft of an Aspen condo decreased –50% from 1Q09, from $1,406 sq ft to $939 sq ft now.
– The median price per sq ft of an Aspen condo decreased -37% from 1Q09, from $1,429 sq ft to $907 sq ft now.

Snowmass Single Family Homes& Condo: little change
– As there were no Snowmass single family home sales in 1Q09,there is no data to compare.
– For Snowmass condos, although there has been an increase in condo sales, there has been little change in price per sq ft. Snowmass condos sold at an average $853 sq ft in 1Q10, ($843 sq ft in 1Q09) and at a median price in 1Q10 of $794 sq ft ($766 in 1Q09).

Vacant Lot Sales

Almost non-existent. Reasons: a) no banks will lend/tight credit; b) single family home sales have come down to – in some cases getting close to – very tempting – or better than, replacement value; c) builders are basically out of market at this time.

Annual Vacant Land Sold Comparison since 2004

-1Q10 = (3) sales, total $11M
– 2009 = (14) sales, total $37M
– 2008 = (9) sales, total $26M
– 2007 = (47) sales, total $246M
– 2006 = (56) sales, total $204M
– 2005 = (63) sales, total $204M
– 2004 = (47) sales, total $102M

Disclaimer: The statements made in The Estin Report and on Tim Estin’s blog represent the opinions of the author and should not be relied upon exclusively to make real estate decisions. A potential buyer is advised to make an independent investigation of the market and of each property before deciding to purchase. To the extent the statements made herein report facts or conclusions taken from other sources,the information is believed by the author to be reliable. However, the author makes no guarantee concerning the accuracy of the facts and conclusions reported herein. Information concerning particular real estate opportunities can be requested from Tim Estin at 970.920.7387 or The Estin Report is copyrighted 2010 and all rights reserved. Use is permitted subject to the following attribution: "TheEstin Report: State of the Aspen Market, By Tim Estin, mba, gri,"