Aspen-Snowmass a buyer’s market, says expert
December 18, 2008
ASPEN ” The decline in the Aspen-area real estate market has been more severe than previously forecast, and appears likely to remain in a down cycle for another 18 to 24 months, according to a prognostication Wednesday.
“We are not going to know where the bottom was,” said Randy Gold of Aspen Appraisal Group Ltd., “until we are well on the road to recovery.”
He made his comments before an industry group of more than 150 at a luncheon hosted by the Aspen Board of Realtors at the Hotel Jerome.
Gold said the Aspen and Snowmass Village real estate market has been rocked by some of the same economic factors that have hurt other areas. He said that those factors have also debunked an Aspen myth.
“In past recessions our market really suffered very little,” he said. “This time it is more broad based.”
In support of his claim, Gold pointed out three major components of the local market ” single-family housing, condominiums and lots ” have suffered dramatic drops in sales while listings have swelled.
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Single-family home sales in Aspen are off about 36 percent through the first 11 months of this year, when compared with the same period a year ago. At the same time, listings have jumped about 24 percent.
Gold said that was similar to the 2000-01 periods, when the market was “struggling” amid recession. Equally troubling, he said, is home listings are overpriced, as sellers seem unwilling to come down.
Notably, the median single-family home price in Aspen has leaped to $6.1 million in 2008 from $4.15 million in 2006.
The scene is somewhat similar in neighboring Snowmass Village, where single-family home listings are up about 33 percent this year from the same period last year. At the same time, home sales are off about 10 percent.
Meanwhile, the median price has climbed about $1.6 million in the last two years to a reading of $4.7 million.
Inventory levels are also troubling, with Aspen and Snowmass Village sitting on three- and two-year supplies, respectively.
The condominium market is no better shape. Aspen sales are off 63 percent this year, when compared with the same period last year. At the same time, condo listings rose about 28 percent.
Condo listings are up about 40 percent in Snowmass Village.
There is also a 10-year supply of Aspen lots, which Gold attributed to the properties being “way over priced.” Snowmass Village has a three- to five-year supply of lots.
“Again, considerably overpriced,” he said.
That suggests sellers will have to adjust their real estate prices downward if they hope to move their properties, or simply take them off the market.
Either way, it points to one thing.
“We are firmly in a buyer’s market,” Gold said. “They won’t buy if they don’t get their price.”