Aspen too sexy for this list
ASPEN – Here’s a secret about Aspen: It’s not one of the most expensive small towns to live in the United States. In fact, it’s not even in the top 50.
But as for its sexiness, Aspen is on a catwalk of its own.
At least that’s what two recent articles, both in well-known publications, reported.
The New York Post gushed Jan. 25 that there’s no ski resort sexier than Aspen, despite its, well, not-so-favorable publicity of late.
“It’s been a wild year for one of the world’s most recognizably fabulous resort towns, from the near-foreclosure of the iconic Hotel Jerome (crisis averted, and just in time for Christmas) to the Sheen-Mueller domestic dust up,” the Post wrote. “But neither fiscal unpleasantness nor celebudrama can diminish the appeal of this former mining camp turned Skihampton, a compact and appealing town of less than 6,000 that somehow has found room in its heart for Dior, Gucci, Brioni and snowboarders.”
Park City, Utah, came in at No. 2, followed by Whister, B.C.; Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and Sun Valley, Idaho.
Despite Aspen’s so-called sexiness, the Post reported that its economy has given the city a “much needed lesson in humility.”
Perhaps one lesson comes in the form of a Jan. 19 report by BusinessWeek magazine, which did not include Aspen – or any other town in Colorado, for that matter – in its list of 50 “Most Expensive U.S. Small Towns.”
The BusinessWeek report based its list on the median home sale prices in 2009, using data from Zillow.com, a real estate website. Towns that qualified had to have populations of no more than 10,000.
Top honors went to Sagaponack, a village on New York’s Long Island, which reportedly had a median home price of $4,421,458.
Aspen saw its median single-family home price in 2009 hit $4.76 million, down 18 percent from the median price of $6.2 million in 2008, according to data compiled by Aspen real-estate broker Tim Estin.
So why was Aspen, known for its exclusivity, given the cold shoulder?
Katie Curnutte of Zillow.com said Aspen might have been snubbed because there was not enough real estate data to include it in the Zillow Home Value Index, which was the basis of the BusinessWeek story.
“You guys aren’t the only small town left out, but we’d rather be safe than sorry about throwing out a wrong number,” she said.
She added that “we did let BusinessWeek know that our data doesn’t cover every city and town in the U.S. when we gave them a list.”
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.