Bayens: Seasons shift for the housing markets, too |

Bayens: Seasons shift for the housing markets, too

Scott Bayens
Deeded Interest
Scott Bayens

Sitting here at my desk after one of last week’s snowstorms, the scene outside my office window presents a phenomenon uniquely Colorado. Green aspens, heavy with wet snow, annuals planted last spring still peeking through mowed green grass; three seasons in one frame. 

And, like every year, one is left to ponder: Is winter here to stay, or will we enjoy an Indian summer before more of the white stuff? 

My ethereal and sublime observations aside, last Saturday with those storms looming, I was running around the yard, gathering up the hoses and flowerpots, covering the outdoor furniture, rolling up the paddleboards I’d forgotten down at the pond, cursing all the while as I’d rather have been on my bike or watching the game on what proved to be our last glorious fall day.

I did manage to break away for a cruise, a cheer, and a beer, but, point is, I was doing what many of neighbors we doing that day: hunkering down and prepping for winter. It’s an all-day chore, but one I find satisfying. When it’s done, I’ve got my summer stuff stowed and know where to find my boots, skis, and poles.

The next day as the family cozied up as the snow fell outside, I recalled previous years prepping at the last minute, hair on fire — and not just the yard, but winterizing the camper and swapping tires. But, it makes sense when you think about it. 

We locals have no shortage of pursuits, and those activities are usually gear centric. And, like children who never want playtime to end, we wait because we don’t want to miss a single, waning day of fall should the weatherman get it wrong. I love that about us! But, the same thinking can just as easily catch us by surprise, leaving the procrastinators digging the grill out of the snow.

I couldn’t help but equate the process of buttoning up, taking cover from the coming cold, and storing and protecting our gear to the sudden and recent shift in the housing market. By now, experts, buyers, sellers, and prognosticators agree we are in new territory — coming as weather predicted, if not already upon us.

The numbers clearly show a dip in demand and sales activity around June the first as the Fed raised rates, and new listings came to market at stupid numbers. Buyers pumped the brakes, and summer offerings either sat or prices reduced.

Although the transition may have been imperceptible at the time, those of us who work in the business, consumers, too, knew it was coming. The word “unsustainable” was muttered many a time after two-plus years of unprecedented, historical, and explosive growth. Subsequently, some cleaned up and brought in the patio furniture early; others got caught with frozen pipes.

Dive into the data for Aspen, Snowmass Village, and the greater Roaring Fork Valley, and you’ll find shock and awe but also a few surprises. 

Year-to-date homes sales from Aspen to Carbondale are down dramatically, from 35% lower in Carbondale to 58% fewer in Aspen. The numbers are similar to condos and townhomes valleywide with the exception of Basalt, where sales are actually up 3% from last year. The numbers of new listings year to date in Aspen and Snowmass are also down by double digits, but only just slightly in Basalt, Willits, and Carbondale. 

But, here’s where it really gets interesting and brings us back to the anomalous and eccentric nature of our unique mountain market. Day on market are down from last year, meaning listings are selling faster than they did in all of 2021. And, inventory is up, as well, which means there are more options for buyers. 

On the other hand, sales prices were off the charts at the first six months of 2022. The average price of a single-family home in Aspen was up 40%; condos and townhomes were even higher at 60%. That said, the chart does show those stunning numbers finally leveling off across the board. And, I can tell you I’ve not seen as many price reductions since the crash. I expect even more in the next six months.

Interestingly, my fellow brokers and I have no shortage of buyers, but many of those prospects are waiting, knowing markets are in flux. That said, my guess is as spring and summer return, and we glimpse that old shovel, lying next to the forgotten bike pump, now found in the melting snow, those buyers will too emerge. And, hopefully with prices back in line with relative affordability, we’ll be off and running once again. 

Scott Bayens is a Realtor® with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. Visit his website at