Snowmass real estate may go down without full recovery |

Snowmass real estate may go down without full recovery

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

The Aspen real-estate market will likely experience a downturn of some degree in the next two to three years, and Snowmass is expected to follow suit, despite taking longer to recover from the Great Recession.

That’s at least what real estate broker Andrew Ernemann and appraiser Randy Gold predicted at the Aspen Board of Realtors annual market overview luncheon last week. The number of sales in the Aspen market has increased every year since 2009, Gold said. And while 2015 was the first to also see prospective buyers outnumber listings, he and Ernemann are cautioning that it won’t last forever.

“It’s funny to be talking about the next slowdown (already),” Ernemann said. “But it’s important that we don’t forget at some point things will at least taper off.”

It’s normal for real estate to cycle up and down, Ernemann said. But Snowmass lagged behind Aspen in its recovery from the Great Recession, and it could follow Aspen into another downturn before getting as much benefit from the upswing, he said.

“Snowmass is its own market,” Ernemann said. “But it’s still interconnected to Aspen. The same broader trends tend to take place in Snowmass, it’s just been over a delayed course.”

There are lots of factors that could change the course for both towns, Gold said. But if Aspen does experience a downturn, “Snowmass is not going to continue to accelerate,” he said.

“I don’t know if Snowmass is going to have the same opportunity to pick up steam before the next down cycle,” Gold said.

While high-priced and affordable properties in Aspen remained successful throughout the last downturn, inventory built up in Snowmass across the price spectrum, Ernemann said. That in combination with the construction halt in Base Village and a general lack of confidence in the town — and “an already dramatic recession” — have slowed Snowmass’ comeback, he said.

But with a new Town Council, new plans for Base Village from Related Colorado and Aspen Skiing Co.’s desire to get involved again, that confidence is improving, he said.

An example of that is the Residences at the Viceroy Snowmass, which constitute a large portion of condos listed in the village right now, have sold 12 units since the beginning of December, said Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado. Fifteen sold in the first 11 months of 2014.

“Snowmass will have more momentum once Base Village gets going,” Ernemann said. With new construction now expected to start in 2016, that also could help Snowmass hang on to its upswing a little longer, he said.

Gold agrees, but noted that Related is watching where the market is headed, too. Romero said his company does look at historical averages for up and down periods and the larger economic climate.

“In the here and now, we’re seeing data that Snowmass Village is catching up,” Romero said. “We’ve been so far behind. … Any forward progress in Base Village supports upward movement.”

Skico’s Limelight Snowmass hotel and residences and the second phase of the Viceroy are likely to break ground in 2016, Romero said, followed shortly after by the Sunrise Co.’s vacation club.

While those properties will compete with one another, Related won’t just be dropping one type of offering into the market, Romero said. He thinks that diversity will accelerate movement when it comes available.

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