Aspen’s Housing Market Sees Average Days On Market Dwindle As Competition Picks Up

Arial view
A must see property with extensive river frontage!

Aspen’s spring market remains strong, with eager buyers bidding on what few properties are available. Inventory, particularly new construction, is so low that buyers are now looking at older properties to update and renovate. Ann Abernethy, a broker associate at Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate in Aspen, offers an on-the-ground look at current market dynamics: “Business is awesome. It would be even more awesome if we had more inventory to sell.”

A recent news story in the Aspen Times defines the current climate of real estate in Aspen. According to the report, a Miami-based development firm founded by a Russian-born billionaire paid $76.25 million in March for nearly an acre of land at the base of Aspen Mountain, where the sellers had planned to build a slope-side hotel called the Gorsuch Haus. This week’s closing amount surpassed last year’s price by more than seven times.

Beautiful seasons and a connection to the outdoors has made it hard for many would-be sellers to take the plunge. (SLIFER SMITH & FRAMPTON REAL ESTATE)

The latest data points from the Slifer Smith & Frampton’s RFV Local Market Update for February 2022 underscore how strong the Aspen market is. In February 2022, the single-family median sales price rose almost 88% to $14.55 million, up from $7.75 million a year ago.

Average days on market fell from 247 in February 2021 to only 37 this past February. That’s pretty astounding in a market that continues to outperform historically.

The townhouse/condo market saw the average sales price rise 84% from February 2021 to about $4.28 million.

Located at 1350 Lower River Road in Snowmass, this five-bedroom home sits on about 38 acres of park-like grounds that include a pond. (SLIFER SMITH & FRAMPTON REAL ESTATE)

“To be a seller in Aspen today, you have to a have a compelling reason to sell. You’re leaving the area, or you are looking for a lifestyle change,” Abernethy confides. “The challenge if you sell in this market and choose to make a lateral move you will be shell shocked with sticker shock.”

For sellers downsizing from a large single-family home in the $20 million range, they may be looking at condos for half that price, according to Abernethy. If you are interested in buying a ranch in the Aspen area, that’s not happening at any price right now. “We have run out of ranch properties and don’t have much land to sell,” Abernethy adds.

Whether it’s in the mountains or centrally located in town, the views in Aspen are endless. (SLIFER SMITH & FRAMPTON REAL ESTATE)

Here are two very different active listings around the Aspen area to pursue. Currently on the market for $2,395,000 in downtown Aspen with a high walk-ability score is a recently remodeled 2-bedroom 2-bath condominium. In nearby Snowmass, there is a 38-acre property with river frontage listed at $6.35 million. The property includes a five-bedroom, 3.5-bath home surrounded by gardens, pastures, a pond, and a creek.

Aspen has four full seasons of activities, festivals, and events of all kinds, attracting a diverse group of visitors, residents, and potential buyers. These include X Games Aspen, Aspen Snowmass Open, Power of Four Ski Mountaineering, Bud Light Spring Jam, Wild West Rodeo, and Food and Wine Classic.

Aspen’s reasonable property taxes and favorable state tax rate attract both U.S. and international buyers. “I’m seeing buyers coming from all over, including Texas, Florida, California, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Sydney, Australia. Like other places, people who had second or third homes came here during COVID and made Aspen their main residence,” Abernethy observes.

Prices for estates can run in the tens of millions, while condos and townhomes are generally more affordable. This two-bedroom condo in the heart of Aspen is listed for $2.395 million. (SLIFER SMITH & FRAMPTON REAL ESTATE)

Rising mortgage rates won’t impact Aspen buyers as most are the check-writers who pay cash.


I have covered the business of real estate (both residential and commercial) for over 25 years, including more than a dozen years working in the Forbes Los Angeles bureau reporting and writing about as I call it, Adventures in Real Estate. From the first tear-downs turning into mega-mansions in Beverly Hills to luxury condos as investments in Las Vegas, I follow the ups and downs of real estate markets around the country just for the fun of it.