Location, Location, Location!

Published by at under Real Estate Market

Location, location, location” is the most discussed phrase in the real estate world. Nowhere is the phrase more appropriate than describing the core area of downtown Aspen. The core area bounded by Aspen Street on the west, the base of Aspen Mountain on the South and the Roaring Fork River on the north and east, is the most dense part of Aspen where all the major hotels, most of the retail shops and restaurants are located. Because of its proximity to the base of the Aspen Mountain ski area and the heart of Aspen, it’s the most popular location for visitors to stay.

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Because of these factors and constraints on new construction in the core, it’s historically been the most expensive Aspen real estate located on a per square foot basis. The Aspen core area has over 280 single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes as well as over 60 percent of the city’s condo inventory. Currently, there are 17 single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes on the market for sale ranging in price from $1.7 million to $39.8 million; and 106 condos for sale ranging in price from $325,000 to $21.5 million.

Over the past 12 months, 12 homes, duplexes and townhomes sold ranging in price from $1.1 million to $8.5 million. At this absorption rate, the Aspen core real estate market has a 1.4-year supply of homes for sale. This is also a similar story for the condo market. In the past 12 months, there were 83 condo sales in the core ranging in price from $210,000 to $8.8 million. Similar to the single-family home market, this represents a 1.3-year supply of unsold condos. The ratio of home and condo sales to the available inventory in the core is the lowest in the Aspen area.

What’s more interesting is the sale price per square foot of residential property selling in the core. In the past year, the sale price per square foot of single-family homes, duplexes and townhomes has ranged from a low of $790 to a high of $1,636. At the same time, the square-foot price of condos sold in the core ranged from a low of $735 to a high of $2,655. As you might expect, whether the property is a condo, townhome or single-family home, either newer or older, the sales price per square foot generally increases significantly if the property is located in the retail core and close to the base of the Aspen gondola. Condo and penthouses prices per square foot are likely higher than homes primarily because it’s more likely that a condo or penthouse is in the Aspen retail core and are physically closer to the base of Aspen Mountain.

What’s even more interesting is the price gap between the newer and older properties. This is most pronounced in the condo market. Older condo sale prices per square foot currently range from $735 to a high of about $1,400. While condos built within the past five years start around $1,800 per square foot and go up to over $2,600 per square foot. Three recent sales of condo/penthouse units in the new 625 E. Main Street building have set recent post-recession records of $2,127 to $2,655 per square foot. It’s only speculation when the next record sale price will take place in the Aspen core, but with condo/penthouse units currently priced as high as $3,800 per square foot, it’s likely the well-known phrase “location, location, location” will again demonstrate real estate values are driven by the best locations.

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William Small, JD, CCIM is managing director of Frias Luxury Estates, a division of Frias Properties of Aspen that specializes in marketing luxury Aspen properties. If you are interested in receiving his monthly market report, you can reach him at (970) 429-2419 or email him at bill@friasproperties.com.

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