Abernethy

Question: The real estate market feels a little unpredictable right now. What can we expect for the upcoming summer season in Aspen?

Answer: If dog groomers are any indication as a barometer of summer activity, we are set for a packed summer in the Roaring Fork Valley.

My deep intel says most groomers from Aspen to Glenwood Springs are already booked. If you are lucky enough to capture a cancellation date, it could be a month out. This reminds me of the days when I was trying to get my kids into a preschool, although I think the dog thing may be worse!

We may be in for an influx of visitors like never before. So, brace yourself and time your trips upvalley to allow for roundabout slowdown and traffic mayhem.

Pent-up demand seems to slap gas prices in the teeth as people opt for a change of scenery over the increase in cost. Vacationers from drivable states where temperatures soar to triple digits will continue to stream in. Perhaps visitor visits will be shorter, but not eliminated entirely. What does all this demand mean for our local real estate market?

Rentals are booked instantly if they even hit the market. Home inventory is essentially unchanged or diminished. People are hesitant to sell for lack of another option that makes any sense at all. The market feels a bit stuck.

On the other hand, recent talk of a possible recession leads all economic and financial reports. The May consumer price index is double what it was one year ago. Just a year ago, the inflation rate hovered around 4%. The May 11 report came in at 8.3%. Wages are failing to keep up with the rising cost of food and fuel. Diesel prices are the highest they’ve ever been. Inflation continues to rise, affecting virtually every aspect of our lives; it seems as if it has not yet peaked.

Why does the Roaring Fork Valley remain in demand? How will we be affected?

Colorado is in the middle of the country. As pricey as gas is, people can drive here and escape to a beautiful outdoor retreat from reality. The soaring airfares, coupled with the major hassle factor of commercial airline travel, are driving people to, well, drive. Parents and kids are searching for post-pandemic fun. If the assumption holds true that we will welcome more visitors than ever, what will the effects be?

Honking, lack of parking spaces, staffing challenges and jaywalking are all a given. But, based on the sheer number of visitors, will any of them actually purchase property? Mere mortals will face ever-increasing mortgage interest rates and need to stretch their budgets and lower their expectations. The Aspen core buyer will continue to pay cash. But doubt creeps in as the jittery stock market and the possibility that their businesses could be affected by interest-rate hikes create hesitancy and doubt.

Bottom line, uncertainty reigns. The one thing you can count on is you better book your dog’s grooming appointment now. We need to be patient and to accept that we are in a bit of a holding pattern. Waiting will prevail, whether for reservations or for housing prices to recede. All will loosen eventually, but it looks unlikely in the summer of 2022.

Ann Abernethy is a broker associate with Slifer Smith & Frampton. Join Ann at InsideAspen.com for a look at her podcast: “Beyond BadAss: How fierce women get it done!”