The first half of 2019 is over and the Aspen-Snowmass-area residential real estate market seems headed for a strong year.
So far this year, total sales volume of residential properties in the local market stands just shy of $700 million at $691 million, about 8.3 percent ahead of its 2018 mid-year pace. If this level of sales keeps up for the remainder of 2019, total volume will reach almost $1.4 billion, making it one of the best three years for real estate sales in the past decade.
In terms of number of transactions, there have been 217 total transactions so far, which is about the same as in 2018 when there were 215 transactions by mid-year. If this trend continues, we should end the year with around 450 total residential transactions, which is in-line with the pace of the last two years.
Total inventory of residential properties in the Aspen-Snowmass market has declined about 12 percent from about 580 listings at the beginning of the year to about 510 at the end of June. Also, the ratio of total listings to listings under contract stands at 8 percent. This ratio has trended upward over the past 10 years from a low of 2 percent at the depths of the last recession in 2009-10, with the average being in the 5-7 percent range. In addition, the 90-day moving average of total sales volume has been trending upward in the past three months and has crossed above the 270-day moving average in the past month. The combination of these three factors would indicate continued upward pressure on average prices across the market for the foreseeable future.
Although the overall Aspen-Snowmass market seems healthy, different segments of the market are stronger than others. Properties priced under $5 million are selling briskly. Of total sales in the past 12 months, 84 percent were properties priced under $5 million. At the current sales pace, there is only a 10-month supply of properties to meet the current demand.
As you move up the price scale, the story changes. In the $5-10 million range, the market is somewhat slower. Only 11 percent of properties that sold in the past 12 months were in this range. Currently, there is a 30-month supply of homes in the $5-10 million range. Above $10 million, the market is a bit bleaker. Over the past 12 months, only 5 percent of all sales were properties priced over $10 million. With 116 properties currently listed for sale over $10 million, there is a five-year supply with the current demand.
Although the overall market is solid, it’s a completely different story depending upon what price point you are buying or selling into. If you’re buying in the $10 million-plus range, you have a lot of options. If you’re a seller, it’s a tough market to sell into. At the other extreme, if your property is priced properly in the under-$5 million range, you can expect it to sell quickly. In the middle $5-10 million range, the market is more balanced between buyers and sellers with buyers having over 125 listings to choose from. As a result, expect a lot of price reductions in the upper-value end of the market, and sellers holding firm in the lower end of the range.
Looking at the bigger picture, the economy continues to chug along, growing at about a 3 percent annual rate for the first half of the year. The U.S. stock markets are also hitting all-time highs. Gains in the stock market typically translate into a strong real estate market in resort areas like Aspen and Snowmass.
Both economic growth and stock market gains are good indicators for how the local real estate market will perform in the near future. With the stock markets and the economy continuing to grow at healthy paces, the Aspen-Snowmass real estate market should also see a strong second half for 2019.
Lori Small is a luxury real estate broker associate with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse; William Small is the founder and CEO of Zenith Realty Advisors LLC, a commercial-investment real estate advisory and investment firm. Lori can be reached at Lori@LoriSmall.com and William can be reached at William.Small@ZenithInvestment.com.