HAPPY SUMMER ALL!
- The total number of sales in 2022 continues to track well below the pace set in 2021 – transactions are down 25%-50% +/- depending on the location
- A strong increase in sale prices has masked the slowdown in the pace of transactions, sales dollar volume is up modestly YTD in Aspen and down about 17% in Snowmass Village
- The closings thus far this year show a strong sellers’ market with only a 2-3% average discount off the list price
- Listing inventory remains tight although the tide is starting to turn with a trend toward increasing inventory due to more listings hitting the market and few contracts compared to last year at this time
- Overall listing inventory is down 30% in Aspen but up 30% in Snowmass Village compared to one year ago There are about 45 properties currently under contract in Aspen Snowmass right now, this is a significant drop relative to the 150+ contracts in place last July
- The three year average price growth in Aspen Snowmass is over 20% per year on average – this is historically strong
- There have been 10 sales over $30 million so far this year in Aspen, that’s more than any other entire year, ever – the high-end of the market remains strong
- Snowmass Village continues to be a value relative to Aspen – the 2022 average overall price per square foot for Snowmass Village sales is approximately $1,500 compared to almost $3,000 per square foot in Aspen
Council Approves Short-Term Rental Regulations
The Aspen City Council unanimously passed an ordinance regulating short-term rentals once the current moratorium sunsets in September, the Aspen Daily News reported. Ordinance 9 includes occupancy limits, night rental limits, a new permitting system, and a three-classification system for permits. Some of the new regulations include a cap on occupancy limits, to two people plus one for studios and two people per bedroom plus two for one-bedroom units and anything large, and a 120-day limit on owner-occupied rentals. There is an administrative fee of $148 for lodging-exempt STRs like condo-hotels, and $349 for owner-occupied units and classic STRs. day limit for owner-occupied STR permits to 120.
Bayer Center Opens on Aspen Institute Campus
“Herbert Bayer: An Introduction” is the opening exhibition in the new Resnick Center for Herbert Bayer Studies which debuted on the Aspen Institute campus in June, the Aspen Daily News reported. The center honors the multidisciplinary artist and designer Herbert Bayer who moved to Aspen in 1946 and designed the campus.
The 8,000-square-foot building, designed by Jeffrey Berkus Architects and Rowland and Broughton, was constructed two years after the Bauhaus celebration in 2019, and is named after Lynda and Stewart Resnick, who donated $10 million in support of the project. It’s comprised of more than 150 works arranged chronologically across 13 galleries, and the monographic exhibition takes a deep dive into Bayer’s lifetime and highlights the artist’s extensive body of work. It’s free and open to the public.
Bob Braudis Dies at 77
Bob Braudis, the former Pitkin County sheriff and county commissioner who left an indelible mark on local law enforcement and politics, died from natural causes in June, the Aspen Times reported. Braudis won the sheriff’s seat of Pitkin County in 1986. His popularity with the electorate carried over into November 2000, when Pitkin County voters repealed term limits for the office (along with the assessor and clerk), so Braudis could remain their sheriff. He retired at the end of 2010. He was a close friend of Hunter S. Thompson’s, and he was known for his ability to form friendships with people from all walks of life.
Aspen Increasing Parking Fines
After 20 years of holding the line with parking fines, the city of Aspen upped its citations, the Aspen Times reported. One of the main reasons to make the change is to reduce the abuse city staff see with people who violate the four-hour maximum to park in the downtown core.
The “core overtime citation” increased from $30 to $50 and then up to $100 and $200 for multiple offenses, with a municipal court date as a final solution for the most egregious scofflaws. The increases are part of the city engineering department’s goals to free up parking in the downtown core and crack down on offenders.
City Braces for Economic Slowdown
City of Aspen financiers are heading into the second half of the year bracing for a slowdown in the local economy, the Aspen Times reported. That’s based on several factors, including a slow-down trend in sales tax revenues for the first four months of the year compared with the same time in 2021. The city and the resort are facing a headwind with increasing fuel costs and staffing shortages in the hospitality sector. While the city is losing ground in sales tax revenue, it’s estimated the municipal government will be up 12% in collections at the end of the year over 2021.
Visitor Numbers Start to Soften
Booking rates and occupancy statistics are softening in the Snowmass lodging market, the Aspen Times reported. The combined occupancy rate data for Aspen and Snowmass Village showed that “summer to date, May through October, we’re down 11% year over year,” according to marketing director Rose Abello. The summer average room rate is $278 this year compared with $272 last year — but in the village, the paid occupancy rate is currently tracking at 25.7% for 2022 compared with 28.2%. Abello said there is some price resistance among guests, and that people are putting off, or decreasing, travel because of higher gas prices.
Town Council Adopts Connectivity Plan
Snowmass Town Council adopted a connectivity plan that’s years in the making and 80 pages with appendices included, the Aspen Times reported. It lists more than a dozen goals that focus on linking up the town’s commercial hubs (Snowmass Center, Base Village, and the Snowmass Mall, mainly) and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists all over the village.
It took years to approve because the review process has been bogged down by the details about how the town might achieve the goals laid out in the plan. In the meantime, the town has already completed some of the projects proposed in the plan, like implementing crosswalk signs with flashing beacon lights, and the wheels are in motion for other pedestrian safety improvements along Highline Road and the section of Brush Creek Road known as the Donny White Curve.
Tree Farm Full Speed Ahead
A Scottsdale developer with a major stake in the Tree Farm development in El Jebel remains bullish on the project despite the bearish stock market and hints of a recession, the Aspen Times reported. Walt Brown Jr. said his team is ready to roll on a mixed residential and commercial project on the west end of Kodiak Lake across Highway 82 from Whole Foods. He anticipates acquiring building permits from Eagle County and breaking ground in July.
Brown’s family has acquired roughly one-quarter of the land in the Tree Farm project. Landowner Ace Lane acquired approvals from Eagle County in 2017 for nearly 135,000 square feet of commercial space and up to 340 residences. Two Dallas-based real estate development firms are building 156 free-market apartments and 40 apartments with rent caps on the east end of the lake. Brown’s property has approvals for about 70 residences and 54,000 square feet of restaurant, retail, and office space. Another Dallas-based development firm, Bedford Lodging, is building the 122-room Hoffmann Hotel near the Willits Lane-Highway 82 intersection.
Town Government Tries to Rein in Short-Term Rentals
The town of Carbondale began accepting applications for short-term rental licenses and decided that all STRs must be licensed by July 31, the Aspen Daily News reported. After that, the town will pause new licenses with some exceptions as officials gather data and decide on what permanent regulations should be put in place. Licenses issued before July 31 will remain valid until Dec. 31, 2023.
Earlier this year, a grassroots group asked the town’s board of trustees to consider some regulations, saying that STRs put a strain on the community. They also circulated a petition to put a measure on the ballot this fall. There is no official record of how many STRs are in town, but a search on Google returns 60 offerings in Carbondale.
CDOT Grant to Fund Sixth Street Project
Sixth Street, once Glenwood Springs’ main artery, is to be revitalized as a multimodal community thoroughfare with the help of a $1.1 million grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported. Glenwood Springs plans to reconstruct Sixth Street from Laurel Street to Pine Street, addressing safety concerns for vehicles, pedestrians and bikes. Scheduled to begin in 2023, the Sixth Street project could convert five existing vehicle lanes into a two-way “Complete Street” with two vehicle lanes, parallel parking lanes, 8-feet wide walkways, tree and landscaping areas as well as an 8-foot-wide, two-way separated bike lane.
After Debate, Commissioners Grant TDR for Historic Property
Pitkin County commissioners approved a proposal that will lead to historic preservation of an old farmhouse, barn and henhouse in Emma, the Aspen Times reported. In return for the property owners preserving the roughly 100-year-old structures, the county will grant a transferrable development right that can be sold on the open market. The sale will raise funds for the renovation work.
The farmstead at 2250 Emma Road was established by Joseph and Sidonie Dossigny in 1907. The original house burned down and the current one was built in 1925. Some of the commissioners were wary of the historic preservation deal because they don’t want to see transferable development right, or TDR, used to increase the house size elsewhere in the county and questioned if the TDR program had outgrown its intent. Despite reticence, it was approved, and the homeowners say they are eager to restore the property.
Board Approves Short-Term Rental Regulations
The Pitkin County commissioners reached a compromise on short-term rental restrictions by bumping up the maximum number of rental nights to 120 from 90 per year, the Aspen Times reported. They finally got a rule on the books after more than 20 estimated discussions, four official readings, endless hours of debate and divided public comments. The regulation will apply to unincorporated Pitkin County only — not short-term rentals in Aspen or Snowmass Village. It will affect Redstone, where there has been vigorous debate among residents about rentals.