Flashback to 2006-2007?
“Real estate market sees major boost in July sales”. That was the front page headline in last week’s Crested Butte News. Huh? A major boost in real estate sales while most other markets are still slumping? Actually, it makes sense and is correct.
Recently, a house in town sold for $2 million, an all time record sale for a house in the town of Crested Butte proper. Just the other day, a commercial parcel well located in the town entrance was put under contract. This is after having been actively on the market for over 5 years!
What is going on here? You wouldn’t ordinarily expect a second home market to rebound before many primary home markets, especially in this economy. But people are becoming value conscious, not only in everyday purchases, but also in investments. Why buy into a mature ski resort market such as Aspen or Vail, when there is much more opportunity here in Crested Butte? Houses are much more affordable in comparison, and with the Denver traffic to the I-70 corridor ski areas being what it is, driving time to Crested Butte isn’t dissimilar from Vail. This place is also, in my opinion, much more beautiful, special and rare. No dead pine trees from bark beetles either.
Last week I hiked to Aspen with some friends. We do this trip every year, and this year the wildflowers were better than ever making us feel like Lilliputians in a sea of gigantic blooms at shoulder level and higher. The odd thing was that in Aspen, things were very quiet. All the restaurants had availability without reservations established beforehand. One gallery we visited wasn’t even going to open that evening due to how quiet the summer had been. It was an amazing contrast to come back to CB the next day and experience a robust, vibrant Elk Avenue, and this a few days before the crowds showed up for Arts Festival.
It seems to me that between the affordability, inherent beauty and laid back nature of Crested Butte, we are starting to become “noticed” and “discovered”. Our summers are splendid, never too hot, often requiring a sweater in the evening. People are here from hotter climes, getting out into nature without worry of heat stroke within minutes. I just had friends in town from North Carolina. They were out and about with their children every minute of every day, hiking, biking, climbing, skateboarding, etc. things made much more difficult at home due to the heat and humidity, as well as the constant checking for deer ticks. We don’t have those here. I felt very fortunate that I get to live in this paradise and that more and more people are coming here to enjoy it too.