How Luxury Properties in Aspen Have Changed Over the Years

Engel Lansburgh Team  |  October 16, 2022

How Luxury Properties in Aspen Have Changed Over the Years

Aspen is well known for its luxury properties and healthy lifestyle along with world-class amenities and activities in both winter and summer. Property offerings have changed over the years. Aspen’s reputation as a luxury destination has a long history, but plenty has changed in the past two decades which has impacted the luxury properties in the area. Namely, who’s looking for them and advancing technology available in both renovated and new homes.

The luxury real estate market in Aspen has cooled slightly in some areas, although it has stayed quite strong in various price points, including the ultra-luxury market. Demand increased significantly during Covid, but has now leveled out slightly. There is still limited quality inventory in many market segments throughout Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt and the Roaring Fork Valley. With this in mind, here’s how Aspen luxury real estate has changed in the past 20 years.

A history of Aspen

Aspen’s rise to luxury began in the 1930s, with the introduction of renowned architects building in the area. In particular, the Highland Bavarian Lodge is important as a marker of the ski industry, completed in 1936 to compete with other European resorts. Coupled with this, the creations of The Aspen Institute, the Aspen Music Festival, and the Aspen Skiing Company, boosted Aspen into its luxury destination status.

Attitudes of locals and celebrities in the area shifted sometime during the 80s and 90s. Soon, the area began catering to a luxury crowd, boosting the development of high-end properties. Single family homes and luxury condos in Aspen often have a contemporary or mountain contemporary look, with large windows highlighting the beautiful mountain and nature views the area offers. Many properties are spacious with clean lines. However, we have had a number of buyers who only want the cozy mountain, log home as well. Aspen offers so much natural beauty, with luxury properties including fusion of indoor and outdoor living. Here’s a deeper look into how houses in Aspen have changed.

How luxury has changed

Luxury across the nation has changed over the past two decades, reflected in Aspen properties as well. For one, the word luxury itself is harder to pin down, as it’s used so often. A decade ago, luxury was defined by numbers, specifically as properties in the market’s top ten percent. Today, the price isn’t the same marker as it once was. As a subjective and individualized experience, luxury to people in Aspen may mean a property’s location next to stunning views, great amenities, or seclusion from others.

Overall, luxury is noticed and felt in a property’s quality material and construction, in its beautiful or unique designs, and in the heart of great amenities. Buyers are interested in finding something that suits their needs, often looking for a property that stands out above the rest in terms of quality, location, views, or a combination of factors. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, some buyers aren’t afraid to build it themselves although building can be a very arduous and lengthy process in Aspen. Aspen’s luxury properties are influenced greatly by other factors like luxury’s global outlook, advancing technology, and the rise of millennial buyers.

A global outlook

Although regular real estate markets follow local trends and cater to buyers in the area, that isn’t the case with luxury markets like those in Aspen. This is because in many cases, our buyers are not local. This trend is especially evident in resort lifestyle destinations and second-home markets, like Aspen. Part of this shift has to do with buyers' wants; they’ll look for a property type rather than a location, which can result in searches for ski resort locations across the globe. However, Aspen real estate has a proven history and many buyers are focused solely on this mountain town with incredible cultural amenities and outdoor activities. During Covid, many Buyers began to rethink their primary residence. They wanted to find a place where their life would be more manageable, smaller and still could have all the conveniences of a larger city. Aspen offers everything one could want in a smaller, healthier, safer and more beautiful setting.

The globalizing luxury market is also impacted by a globalizing economy, in which travel for work is becoming more and more common. And with a rise in remote work, people are no longer tied to one place geographically, giving them more freedom to choose properties where they want. Especially as Aspen blossomed into the luxury ski resort destination it is today, its reach continues to grow.

Advancing technology

Another factor that has changed Aspen and Snowmass real estate is advancing technology. Technology has boomed over the past 20 decades with smart appliances and faster ways to communicate over handheld devices, and this technology is now implemented in properties today. Not only does technology make living more comfortable, but it makes it more energy efficient. Higher quality lighting and heating systems, alongside eco-conscious energy sources like solar panels, make luxury more convenient.

Some features that a property in Aspen might have now that it didn’t have 20 years ago include smart-home technology like  internet-controlled systems, for lighting, music, security, and energy efficient features like solar and geothermal heat. As technology continues to advance, so will its incorporation into high-end homes, making for an even more luxurious experience.

Advancing technology has also impacted the way buyers and agents work. For one, buyers not local to the area are able to find luxury properties easier than in the past due to online listing platforms. And agents have had to learn to accommodate buyers in these online spaces by using tools like virtual or 3-D walkthroughs and videos. Buyers are more knowledgeable than ever, and should expect their brokers to be knowledgeable as well and to create added value for their buying or selling experience. After the negotiations of the purchase take place, the details from the under-contract to the closing table shows clients just how valuable the brokers are.

Rise of millennials

Luxury properties are also impacted by those who search for them, namely millennials. Children and teens two decades ago, millennials today are impacting the real estate market. Many millennials are buying luxury properties in resort markets, with buying power fueled by high-paying tech and finance jobs, among other industries.

Although their start into the housing market may have been delayed, now that they’re searching, millennials are changing the market. As they grew up with the rise of technology, increasing technological advancements in luxury properties will likely become more common. They are  also more likely to work from home, increasing demand for properties in areas they can enjoy, like more remote locations offering natural beauty.

Ready to search for Aspen properties?

Aspen has changed significantly from its small-town roots in the 1930s, and the luxury market in the past 20 years has been impacted by modern and global influences. If you’re interested in an Aspen luxury property, contact Jen Engel or Marian Lansburgh of the Engel Lansburgh Team, your Aspen luxury real estate agents to guide you through the process.

Work With Us