US ski resorts see millions wiped off the price of property as investors turn away for the winter experience

Huge price reductions are being seen on luxury ski properties in the US as the usual rush of seasonal interest has failed to materialise.

Both ski homes and condos in popular resort areas from Stowe in Vermont to Aspen, Colorado, are being reduced in price as owners and developers try to get sales moving. Agents are reporting falling prices and sluggish sales.

The luxury sector of the ski real estate market initially held up well at the beginning of the property downturn in the US but now it is taking the biggest hit, say property experts. Asking prices in some of the most sought after ski areas are down 15 to 30% this season. Even the best prime property with jacuzzis, heated decks and hot tubs are failing to sell.

One reason is that banks are very cautious about lending for high end real estate.  Nationally, sales of property priced over $1 million fell 1.2% in September from the year before, according to the National Association of Realtors. Some properties in the popular ski town of Park City, Utah, have seen prices reduced by a million dollars or more. ‘You could say we’re all hoping for a little something extra from Santa this year,’ said Randy Roswell, an independent realtor in Salt Lake City, Utah, who caters to home buyers in the popular Deer Valley area.

‘I never thought I would see the day of million-dollar price reductions. It’s definitely a buyer’s market,’ said Karen Barrocas of Colorado Ski Real Estate who works in markets like Aspen, Vail, and Telluride. She said more than half of the homes she shows clients have price tags that have been slashed.

As far as developers are concerned sales have dried up and financing problems have forced them to delay or to abandon residential projects. Few ski resort operators have escaped, according to Paul Mathews, president of Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners in Whistler, a community that is a co-host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. He has been involved in the planning and design of about 30 international ski resort projects in the past year, from North America to Europe and Asia.

‘Real estate sales just dropped dead as long as 20 months ago,’ he said but  some resorts have weathered the downturn better than others, especially those with good locations, great skiing, unusual amenities and solid financing, he added.


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