Basalt once served as a bedroom community for Aspen’s worker bees, but with increasing amenities, including the growth of the Willits commercial/residential development, people are looking to the midvalley to get more bang for their buck.
“At least half of our buyers are from Aspen and Snowmass,” says Kristen Maley, a longtime Basalt resident and broker for Berkshire Hathaway. “They can sell their $4 million condo in Aspen and move down here, where—bonus—there is culture, live music, restaurants, you name it.”
Eighteen miles from Aspen, Basalt was one of the strongest local areas for real estate in 2017, with the majority of condo and home sales coming in under $1 million. For the first quarter of 2018, residential sales prices were up 7 percent from the same time last year.
The town’s commercial centers are split between Old Town Basalt, near the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan Rivers (fly-fishing meccas both) and Willits, a few miles west along Highway 82. Whole Foods is an anchor, and new restaurants and shops have driven the latter’s success—and pulled away some business from downtown. Nightlife got a welcome boost recently with the opening of the Temporary in Willits, which presents live music, comedy, theater, and more.
Outdoor recreation is a strong draw, with easily accessible hiking and mountain biking trails, numerous sporting amenities at Crown Mountain Park, and the paved Rio Grande Trail traversing the town’s southern side. Water-sports lovers head 15 miles up the Fryingpan Valley to float and boat on glistening Ruedi Reservoir.
Second-home owners are increasingly discovering Basalt, initially drawn by places like the exclusive Roaring Fork Club golf and fishing community, where a rustic yet luxurious cabin that’s part of a current expansion fetches $5 million (though fractional ownership opportunities cost less). But they’re also buying in older luxury townhome complexes like The Wilds, high on a hillside above town, newer ones like Park Modern in Willits, and in the outlying neighborhood of Missouri Heights, which offers ample acreage and ranches complemented by stunning views of the Elk Mountains.
Despite the new development, historic downtown, which dates to Basalt’s origins as a railroad town in the late 1800s, retains a hard-to-match charm. Former Aspen resident Kristin Kenny recently bought a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo at Gold Rivers Court. It’s an older property, but for Kenny, location trumps all. She’s in the heart of Old Town, and her sliding glass door opens to the Fryingpan River. “I looked at Willits and farther down because that was in my price point, too,” she says. “But this is a more intimate community.”
(includes surrounding neighborhoods like Missouri Heights, Blue Lake, and Sopris Village)
Number of active listings at press time: 118
Active average home price:
Number of homes sold in 2017: 170
Average price of homes sold in 2017:
Average number of days on the market: 177