When you are trying to decide where to live in Aspen, you have to consider the differences between choosing something downvalley vs. upvalley. Looking for real estate in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley region is exciting but a challenge with many questions and things to consider. The first place to start for most is to choose between upvalley and downvalley to narrow down the options.
The lifestyle will be much different from one to the other which means that you’ll need to know for sure which one makes sense for your family. Take a look at the pros and cons between the two and what the differences are between the two options.
First look at the price and location differences
A great place to start in determining the best route to go is to look at the differences in the pricing of each and what each location would mean for you. Most people have to choose their real estate purchase off of the price primarily because you’re always going to be limited on your budget and forced to compromise.
For some, having the right size matters and for others, having the perfect location matters when it comes to where they are putting the money. Choosing between upvalley and downvalley may be easier after understanding the pricing differences.
Typically, upvalley Aspen is going to be the more expensive area to live. You’re located near the best parts of Aspen including the Aspen Mountain and the Silver Queen Gondola in downtown Aspen which makes more sense as to why the area would cost more to live in. The highest real estate prices are downtown and if you want to live within a block or two of the gondola and downtown like many, you’ll have to pay more to get this luxury.
You’ll find many properties from 1-4 bedrooms here and they typically start at $1 million because of the mountain-style allure, the location, and the features like wood-burning stone fireplaces. The larger options like condos and townhouses are going to be in the multi-million-dollar mark. If that wasn’t bad, check out the private homes over on Red Mountain near the town’s historic West End, where homes are in the 8-figures.
If you choose a downvalley location, you’ll find something much lower in cost. This area is considered more affordable with 1 bedrooms in popular areas like Lakeside Condos going for $300k. when you choose a home like this one, you get more patio and backyard space, the potential to have pets, and the ability to start a garden or have a barbeque.
If you need something bigger regardless of the location, you are going to run into a higher cost. The more square footage of a property, the higher the price is going to be. On the other hand, the more square footage you get, the more likely that the cost per square footage will go down.
If you choose an upvalley property, you are likely going to end up in a condo that is smaller and doesn’t contain a backyard you were dreaming of. A downvalley property is more likely going to have the space and size you need, perfect for a young family or full-time resident.
When you choose a single-family home like this in upvalley, you’re more likely to be walking or biking distance to fun attractions like the Aspen Institute, the Benedict Music Tent, or the shuttle that takes you to downtown and the ski mountain access.
This is great for the family that wants to easily enjoy the city’s attractions but properties like this that are often fully-furnished and spacious will come at a price tag of a few million. A downvalley single-family home will likely cost less than $1 million while offering locations near bus services, parks, and shopping. You can get all of the great features of an upvalley home like wood floors, vaulted ceilings, and walk-in closets without the high price tag.
The differences in lifestyles
Another thing to consider between the two areas is what your lifestyle would look like in one compared to the other. What areas are considered upvalley vs. downvalley? Aspen is an example of upvalley, along with Snowmass Village and Starwood subdivision. This means that anything east of the Aspen or the Pitkin County Airport is going to be your upvalley area. You could also look at it as anything east of Aspen toward Independence Pass is upvalley, along with Snowmass and Woody Creek.
Your downvalley area is going to be a little harder to determine. Determining where it starts is tricky because most people think that it starts at Basalt and extends west to Glenwood Springs along Highway 8. Others say it ends at Glenwood Springs on the west but others think that it includes Old Snowmass a few miles east of Basalt on 82. Generally you can think of upvalley as Aspen to Basalt and downvalley as Basalt to Glenwood Springs.
While upvalley is going to offer a bit more luxury and proximity to main city attractions, downvalley is more likely to give you more bang for your buck. Downvalley is more affordable for families that need a single-family home but you can’t beat the views, the lifestyle, and the proximity to the best parts of the city found in downvalley. Consider a condo close to town if you aren’t a full-time resident or perhaps a full-time home in downvalley where you’re close to all kinds of city amenities at an affordable rate.