Quality of Life in Sedona – Sedona vs. Aspen

Sedona AZ Real Estate vs. Aspen CO Real Estate

sedona az real estateAs an aside for those who believe Sedona prices will never return to the levels we saw five years ago, consider Aspen, Colorado. Granted, Aspen is unique in it’s combination of world-class skiing, breathtaking scenery, a limited supply of private land surrounded by National Forest, and the glamour of being the playground of the rich and famous. Driven by a seemingly unlimited inflow of money from people in the entertainment industry, the median recorded sales price for a house is $3.5 million! Compare that with the MRSP for a home in Sedona: $350,000.

How can one seriously compare Aspen and Sedona?

Very Favorably.

If skiing is a consideration, it’s about an hour away from Flagstaff. As a former longtime Coloradoan (and Aspen habitué), I give it high marks. Aspen Mountain/Ajax it ain’t, but it is on a par with most of the medium-sized Colorado ski areas, the snow is excellent (when we have it – the last two years have been sparse), and it’s noticeably warmer (I’m getting too old to freeze to death on chair lifts).

But, people certainly don’t come to Sedona for the skiing.  They come for the gorgeous scenery – in May 2003, USA Today named it #1 in a list of “The Most Beautiful Places in America.” The come for the mild, four-season climate.  They come for the informal, laid-back, but active life-style, rich in the visual and performing arts and cosmopolitan culture.  Sedona’s a small town which benefits greatly from being a internationally-renown resort area.  Excellent restaurants, world-class spas, great galleries, top-ranked golf, and less than a two hour drive to the cultural, dining, and sports offering of the 5th largest city in the US, Phoenix.

I truly love the awesome grandeur of the Rockies, but I find Sedona even more beautiful, albeit in quite a different way. It is spectacularly and movingly gorgeous in an almost mystical way. After more than seventeen years here, I still find myself completely enthralled by the play of light and shadows on the red rock cliffs and fantastical formations.

And the supply of private land?

Like Aspen, Sedona is encircled by National Forest. In fact, it is said that only 7% of the Sedona area is privately held. As Will Rogers once said, “Buy land; God ain’t making anymore of it.”

As for the rich and famous, Sedona is beginning to be discovered by the younger generation.  John Wayne and a host of older Hollywood types discovered it long ago.  Now people like Al Pacino, Sharon Stone, Madonna, and other celebs are reputed to have homes here. Our client, Nic cage, has been considering it for some time and will do it one of these days.

Most celebrities, though, keep homes here to which they quietly escape. They also keep a low profile and happily blend into the scenery without much hoopla or ostentatious club hopping with their entourages. Here their privacy is respected and they are just fellow citizens.

Word of Sedona’s heavenly surroundings and quality of life is slowly spreading and we’re starting to be discovered. I’m hopeful that we’ll be spared the tidal wave of “in-ness” experienced by Aspen, but the tide is surely rising.

Rumor has it, by the way, that Sedona’s popularity is on the rise among Aspenites.  At the same time, the relatively low prices for Sedona real estate are beginning to surge and I expect them to eventually approach the heights found in places like Aspen, Jackson Hole, and Carmel.