BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Good real estate deals are available in many U.S. ski areas these days because of the housing bust -- but things are beginning to go downhill for bargain hunters.
"Buyers had more of the upper hand for a long time in many markets, but that dynamic is starting to change," says Andrew Ernemann, president of the Aspen Board of Realtors in ski-friendly Aspen, Colo.
Ernemann, a broker/associate at realty firm B.J. Adams & Co. says Aspen home prices stabilized in 2012 after tumbling during the Great Recession.
"There are still values to be found, but the market is much more in balance," he says.In the ski mecca of Park City, Utah, Jeff Spencer of Resorts West Real Estate reports that Realtors saw an uptick in sales beginning Jan. 1. "
Rich buyers historically propped up Aspen's housing prices even when the U.S. economy tanked, but even they couldn't protect the local market from the Great Recession and the recent housing bust. "We learned in 2008 and 2009 that we're not immune to broad economic cycles," Ernemann says. So buyers looking for the best prices in ski country should obviously hunt for deals when the housing market and broad economy are weak -- as they still somewhat are today. The time of year when you look for ski properties can also make a big difference. For instance, Ernemann says Aspen's bargain hunters often wait until just past the community's key February/March and July/August home-buying seasons and focus on properties that didn't sell.