Founded in 1878, Telluride has a history as colorful as the alpenglow on surrounding mountain peaks and brightly painted Victorian homes. In the early 1880s as the area’s mining boom began lots sold for as little as $1. Houses ranging in size from simple wooden shacks – some of which still exist today – to mine owners’ grand Victorian mansions sprang up across town. In 1891, the world’s first alternating power plant was designed and built just outside Telluride for the area’s mines and mills. Soon after, Telluride was one of the first towns in the world to be completely illuminated by electricity.
In 1972 the Telluride Ski Resort opened and tourism took over as the area’s economic mainstay. Since then Telluride has steadily grown, becoming a year-round, world-class destination resort. Today, with the region recognized as one of the country’s hottest areas, Telluride, Mountain Village and the surrounding communities continue to provide a unique combination of rustic and refined elements for visitors, investors, second home owners and locals alike.
There are a number of factors contributing to the Telluride region’s strength, not the least of which are Telluride’s stunning physical beauty, its unique geographical features and the limited supply of developable property in the immediate area.
The San Juan Mountain Range is a younger, more rugged version of Colorado’s front range and the Town of Telluride is set in a box canyon, surrounded on three sides by peaks reaching up over 13,000 feet. The town itself is a National Historic Landmark District roughly eight blocks wide and 12 blocks long and peppered with colorful Victorian homes and clapboard storefronts. Its architectural integrity is safeguarded by the town’s Historic and Architectural Review Commission and a strict set of guidelines for renovations, remodels and new development.
Telluride’s small geographic area, together with high demand, have propelled property values to new highs, especially in the last couple of years. Low interest rates have fueled demand, but more important, buyers have been attracted by the town’s pedestrian lifestyle. Telluride is the true epicenter of a dynamic lifestyle for just over 3,000 full-time residents. The average lot size in the Town of Telluride is 25’x117′, although there are some that are larger. Prices for single family residences in the Town of Telluride range from $1.4 million to over $10 million. Condominiums range from approximately $160,000 to $8 million. Buyers have also been encouraged by recent increases in rental values, which are now strong throughout most of the year, particularly during ski season and the busy summer festival season.
Connected to Telluride by the Telluride Ski Area and an innovative gondola transportation system is the Mountain Village, a European-styled alpine village providing unsurpassable scenic ambiance. Ski runs meander through the town, giving many homes, condominiums and hotels direct access to Telluride Ski Resort.
Single family residence prices in Mountain Village range from approximately $1.7 million to over $11 million. Houses typically sit on lots between .5 and 1.5 acres and range from around 4,000 sq. ft to over 7,000 sq. ft. of livable space with some over 10,000 sq. ft. Condominiums in Mountain Village are priced from approximately $175,000 to $5.6 million for a penthouse that rivals mountain properties anywhere in the world.
Moving beyond the two towns, Telluride offers a wide range of choices in terms of mesa, river and residential subdivision properties. Again, planning and zoning for these areas limits the amount of development possible in each of these market segments.
Regardless of where you’re located, Telluride’s busy summer festival schedule, exceptional skiing, wide range of outdoor activities and vibrant cultural community offer a unique quality of western living and attract tourists and investors year round.