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February 7, 2012
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Big deals highlight 2011 real estate in Snowmass

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colorado - 2011 won't go down in Snowmass Village as the most lucrative year for real estate sales, but it could be remembered as a pivotal one.Glenwood Springs-based Land Title Guarantee Co. recently issued its year-end report for property transactions in Pitkin County, and on their face, the data looked uplifting for Snowmass. Real estate transactions in Snowmass in 2011 outpaced 2010 by nearly $62 million and 2009 by nearly $127 million.All told, Snowmass recorded $238.1 million in real estate transactions last year, but that figure - which accounted for nearly 19 percent of all property sales in Pitkin County in 2011 - is tempered by two high-profile deals: the $138 million foreclosure sale of Base Village and the $38.75 million acquisition of the Silvertree Hotel and Wildwood Lodge by a limited-liability company controlled by Starwood Capital Group Global, based in Greenwich, Conn.Indeed, last year's real estate figures are skewed by those closings, but agent Greg Rulon, of Aspen-based Joshua & Co., who's been selling Snowmass property since the early 1970s, is optimistic that a turnaround is imminent. "We are seeing things pick up," he said. "People are feeling a little bit better, and the general population is coming to realize that the uncertainty of the world is always going to be there. You can't control if Standard & Poor's downgrades France any more than if it downgrades the U.S. "I think people have adjusted to the way of the world in general, and I think Americans are generally optimistic and we're not very good at sitting on our hands. And I think the gradual increase in the stock market makes them feel better. It's a gradual thing. But it's not going to happen overnight."The sale of the Base Village and Silvertree, noted Rulon and Andrew Ernemann, a broker with BJ Adams and Co. in Snowmass, are obvious encouraging signs for Snowmass. "The Base Village sale was a positive beginning step," Rulon said. Ernemann's research shows, however, that residential - or all noncommercial and fractional real estate - accounted for $140.8 million in sales in 2011, compared with $155.3 million in 2010. He said his research also indicates that condominium sales spiked 83 percent last year over 2010, but single-family-home sales dropped between 19 and 20 percent. Condos were a hot property last year, Ernemann said, because of the influx of inventory."Having the broad impact of the economy and the lingering doubt of Base Village built up inventory," he explained. Sales of single-family properties dropped, Ernemann said, because buyers are looking for good bargains these days. Discounts of 25 to 49 percent on original listing prices aren't that uncommon in this climate, Rulon said.But there were still some notable residential acquisitions in Snowmass in 2011: the $11 million sale of a 5,793-square-foot home at 83 East Fork Lane, the $16 million sale of an 8,800-square-foot home in The Pines development. Both of those occurred in July. The biggest residential deal, the $17.75 million sale of the Wildcat Ranch property, happened in January 2011.The average price of a single-family home in Snowmass in 2011 was $4.5 million; the median price was $2.65 million, according to Land Title Guarantee. "The people we're dealing with still have money, the top 1 and 2 percent in the country," Rulon said. Overall in Pitkin County, real estate sales eclipsed the $1.2 billion barrier in 2011, with Aspen accounting for $826.3, or 65.1 percent, of those deals. Rulon and Ernemann said that the Snowmass property market historically has been behind Aspen, which sets the trend for real estate sales locally.rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Feb 7, 2012 06:23PM Published Feb 7, 2012 06:22PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.