Pitkin County hits $2 billion in property sales in 2015
January 3, 2016
Property sales in Pitkin County hit $2 billion in 2015, the first time since 2007.
That's according to data from Land Title Guarantee and an Aspen Times review of real estate deals in 2015.
Pitkin County's record for dollar volume of real estate sales, $2.64 billion, was set in 2006. The $2 billion mark also was eclipsed in 2005 and 2007 before the recession struck, forcing a contraction of longtime real estate firms and layoffs among many local businesses dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the industry.
"I don't think we're riding a bubble," broker Joshua Saslove said. "In 2007 going into 2008, that was a bubble that went up pretty consistently for quite a few years, so it was no surprise. When you go up really fast, you go down really fast."
From 2009 to 2011, total sales volume in Pitkin County dropped below $1 billion. But since 2012, it has topped that mark, with 2014 generating nearly $1.7 billion in sales.
A major component of the high sales volume was the luxury sector last year.
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In 2015, 36 property deals in Pitkin County were worth at least $10 million, nine of which bettered $20 million. Last year, three transactions were north of $20 million.
"For (2015), it's a banner year for the ultra-luxury high end," said Andrew Ernemann of Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty.
Ernemann, however, cautioned that he is seeing a trend of rising inventory or, in other words, Pitkin County's supply of homes for sale.
"The cocktail buzz has been that real estate is so strong, but look a few layers behind the trend and you see the inventory is rising," he said.
If that trend continues into this year, the question will be if the demand for homes meets the supply of them.
But for now, Ernemann said downtown Aspen, Red Mountain and the West End are seller's markets; west of town is more of a buyer's market.
Saslove, whose namesake firm joined forces with Douglas Elliman last year, feels confident enough in the market that three of the local offices — at Aspen Highlands, Snowmass Village and the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall — will be renovated this year. Another location will be opened later this year at 520 Durant Ave.
"This is a much smoother ride (than prerecession)," he said. "And I think everybody, by and large, feels we're on safe ground."
The 10 most expensive transactions of 2015 combined for nearly $300 million — that's roughly one-seventh of total sales volume for the year.
Here's a snapshot of those deals, which also include commercial properties:
1. Hotel Jerome, downtown Aspen
Price: $72.5 million
Date recorded: Feb. 10
Buyer: Iconic Properties-Jerome LLC, Dan Friedkin
Seller: DRW Real Estate
Address: 330 E. Main St.
Worth noting: While the historic Hotel Jerome was the centerpiece of the deal, it also included the former Aspen Times building next door and the two-story Cortina Lodge, which houses Jerome employees, about a block away on Main Street. Auberge Resorts Collection has operated the Hotel Jerome since 2011. In 2013, Friedkin, of Houston, made a major investment in California-based Auberge Resorts, thrusting him to majority owner of the firm. He also is chairman of Auberge's board of directors.
2. 155 and 200 Sabin Road, Red Mountain
Price: $29.5 million
Date recorded: Dec. 18
Buyer: Red Mountain Trust
Seller: 0155 Sabin Road LLC
Property type: Single-family residential
Total heated area: 16,961 square feet
3. Boogie's Building, downtown Aspen
Price: $27.5 million
Date recorded: May 21
Address: 534 E. Cooper Ave.
Buyer: Thor 534 East Cooper Avenue, Thor High Street Advisors
Seller: Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass
Total heated area: 12,499 square feet
4. 250 Willoughby Way, Red Mountain
Date recorded: Aug. 11
Buyer: 250 Willoughby's LLC
Seller: 250 Aspen LLC (Gahanna, Ohio)
Total heated area: Site-plan review allows maximum floor area of 11,037 square feet
5. 113 Trentaz Drive, Starwood
Price: $25.7 million
Date recorded: Jan. 26
Buyer: Willoughby Partners, Dallas
Seller: McLain Flats Partners LLC
Property type: Single-family
Total heated area: 13,794 square feet
6. 535 E. Hyman Ave., downtown Aspen penthouse
Price: $25 million
Date recorded: Nov. 12
Buyer: NZC CO LLC, Delaware
Seller: Aspen Core Ventures
Property type: Condo-penthouse
Year built: Under construction
Square footage: 10,000 (includes storage and parking)
Worth noting: The transaction was made off market, meaning the property wasn't listed for sale. The sellers, Aspen Core Ventures, which is controlled by Andy and Nikos Hecht, plan to keep the building's remaining 20,000 square feet and lease it out to commercial tenants.
Price: $23.5 million
Date recorded: Jan. 14
Buyer: Bellejackblue LLC
Seller: Catto Charitable Foundation
Worth noting: The 60-acre property, once owned by dignitary Henry Catto, was conveyed to the foundation in 2009. Catto, who died in 2011 at the age of 81, met with President George H.W. Bush and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on the property on Aug. 2, 1990, when they decided to launch the first invasion of Iraq. Catto was the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom at the time.
8. Lift One, base of Aspen Mountain
Price: $22 million
Date recorded: May 26
Buyer: Lift One Lodge Aspen LLC
Seller: Roaring Fork Mountain Lodge Aspen LLC
Worth noting: Aspen hoteliers Aaron and Michael Brown represent the owners, which are eyeing a timeshare development with retail and restaurant space, which would encompass 77,000 square feet.
9. 1200 and 1523 Star Mesa Road, Starwood
Price: $20.685 million
Date recorded: Dec. 9
Buyer: Starview and Star Sky Holdings
Seller: Craig and Colleen Slater and Juniper Family Investments
Property type: Single-family residential
Total land: 77.4 acres
Total heated area: 11,908 square feet
10. 189 Larson Drive, Starwood
Price: 19.3 million
Date recorded: April 24
Buyer: Aliaron LLC
Seller: Starwood Larson LLC
Year built: 2003
Total heated area: 15,812 square feet