Pitkin County hits $2 billion in property sales in 2015 | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County hits $2 billion in property sales in 2015

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

Price: $26,723,810

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.

7. Catto House, Woody Creek

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

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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