Real estate still down in August | AspenTimes.com

Real estate still down in August

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen CO, Colorado

ASPEN ” First the good news: August was the best month of 2008 for sales in the Pitkin County real estate market. Now the bad news: the market still stinks compared to last year.

A monthly analysis by Land Title Guarantee Co. shows that sales totaled $160.52 million in August. That was the highest monthly amount so far this year. Nevertheless, the dollar volume was down 21.5 percent from last August’s total of $204.48 million, the report showed. Sales have declined each month this year compared to the same month the prior year.

For the year-to-date through August, sales are down 44.19 percent, Land Title Guarantee Co’s report showed. Sales were at $1.79 billion through August last year.

They are at $1 billion during the same period this year. That is the lowest level at this point in the year since 2004, Land Title Guarantee Co.’s report said.

The Aspen-area real estate market experienced record-setting performances in 2005 and 2006 before it cooled last year. Therefore, this year’s numbers look bad, in part, because they are stacked against records. The number of transactions has also tanked this year. There were 66 real estate transactions in August. Those include everything from McMansions to employee housing. That’s down 42 percent from 113 transactions in August 2007.

For the year so far, there have been 585 transactions, down nearly 27 percent from the 876 logged through August last year.

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Market observers said the national economy’s woes have trickled down to Aspen. Money is difficult to borrow and some of the buyers who typically don’t need loans are taking a beating in the roller coaster ride on Wall Street. The financial insecurity is making people cautious about spending money.

Nevertheless, the average sales price for residences of all types in Aspen was $5.44 million in Aspen last month and $2,68 million in Snowmass Village.

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