Amid the fractional frenzy, buyers opt not to share
In the heat of Aspen’s fractional-ownership frenzy, a couple of new projects touting old-fashioned ownership – the kind in which the buyer isn’t sharing the home, or its price tag, with anyone else – are attracting attention.The first 11 free-market condos at Monarch on the Park – part of the Limelite Lodge redevelopment – went on the market Saturday, March 11. By the following Wednesday, five of them had been reserved, according to local broker Rich Wagar of Rich Wagar Associates. In all, the project will include 14 condos across Monarch Street from Wagner Park.Of the 13 single-family homes currently being offered across town at Fox Crossing, seven have been reserved, said Raifie Bass, broker/owner at Aspen Land & Homes Sotheby’s International Realty.Prospective buyers are depositing $100,000 apiece for a piece of Monarch on the Park, a project that will offer an assortment of condos ranging in price from about $3.5 million to $7.5 million and in size from two-bedroom, two-bath units to a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath condo.While fractional and timeshare units are dominating the area real estate market at the moment – 27 out of 38 sales recorded last week in Pitkin County fell into that category – the opportunity to buy a wholly owned, brand-new residence in downtown Aspen is relatively rare, Wagar noted.”You look at the market right now – as far as we know, these are the only 100 percent ownership units downtown right now,” he said.Wagar doesn’t expect them to linger on the market.”The sophisticated buyer knows the biggest buying season is in the summer,” he said. “If they want to come back during the summer, all the good stuff is going to be gone.”Developer Greg Hills had three downtown single-family residences available at the Conner Lofts project on Hopkins Avenue, but one of them will be his family’s home and the other two lots were sold without ever formally putting them on the market. One went for about $2.25 million and the other fetched a little more than $2 million, he said. The buyers will build the planned residences, which Hills shepherded through the approval process, themselves.Fox Crossing, outside the downtown core, will include 18 single-family homes on Aspen’s east side, in an area bounded by Lone Pine Road, Walnut and Race streets. Thirteen of them went on the market for reservation last fall, but interest heated up early this year when work began at the site, Bass said.”We really started getting a lot of activity when we started moving a lot of dirt,” he said.Prospective buyers – seven so far – are putting up $25,000 that becomes part of a deposit equal to 10 percent of the purchase price to reserve a home. A house priced at $5 million, for example, will ultimately require $500,000 to reserve, Bass said. Two deals have been cemented, and Bass expects two more shortly.The smallest home at Fox Crossing will be about 3,600 square feet and four bedrooms, priced at $3.9 million. The largest, at 6,900 square feet and probably six bedrooms, is priced at $9.2 million, he said.Buyers recognize a wholly owned house in Aspen as an investment that is likely to appreciate in value, or at least remain stable in the event of a significant national economic downturn, Bass said.”I think a lot of second-home owners started looking at their properties as a stable investment asset, not just a vacation home,” he said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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