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Aspen real estate market soars past other resorts

When it comes to real estate sales in the Colorado mountain resorts, Aspen soars above the competition in most metrics.

The total dollar volume of all sales topped $2 billion in Pitkin County in 2015, dominated by activity in Aspen and Snowmass Village. That was an increase of a whopping 32.5 percent in dollar volume from 2014, according to a year-end report by Land Title Guarantee Co. that looked at sales in seven mountain counties.

Eagle County, spurred by sales in Vail and Beaver Creek, was close behind at $1.99 billion for an increase of nearly 12 percent over 2014, the report showed.

Summit County, which includes Breckenridge, Frisco and Dillon, was a distant third with sales of $1.37 billion for strong growth of nearly 30 percent from 2014.

Routt County (Steamboat Springs), Garfield County (Glenwood Springs), San Miguel County (Telluride) and Grand County (Winter Park) were between $406 million and $700 million in sales. All posted better years in 2015 than 2014, except San Miguel County.

All told, the total real estate sales volume in the seven counties was $7.47 billion in 2015. That’s an increase of 18 percent from the $6.33 billion logged in 2014, according to Land Title Guarantee Co.

The sales volume was the highest for the seven counties since the pre-recession blitz of 2007, when combined sales topped $11 billion, the report showed.

‘Ultra-luxury’ difference

The factor that elevates Aspen and Pitkin County above other mountain resorts in real estate activity is “ultra-luxury sales,” said Andrew Ernemann, a real estate agent with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. He defines ultra-luxury as residences sold for $10 million or more.

There were just fewer than 30 such sales in the Aspen area in 2015 and slightly more than 30 for Pitkin County overall, Ernemann said. It was a record year for sales in that category, he said.

The sales combined for about $450 million — or one-third of the total volume for sales of wholly owned residential real estate in the Aspen area, he said.

In Eagle County, there were approximately nine sales of residences for $10 million or more in 2015, according to an Aspen Times estimate from using the Eagle County Assessor’s website. One of those sales was in the Fryingpan Valley, influenced by the Aspen real estate market.

Ernemann said strong sales in Aspen’s commercial core were another major contributor to the Pitkin County market’s strong showing in 2015.

High price per square foot

The report by Land Title Guarantee Co. shows that Eagle and Summit counties dwarfed Pitkin County when it came to the number of real estate transactions. Eagle County logged 2,061 transactions last year while Summit County had 2,537. Pitkin County registered 790.

The high dollar volume and relatively low number of transactions in Pitkin County translates into a high price per transaction.

The average single-family home price in Pitkin County was nearly $5 million compared with $1.2 million in Eagle and $856,000 in Summit, the title insurance company’s report showed. Garfield County’s average single-family home sales price last year was $388,233, the report showed.

The median price of single-family and multi-family residences was $1,362,500 in Pitkin County last year compared with $572,225 in Eagle County and $421,000 in Summit County.

The average price per square foot of single-family and multi-family residences sold last year was $1,048.73 in Pitkin County. It was $338 in Eagle County and $314.15 in Summit County, Land Title Guarantee Co. reported.

The report also showed that new construction is thriving in the mountain towns. There were 28 sales of newly constructed residences and commercial spaces in Pitkin County last year. They accounted for nearly $277 million in sales or 13.77 percent of the overall gross, Land Title Guarantee Co. said.

There were 152 transactions involving new structures in Eagle County, accounting for $206 million or 10.37 percent of the overall amount.

Garfield County had the least amount of new construction among the seven mountain resort counties.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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