Aspen real estate market up in 2002 |

Aspen real estate market up in 2002

The upper valley’s real estate market bounced back last year from a tough time in 2001, but the Basalt area remained in a slump, according to final statistics for 2002.

The dollar value of single-family home and condominium sales soared in both Aspen and Snowmass Village, according to the Aspen Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Vacant land sales continued to be sluggish in both markets, suggesting that the construction activity will remain slow.

Sales were down across the board in Basalt. Sales of condominiums dropped 27 percent. Sales of vacant land plunged 59 percent. Single-family home sales were down only 5 percent in Basalt.

Despite the mixed results, real estate agents are generally pleased with the way 2002 turned out, said Carol Hood, a past president with the Aspen Board of Realtors and an agent with Mason and Morse. Realtors who have been here a long time and have survived tough times before fared well again, she said.

@ATD Sub heds:Condo sales led way

@ATD body copy: Despite the ups and downs of various parts of the market, the total dollar value of real estate sold from Aspen to the Basalt area was up 8 percent to $922.67 million, according to Hood’s analysis of sales data.

The strength of the market was condo sales. Sales in the Aspen area jumped from 88 in 2001 to 105 last year. Dollar volume was up 10 percent to $123.12 million.

Condo sales were even stronger in Snowmass Village. The number of sales increased from 59 to 75. The dollar volume skyrocketed 71 percent to $67.37 million.

Single-family sales in the Aspen area increased from 68 in 2001 to 72 last year but the dollar volume climbed 10 percent to $263.05 million.

In Snowmass Village, home sales increased from 36 to 44. Dollar volume was up 31 percent to $109.55 million.

Hood said sales were particularly strong in the higher end of the market – in the $5 million to $20 million range.

The median sale price of a home in Aspen increased from $3.27 million to $3.54 million.

On average, sellers of Aspen homes received 90 percent of the asking price. That was down from 100 percent the year before, according to her analysis.

@ATD Sub heds:Loaded with inventory

@ATD body copy: The eye-catching quality of the market right now is the staggering amount of property that’s for sale.

Bob Ritchie, a member of the managing broker group for Coates, Reid and Waldron, said in his analysis of the market that the inventory of homes is at its highest level since 1985. There is a 3.5-year supply based on the current absorption rate.

At the end of last year, the total value of the property on the market was $3.37 billion, according to his calculations.

Despite that hefty inventory, Ritchie said Aspen-area real estate is still a good investment for the future.

“From Economics 101, due to zoning Aspen has no new supply and continually growing demand, thus prices will move upward over the long term,” he wrote.

Hood said the ample inventory, along with “price corrections,” helped spur the strong single-family home sales.

@ATD Sub heds:What’s wrong with Basalt?

@ATD body copy: Single-family home sales were the only bright spot for the Basalt area, but the market produced mixed results even there.

The number of homes sold was flat, dropping from 76 to 75. The dollar volume was down 5 percent to $39.39 million.

The median sales price of a home sold in Basalt dropped for the first time in years. It fell from $531,000 in 2001 to $505,500 last year. However, the sales price as a percentage of the listing price held steady at about 95 percent.

Condo sales dropped from 72 to 52 and the dollar volume decreased 27 percent to $15.91 million in Basalt. Hood said low mortgage rates convinced some buyers to go for a home rather than a condo.

Land sales also slowed downvalley, dropping from 37 to 26 sales last year. The dollar volume fell 59 percent to $4.75 million.

Hood said she sensed that caution over the weak U.S. and local economy was affecting the market segment between $500,000 and $700,000 more than higher niches. Some homeowners in Basalt who were considering selling their homes and buying more expensive property put their plans on hold or opted to add a room, she said.

Even with sales slower in the Basalt area, Ritchie noted that downvalley is still an increasingly important part of the market.

Downvalley sales accounted for 8 percent of the overall market in 1990. That increased to 23 percent last year.

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