July real estate market fell short of expectations | AspenTimes.com

July real estate market fell short of expectations

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – July turned out to be more fizzle than sizzle in the Aspen-area real estate market, but real estate agents say activity is already bouncing back this month.After a strong first half of the year, the real estate industry was awaiting July eagerly, since it’s traditionally one of the busiest months of the year. Instead, the lack of activity had some of the top real estate agents in Aspen asking one another, “What was that all about?” said Carrie Wells, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker The Aspen Brokers Ltd. “All of us in the business, in the trenches, thought that July wasn’t what it ought to be,” she added.The sales volume in Pitkin County was down 46 percent in July compared to the same month the prior year, according to deeds filed with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s office. The dollar volume of all sales in the county totaled $39.38 million for the month compared to $74.16 million for July 2010, the records showed.The clerk’s records include all property transfers, from employee housing to McMansions. Real estate agents tend to look more closely at the Aspen Glenwood Springs Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data, which reflect sales handled through members of the Aspen and Glenwood Springs Board of Realtors.The MLS data for sales of single-family homes, single-family home lots, condominiums and townhouses shows that dollar volume was down almost 50 percent in July compared to July 2010, according to a report by Andrew Ernemann, a real estate agent with B.J. Adams and Co. His report focused on sales in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Basalt. The sales volume was $26 million this July compared to $51.96 million in July 2010, his report showed.The number of real estate sales this July was on par with last year, but the sales prices were lower this year, Ernemann noted.”From my perspective, the local real estate market seemed to be really gaining momentum through the end of June and the July 4th weekend,” Ernemann said in an email. “Unfortunately the confidence that had been building seemed to drop quickly as the national debt ceiling debate drug on, and now with the stock market gyrations.”The Aspen real estate market is complex and evolving right now, Ernemann said. Despite the poor performance in July, it remains on pace to top 2010 performance in numerous regards.Wells said the global economic news in July might have affected buyers temporarily, but that hasn’t lingered into August. There were a lot of showings, she said – they just didn’t advance to sales, for a variety of reasons.The sales volume was also down in July because a less expensive market segment got hot, Wells said. A lot of the recent activity was in the $3.5 million to $7 million range in July, she said. Earlier this year, there was a record number of sales for more than $10 million.Craig Morris, a partner in Morris & Fyrwald Sotheby’s International Realty, is writing July off as an anomaly, explained in large part by concerns over the economic state of affairs. “I think you’re looking at a blip,” he said.He said the number of closings he handled in July and their dollar volume was well below his monthly average. August activity already exceeds his average. He predicted that the overall dollar volume in the Aspen-area market for August will be double of that for the same month in 2010.For the year through July, sales volume remains about 16 percent higher than last year.scondon@aspentimes.com

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