Pitkin County real estate market improving from ’09 | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County real estate market improving from ’09

ASPEN – The dollar volume of real estate sales in Pitkin County soared by 81 percent in June compared to 2009, according to a report released Friday.

The total dollar volume for the month was $115.39 million, said the report by Land Title Guarantee Co. There were 50 transactions during the month, up nearly 6.5 percent from June 2009.

For the first half of the year, dollar volume was $573.8 million, which was an increase of 22 percent from the same period last year, the report said. Transactions in the county were up 4 percent to a total of 344.

Aspen real estate agents have said they are cautiously optimistic that the market is recovering because of the first-half activity. However, many acknowledged there is a long way to go.

Craig Morris, a partner in Morris and Fyrwald, said many of the trends that developed during the recession remain in play: “lots of inventory, nervous buyers” and lots of transactions albeit at 2003, 2004 and 2005 price levels, depending on the location.

Many buyers remain nervous, he said, because of ongoing uncertainty about the economy. Successful sellers are generally those that are willing to accept less than what they initially sought, he said.

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Morris said there is far too much inventory on the real estate market right now to determine if a recovery is under way.

His business partner, Ernie Fyrwald, said one solid development over recent months is that many buyers are investing in homes because they enjoy the lifestyle of the upper Roaring Fork Valley. They aren’t as concerned about reaping hefty annual appreciation on their property, he said.

The number of people looking at property this summer is significantly higher than last summer, Fyrwald noted. Summer is the busiest season for showings and negotiations, translating into fall closings. If that is the case this year, dollar volume should easily eclipse last year’s total of $1.07 billion.

No one is expecting the market to bounce back any time soon to the 2006 level, with a record $2.64 billion in sales.

Land Title Guarantee Company’s monthly report said there was one transaction in June where a bank was the seller. That was for a $4 million home in Meadowood subdivision. There have been four bank sales so far this year, the report said. Those sales indicate the homeowners weren’t able to pay off their loans.

The median sale price of single family homes throughout the county was $4.1 million. That was up 30 percent from the median for all of 2009, the title company reported. The average sales price was $4.4 million, a decrease of 10 percent from last year.

The fractional ownership market bounced back strong in June but had a lackluster first-half of the year. The Residences at the Little Nell headed the activity in June with nine transactions for $13 million.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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