Pitkin County real estate market surges

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The dollar volume of real estate sales in Pitkin County soared in September compared with the prior year, thanks in large part to the $90 million exchange of Base Village in Snowmass Village.

The sales volume of $232.41 million was a 69 percent increase from $137.72 million in September 2011, according to a report released by Land Title Guarantee Co. That was the best performance in September since the pre-recession mark set in 2008.

Related Cos. purchased the stalled Base Village project from a consortium of four European lenders in September. The $90 million deal transferred the title of assets such as the Viceroy Snowmass hotel, retail units, unsold Capitol Peak and Hayden Lodge residences, the arrival center, parking garage and various land parcels. Related once owned the project but lost it when it defaulted on a loan during the recession.

The strong September marked the third month in a row with surging sales in Pitkin County, Land Title Guarantee’s report showed. July and August also were strong compared with the prior year. The first half of 2012 was a roller-coaster ride for the real estate industry. Dollar volume of sales was up in January, down in February, back up in March and then down in April, May and June.

Land Title Guarantee tracks sales of all residential property, from trailer homes to mansions, using deeds filed with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The data give a broader perspective than the Aspen-Glenwood Springs Multiple Listing Service.

Through the third quarter of 2012, total dollar volume was up 3.5 percent over the same period in 2011, the report showed. Total sales for the year topped $1 billion during September. In contrast, sales barely topped the $1 billion mark in all of recession-ravaged 2009.

The year-to-date dollar volume through third quarter 2012 was $1.01 billion this year compared with $977.07 million last year.

While dollar volume climbed, the number of transactions sagged by 12 percent in September to a total of 76. There were 517 year-to-date transaction through September, a decrease of 11.5 percent through the third quarter of last year.

With a decent fourth quarter, annual dollar volume should be the best this year since 2008 though nowhere near pre-recession levels.


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