Worker housing sales in a slump |

Worker housing sales in a slump

Aspens worker housing market saw both a drop-off in sales in 2003 and a record-setting price for affordable housing.With no new units coming on the market this year, local workers hoping to buy into deed-restricted housing had relatively little on which to bid. Only existing condos and townhomes put up for sale by their owners were available.An Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority tally of sales indicates 39 unit sales were finalized in 2003 for a total of $5.8 million worth of transactions.Last year, the authority sold 63 deed-restricted units to qualified local workers for a total price of $10.6 million. Thats down from a whopping 155 sales for $25.4 million in 2001. In 2000, the housing office recorded 74 sales worth $11 million.Not included in the 2003 wrap-up of sales activity was the sale of a deed-restricted home at North 40 for a record $1,080,238. Homeowners in the subdivision can sell their property directly to another qualified buyer, so the home was not sold through a housing office lottery.Another North 40 home, which is listed with the housing office, remains for sale for $1,054,978. It has been on the market since last May.No other sale eclipsed the $250,000 mark. Studios and one-bedroom units continued to see the highest demand throughout the year. A one-bedroom condo at Benedict Commons in downtown Aspen attracted 68 bids the most of any lottery in 2003. It sold for $127,670.A one-bedroom Lacet Court unit, priced at $132,689, attracted 63 bids.A number of two- and three-bedroom units saw fewer than 10 bidders. On the other hand, a two-bedroom, two-bath unit at Centennial, priced at $154,665, attracted 32 bids. The Centennial complex allows dogs, which makes it attractive to many buyers.Deed-restricted units, open only to qualified local workers, are sold through a lottery system conducted by the Housing Authority. The homes are typically sold at prices well below Aspens stratospheric free-market prices and their appreciation is capped.At North 40, lot buyers were allowed to spend as much as they wished in constructing their homes. Sales prices there reflect the cost of the lot, the home and 4 percent annual appreciation.In 2004, two new projects will open their doors the Bavarian and the citys Parcel D project, now under construction next to the Aspen Business Center, across Highway 82 from the airport.The Bavarian, a former lodge that has been extensively renovated as housing, in combination with the construction of some new units, should be ready for its first open house next week, according to the housing office.The 19-unit complex was privately built by Four Peaks Developments in conjunction with its Hyatt Grand Aspen project. Construction of the timeshare hotel recently got under way.Four Peaks has first dibs on 13 bedrooms at the Bavarian, though the units must go to employees who qualify under Housing Authority guidelines; the rest of the units will be sold through public lotteries.Parcel D, comprised of 39 one-bedroom units, is the first city-initiated project to be constructed since the Seventh & Main complex was completed in 2001. The Parcel D units arent expected to be ready until fall 2004.I really think, whats going to be interesting, when we start advertising Parcel D, is what the interest is out there, said Cindy Christensen, housing operations manager. I think there will be a lot of interest in the Bavarian its in town.New units, especially one-bedroom condos, have attracted more than 100 bidders apiece in the past. In all, there are about 1,250 sale units in the authoritys inventory, located in Aspen and Pitkin County, along with 944 rental units.[Janet Urquharts e-mail address is]

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