Worker housing sales up in ’04 |

Worker housing sales up in ’04

Janet Urquhart

Aspen’s worker housing saw a jump in sales activity this year, along with the second sale of a $1 million-plus home in the community’s “affordable housing” supply.The Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority sold 57 units this year for a total of $9.03 million, compared to 39 unit sales totaling $5.8 million in 2003.While 2004 is not yet over – the final sales lottery of the year will be held Monday – no more closings will take place before Dec. 31. The housing office tallies sales when they are finalized, which means the sale of 39 new one-bedroom condos at Annie Mitchell Homestead, also known as Parcel D, will be recorded in 2005. The winning buyers were chosen through a lottery this month, but closings will take place in January.Attracting the most bids of any worker residence sold this year was a three-bedroom, two-bath house at Five Trees near the Aspen schools campus. There were 72 bidders in the drawing for the $177,645 home.The rare appearance of a detached, single-family home in the housing office’s weekly listing always gets plenty of attention, said Cindy Christensen, housing operations manager.”It’s not a duplex or a townhome. It’s a house,” she said. “We don’t get them often. When people move into one of those, it takes a long time before they decide to leave. Usually, someone is leaving the valley when one comes up.”Another three-bedroom, two-bath home at Five Trees, priced at $172,931, also sold this year. There were 49 families in the lottery.One other single-family home listed with the housing office sold this year – a $1.05 million residence at North 40. The house is deed restricted for local workers, but no cap was placed on the initial sales price of North 40 homes, which were built by lot buyers. Homeowners could spend as much as they wanted on the construction of their abodes, setting the base price in the process. Subsequent sales are capped at 4 percent annual appreciation.The North 40 home sale was the second in the subdivision to hit the $1 million mark; another in that price range is now on the market. North 40 is located next to the Aspen Business Center.Among one-bedroom units, which usually attract the most attention, a $99,290 condo at Benedict Commons drew 67 bids. A $97,777 studio at the downtown complex drew 51 bids.The Annie Mitchell Homestead lottery drew 93 applicants for 14 units priced at $137,300 and 81 applicants for 25 condos priced at $89,200. Sixty-two individuals bid on units in both price categories. That means 112 people total – nearly three times the number of units available – were vying for a chance to buy a condo there.Boosting this year’s sales volume was the initial sale of units at the Bavarian Inn, which added 19 units to the worker housing inventory. The developers selected the buyers of three units; among the rest, a pair of two-bedroom, two-bath units priced at $159,900 attracted the most attention, with 39 applicants for each of them. Five three-bedroom, three-bath condos priced at $271,200 each attracted the same 34 bidders.The Bavarian is located off Seventh Street, near the upper end of Main Street.Inexplicably attracting little attention was a $123,774 two-bedroom, one-bath unit at the Aspen Business Center, which drew just two bids. It sold last January.Christensen was at a loss to explain the lack of interest. “There really isn’t any explanation. I just don’t know,” she said.Next year, Pitkin County’s long-anticipated Stillwater Ranch housing – 13 units near the Roaring Fork River east of town – is expected to attract a lot of attention. Some of the lots at the city’s embattled Burlingame Ranch project could come on the market next year, as well, Christensen said.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is