Thursday, July 23, 2009

Home Sales in Aspen Decline 34 %; $43-million Mansion Still Available

You can still buy this $43-million vacation estate here in Aspen, but why hurry? According to an analysis by Land Title Guarantee Company as reported in today's Aspen Times, the dollar volume of real estate sales through June was down 34 % from the same 2008 period, to a mere $471.57 million.

Sound like a lot of dough? Not by Aspen's lofty standards. Since 2003, the Pitkin County (Colorado) market has topped a billion dollars every year. If the second half of 2009 parallels the first, the yearly total won't reach that mark.

Wnat's selling? According to the analysis published in the Aspen Times, the answer is fractionals. They've accounted for $139 million so far this year, a jump of 396 % over last year.

The $43-million property? There were two! The first, a 21,400 square foot 11-bedroom "mountain palace," in the phrase used by the Aspen Daily News, was sold in early July. It's got 15 bathrooms and is located in the Pitkin Green area of town. The broker said the views are spectacular. Could they be anything less for that price? It was said to be the most expensive house sold in the U.S. this year.

But since you missed it, how about another $43 million house, the one pictured above, in West Buttermilk? On the other side of Aspen It's only 16,000 square feet and 7 bedrooms, but it is "Tuscan style" and "18th-century inspired" It includes a theater, exercise room and wine seller and comes furnished.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Vail's Four Seasons said to be on track for winter opening

One of the biggest new projects still under construction in Vail, Colorado is on the fast track to a "winter" finish line. The building includes a 121-room hotel, 19 fractional residences and 16 whole-ownership condominiums.

A few days ago, I toured the site, which is located not far from the main Vail roundabout, and can be seen clearly from Interstate I-70. Jeff Meier, the director of sales for Playground Destination Properties Inc., the official sales agent, showed me the 10-story property. Although it is huge (500,000 square feet), some of the massiveness is concealed by having four of its floors below the level of the inner Vail Village road. When completed it will have a spa and pool at that lower level.

The building has been framed and the pool area as well as the lobby and spa were being worked on when I visited. The 1/12th fractional ownership interests come with 21 days of primary time. Four Seasons is offering 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units priced from $405,900 to $715,000.

Will Four Seasons be ready for the 2009-2010 season? Playground (which is a part of Intrawest, an ironic choice at Vail considering that the ski resort arm of Intrawest is a big competitor of Vail) would not be pinned down on a specific month, saying only that it expected to welcome its first guests "this winter."

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Home Price Slide Eased in April

The latest from a trailing indicator -- Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index -- is that the decline in home prices slowed in April in 20 major cities. The index numbers released today show that 13 metropolitan areas had price gains in April, led by Dallas, Denver and Cleveland, where prices rose 1% or more from the previous month. In some second home areas, prices continued to drop. Las Vegas prices fell 3.5% compared with March, while Phoenix prices fell another 2.2%


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