An idyllic estate for sale east of Aspen on Independence Pass has seen its listing price drop from $25 million to $14.5 million.Motivated seller in distress? The first wave of price meltdowns that are sure to hit Aspen’s market? A complete fluke not indicative of anything? Could be any or all of the above.
By Curtis Wackerle, Dec 3, 2008, Aspen Daily News

The 11,500-square-foot home on 5 acres is owned by Alan Potamkin, who along with his brother Robert heads a billion-dollar chain of more than 50 car dealerships, including Manhattan’s largest dealership, a seven-story midtown structure selling Chevrolets, Cadillacs, Hummers, GMCs, Saabs and other makes of cars. Reports out Tuesday revealed that General Motors sales slipped 41 percent in November from November of 2007.

Potamkin is also involved in a divorce and the listing notes that the sale price is subject to approval by a divorce court judge.

“The owner wants it priced to sell immediately,” said listing broker Joshua Saslove, of Joshua & Co.

Potamkin purchased the home in 1997 for $3.75 million, according to public records. The most recent assessed value, calculated two years ago, put the property’s worth at $12.1 million.

The home has been on the market at least since 2007. It was originally built in 1981, and the previous owner spent years redesigning and remodeling the property.

“Maybe it was priced aggressively to begin with,” Saslove said, “as many are.”

There is other anecdotal evidence of slipping prices in the Aspen market, including a 5,300-square-foot home on Smuggler Mountain that went under contract in November for $5.8 million after being listed as high as $7.9 million. A one-bedroom Hunter Creek condo also sold this week for $625,000, when the free market part of that neighborhood for the last few years has been a million-dollar club.

But Aspen real estate broker Rob Ritchie said the fire sale is not on. In fact, the median home price in the Aspen area has actually spiked 15 percent this year — from $3.6 to $4.1 million — thanks to slower sales and a few extremely large transactions.

Ritchie said he has two clients right now who are looking to buy a discounted property in the $10 million to $30 million range, but nothing has yet come up to satisfy them.

“[The two would-be buyers] are absolutely dismayed the prices are not coming down,” Ritchie said. “They have been holding out since last summer waiting for prices to drop and they haven’t.

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