A certain seven-time Tour de France winner may be the fastest man in the world on a bike, but he sure had bad timing in the Aspen real estate market. Lance Armstrong paid $9.17 million for his West End home in October 2008, shortly after the world went into an economic free fall. One year later, the spec house right next door — designed and built by the same team at the same time with the same high-end design and finishes — finally sold for $6 million, a discount of more than one-third from what the famous cyclist paid.

Without naming the famous buyer, local broker Tim Estin wrote about the tale of the two sales in a recent blog to illustrate what’s happening locally with Aspen real estate prices, and more specifically how the spec home market may be an indicator of the bottoming out of the market.No two properties are alike to the real estate industry, Estin, who is with Mason and Morse, said in a recent interview, but the two aforementioned homes are about as close as you’re going to get to comparable sales.“The only difference is it’s one year later,” he said.The house sold in October 2008 was $1,614 per square foot, while the neighboring home, already discounted when it was put on the market in June, had its asking price lowered until it eventually sold for $970 per square foot (40 percent less than its twin).

“This story illustrates the sober reality developer/builders must face, how to unload inventory in a falling market?” Estin wrote in his blog. “Consistently, developer/builders are setting new low price benchmarks that the rest of the Aspen real estate market — the second home and vacation home seller — is forced to follow. … Time is money factor… gotta move on, gotta unload.”
By Catherine Lutz, Nov. 16, 2009 Aspen Daily News

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