There were 22 free-market closings in Aspen, Snowmass and Woody Creek in January and February, according to broker Tim Estin (The Estin Report Feb 21-28, 10 Blog – editor) of Mason and Morse — compared to 18 last year, further supporting the notion that this year’s upvalley market is starting off a little better than last. (Land Title’s reports include employee housing closings and all of Pitkin County, including Basalt and Redstone, so its numbers are generally higher.)…“We’re typically in kind of a fallow period in January and February,” said Estin, explaining that many buyers may look casually around the holidays, but then come back in February and March to get serious about putting something under contract…."Other than December, we’re actually positive compared to 2008, which was a down year, so it’s the start of some stability, or at least it’s trying to.” said Randy Gold, principal at Aspen Appraisal Group

ASPEN SNOWMASS REAL ESTATE – Local brokers aren’t concerned that real estate sales volume in the first month of 2010 in Pitkin County are down by more than half compared to January 2009.With $55.3 million in real estate transactions, January 2010 was worse than any January since before 2003, according to reports from Land Title Guarantee Company. (Reports for 2002 and before were not available this week.). But last January’s $115.9 million in real estate sales in Pitkin County was significantly bolstered by 41 sales at the Residences at the Little Nell luxury fractional project, which totaled $64 million in dollar volume.Subtracting those, this January actually did better by about $3 million. And this January had a total of 39 non-fractional sales (out of 49 total), while last January saw 37 sales that were not fractional. Many real estate experts treat fractional sales separately because those projects tend to have large releases of inventory that will skew the numbers in any given month.

By Catherine Lutz, Mar. 4, 2010 ADN

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