May 3 – May 10, 2009 Market Activity: Closed (2) and Pending (4)

Closed (2): This link is valid until 6/09/09 (109284, 109650)

MLS # 109284 – 224 W. Hallam, West End single family home, 1/2 block west of Yellow Brick Schoolhouse. Ask Price: $4.95M; Sold Price: $4M (-19% off ask, $1,014 sq ft). Original Price: $5.3M (sold -25% off ask price). Built 2006, 4Bdrm/4Ba, 3843 sq ft. Great walking location halfway between Music Tent and downtown. Listed Jan 4, 2009, on market 120 days. This was a very good deal !
MLS # 109650 – 473 Medicine Bow Rd, Brush Creek Village, Aspen. Ask Price: $2.285M; Sold Price: $1.9M (-17% off ask price, $587 sq ft). Built 1975/2009 stunning contemporary remodel. 4Bdrm/4Ba, 3236 sq ft home located halfway between Aspen and Snowmass Village. Only 70 days on market.

Under Contract/Pending (4): This link is valid until 6/09/09 (108454, 108459, 105175, 108206)

MLS # 108454 – 200 Prospector Rd #14, Thunderbowl Townhome, Aspen Highlands. Ask Price: $4.595M ($808 sq ft). 4 Bdrm/4Ba, 5684 sq ft new townhome. Built 2005. 4+ years on the market. Originally listed at $6.575M.
MLS # 108459 – 105 Thunderbowl Rd #4, Thunderbowl Townhome, Aspen Highlands. Ask Price: $4.595M (843 sq ft). 4 Bdrm/4Ba, 5445 sq ft. 4+ yrs on the market. Originally listed at $7.35M.
MLS # 105175 – 1432 Sierra Vista Dr., off Cemetery Ln adjacent to 18 hole public golf course. Ask Price: $3.995M (Original Price: $5.395M, May 2008). new construction, mountain modern design, 5 Bdrm/5Ba, 4490 sq ft, over 2 yrs on the market.
MLS #108206 – 225 Hall Dr, Castle Creek lot. Ask Price: $4.2M. 190 days on market

Residences at the Little Nell (RLN) and Dancing Bear (DB) Fractional Solds and Resale Listings

This is a summary of The Residences at the Little Nell (RLN) and Dancing Bear (DB) fractional sales as of April 21, 2009 (This data was retrieved on May 8, 2009 in person at the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office. (Fyi, there is an interesting Time Magazine 4/30/09 article on the fractional market.).

Background
In December 2008, 95% of the new fractional project The Residences at the Little Nell was supposedly under contract with closings scheduled for late December 2008 and throughout January 2009. Similarly, by Dec, 2009, the Dancing Bear fractional project opposite Wagner Park in downtown Aspen was reputedly sold out of Phase I, and those closings were scheduled to begin late Jan.and Feb, 2009. As of April 21, only 32% of RLN units have closed and 40% of DB have closed.

The timing of these closings could not have been worse. Because of the construction delays experienced in the early part of RLN breaking ground in 2005, the closings had to be postponed a year later than originally planned from late 2007/early 2008 to late 2008/early 2009.

The consequences of that delay have been dreadful for the developers. Some of them are:
1) Numerous lawsuits have resulted as buyers claim developers were late in obtaining certificate of occupancy in late Nov. 2008 arguably providing them with an excuse not to close:
2) A fatal mistake seems to have been that the RLN developers never planned to provide buyers with owner financing. As credit markets have frozen up, buyers are now having difficulty obtaining financing to close and the developers have been unable to help them.
3) The general reluctance of buyers to close, to fork over $1M-3M in cash for a totally discretionary purchase, in such an adverse economic climate;
4) Valuations – during the heady boom times of 2005-2008, RLN offering prices doubled. But who’s to say these units are still worth those high prices in today’s crisis? Not to mention, how will appraisers value these units if financing is in fact involved?
For all these reasons and more, there has been a drastic reduction in the number of scheduled closings.

Actual RLN and DB Sales and Resales
(The Estin Report will update these sales figures at the beginning of each month).
The data has been difficult to obtain because the Pitkin County Assessor’s Office has had software transition issues and this info has not been available online. And the RLN sales team has kept the info close to their vest because, they say, of “outstanding legal issues surrounding the closings”.

Sales:

  • Residences at the Little Nell (see RLN Sales Chart): total (206) units available, (62) units, or 32%, have sold as of 4/21/09. Of these (45) are three bedroom units (average price: $1.38M; median price $1.3M) and (17) are four bedroom units (average price: $1.49M: median price: $1.35M). An owner I’ve recently been in touch with says RLN informed him last week (70) units have now closed.
  • Dancing Bear (see DB Sales Chart): total 72 units available (Phase I), (29) units or 40% have closed (average price $623K; median price $649K). All units are three bedroom.

Resales:

  • There are the (6) active RLN resales listings in the MLS. This link is valid until 6/7/2009. (108066, 110125,108783, 109922,107735)

  • There are (2) DB listings in the MLS. This link is valid until 6/8/2009. (105759, 100735)

The feedback from owners who have closed and stayed in their units in Feb. and Mar 2009 has been overwhelmingly positive. They say the “Base of Aspen Mtn/Gondola location is extraordinary, and the level of service and amenities are unmatched.” It’s important to emphasize that RLN and DB purchases have always been about lifestyle, not investment, something perhaps many prospective buyers chose to overlook in the last 3 years of wild paper appreciation for these units and have now selectively forgotten during this downturn. One thing is clear, however. If one wants to enjoy and own perhaps the ultimate Aspen experience, these two fractional projects are the way to do it.

There are additional resales available not listed in the MLS which for various reasons sellers are trying to sell under the radar. The most likely reason is that they don’t want to get into a ‘bidding war’ trying to sell their unit with each seller undercutting the other. They prefer to do it quietly, if possible. Please call me for information on these available unit(s) at prices too low to publish.

Use the search function on this site to find other references to Residences at the Little Nell and Dancing Bear. Also, there are numerous links in the Aspen Real Estate Archives to Aspen Times and Aspen Daily News articles on the Residences at the Little Nell. And see my RLN blog posts dated Jan 1, 2009 “Holiday Sentiment”, Jan 11- 18th, 2009, and Feb. 1-8, 2009.

Disclaimer: The statements made in The Estin Report represent the opinions of the author and should not be relied upon to make real estate decisions. Information concerning particular real estate opportunities can be requested from Tim Estin at 970.920.7387 or at [email protected] A potential buyer is advised to make an independent investigation of the market and of each property before deciding to purchase. To the extent the statements made herein report facts or conclusions taken from other sources, the information is believed by the author to be reliable. However, the author makes no guarantee concerning the accuracy of the facts and conclusions reported herein. For reproduction use of any parts of The Estin Report, the author requests direct attribution as follows, “The Estin Report By Tim Estin at www.EstinAspen.com” or please contact him directly. All rights are reserved and the articles and blog posts are copyrighted.