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Market Highlights from Last Week:

There is no question sales activity has picked up in September as is typical this time of year. The foliage is peaking this week and next, and October is historically the strongest month of the year for closings. We appear on track this year.

In terms of sales categories, there has been a recent trickle of activity in Aspen core condos and vacant lot or land sales. Overall, vacant land probably represents the single best opportunity for buyers right now.

There was a remarkable, albeit unique and isolated, bank sale last week of a 2008 built half duplex spec home on Snowbunny Ln that sold at $3.2MM/$685 sq ft, originally priced 2 1/3 yrs ago at $6.95MM (more details below). On a price per sq ft basis for brand new construction, this may be close to or a record in past two years. Again, sales such as this are rare.

These kinds of sales get a lot of attention and buyers think they are representative of the market. In fact, they are not. These sales typically represent seriously flawed properties – there’s a reason why they’ve been on the market so long and buyers have stayed away. In my opinion, most Aspen buyers simply would not be interested in these properties.

My justification is this: “Why go scavenging when one can most likely find a home one loves and then try to negotiate to a level one is comfortable with….there is just so much inventory to choose from and there are some excellent opportunities to own in Aspen now.”

Last Week’s Aspen and Snowmass Sales and Under Contract Activity: Last week’s real estate sales activity appears below for the upper Roaring Fork Valley for all property types over $250,000 excluding fractionals in Aspen, Snowmass Village, Woody Creek and Old Snowmass (although Residences at Little Nell and Dancing Bear are included due to their higher fractional price points). Because the MLS link(s) to photos and property details expire after 30 days, photos and descriptions of the closed properties are posted to preserve an archive of sold market activity.

Sales in Brief:

o Aspen sales: (2) vacant (one teardown, one river front) lots; (2) Aspen core condos; (3) Aspen single family homes

o Snowmass sales: (1) Snowmass studio condo; (1) Snowmass single family home

For a Spreadsheet Summary of the past week’s sales and under contract activity, see The Estin Report: Aspen Snowmass Weekly Sales Statistics, Sept. 19 – 26, 2010

Closed (9): MLS 3#’s 106891, 117089, 114285, 111300, 117774, 116985, 117662, 114351, 109778 This link is valid until 10/25/2010. For a map/photos/details pdf view of these closures, click here.

MLS# 117662 – Crestwood Condominiums #B-2104, 400 Wood Rd, Snowmass Village, CO: Sold Price: $290,000/$431 sq ft; Ask and Original Price: $325,000/$483 sq ft (55 days on the market). This is a 672 sq ft, 1 bdrm/1 bath 1970 built Snowmass Crestwood Condo. The listing broker remarks, “Pleasant one bedroom in the Beech Building. Easy access to ski slope and the new Base Village. Excellent management. Exterior of building totally remodeled in 2006. The best price value in the Crestwood. “. 2009 Taxes: $1,444 Yr; HOA Dues: $10, 739 Yr. (Photos and description courtesy of Chafin Light Real Estate Snowmass Village)

MLS #114285 – Single family home, 964 Faraway Road, Ridge Run, Snowmass Village, CO:
Sold Price: $2,700,000/$608 sq ft; Ask Price: $2,995,000/$674 sq ft. (Original Price: $3,595,000 and 259 days on the market). This is a 1980 built/2007 remodeled 5 bdrm/5.5 bath,. 4,444 sq ft home on .77 acres. Broker writes, “Clean contemporary feel of this house which was totally renovated in 2007. Spacious feel, tremendous views – a kitchen right out of a designer magazine!”. 2008 Taxes: $8,989 Yr; HOA Dues: $90.Yr (Photos and description courtesy of Joshua & Co Snowmass Village)

MLS#106891 – Half duplex, 1242 Snowbunny Lane Unit B Aspen, CO:
Sold Price: $3,200,000/$685 sq ft; Ask Price: $3,950,000/$845 sq ft (Original Price: $6,950,000. and 777 days on the market).The seller was Fidelity Bank. The property went under contract 8/30/10. This is a 2008 built 5 bdrm/5 bath/2 half bath, 4,672 sq ft home in one of Aspen’s prime residential area near town shuttle bus, bike paths and public golf course. Broker description, “This new rustic mountain half duplex offers big views towards Independence Pass and Red Mountain over undeveloped land, as well as a seasonal stream. This 5-bedroom, 7-bath unit is designed to live as a single family home. All of the luxuries you would expect from a new Aspen home are present including air conditioning,radiant heat, study, wine cellar, media room and a large family recreational room”. 2009 Taxes: $13,448; HOA Dues: None. City of Aspen RETT transfer tax of approx. 1.5% applies to buyer. (Photos and description courtesy of Aspen Associates Realty Group)

MLS #117089 – Aspen ski in/out condo, Caribou Condominiums #6, 701 S Monarch Street Unit 6 Aspen, CO:
Sold Price: $2,480,000/$1,285 sq ft; Ask and Original Price: $2,995,000/$1,552 sq ft. (80 days on the market). This is a rare ski in/out (to Lift 1A) 3 bdrm/3.5 bath, 1,930 sq ft top floor corner condo with tall ceilings – good volume – in a small well maintained 6 unit complex. Broker comments are, “On Aspen Mountain, this luxury townhouse is both private and exclusive – no short term rentals. 1,930 Sq. Ft. per bank appraisal of open plan, top floor living. Very peaceful yet central to the core of Aspen, it is close to all town activities while providing direct mountain access. Surrounded by views of the Continental Divide, Ajax and Shadow Mountain, the light, sun-filled living areas are complemented by three bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Additionally, there is a guest cloakroom along with a useful utility room and storage spaces. Shares a swimming pool and hot tub with just five other owners. HOA
Assessment – Exterior Remodel. 19 quarterly payments of approx.$12,023. Terms offered: Cash; New Loan; or Sale & Leaseback; or Trade.”. 2009 Taxes: $8,349; HOA Dues: $3,250 Qtr. City of Aspen RETT transfer tax approx.1.5% to buyer applies.(Photos and comments courtesy of Robert MacGregor)

MLS #114351 – Aspen core condo at Aspen Townhouse Center #6, 124 E Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO:
Sold Price: $950,000/$958 sq ft; Ask Price: $1,199,000/$1,209 sq ft. (Original Price: $1,250,000 and 247 days on the market). This is 3 bdrm/2 bath, 992 sq ft 1968 built/2007 remodeled condominium located 2.5 blocks downhill on skiing at Lift1A on E. Durant. The broker comments are, “Walk everywhere from this rarely available three bedroom condo in Aspen Townhouse Center. Comes with two assigned parking spaces and additional owner’s storage. Enjoy the incredible views of Aspen Mountain from this unit’s South facing deck. Complex was renovated in 2009 and pets are allowed.”. 2010 Taxes: $2,412 Yr; HOA Dues: $620 Qtr. City of Aspen RETT transfer tax of approx. 1.5% applies to buyer. (Photos and description courtesy of Alta Properties)

MLS #116985 – Single family home, 204 N Monarch Street Aspen, CO (one (one block behind the Hotel Jerome):
Sold Price: $4,850,000/$1,292 sq ft; Ask and Original Price: $5,395,000/$1,437 sq ft (135 days on the market). This is a brand new 2010 contemporary home just one block behind the Hotel Jerome. It is 4 bdrms/4.5 baths, 3,753 sq ft on a small 3,000-6,000 sq ft lot. with a 2-car garage. The broker comments are, “Walk into Aspen’s future surrounded by Aspen’s past in this brand new, state of the art West End home only steps from Aspen’s downtown. Awash in ambient light provided by the many windows and skylights and enhanced by clay finish walls, vaulted ceilings, and neutral and airy decor, this home features endless sophisticated and design savvy accents throughout. Striking carbonized oak floors made from FSC certified wood hint at the many green touches to come, including solar floor heating systems, an energy efficient spa looking east toward Independence Pass and south toward Aspen Mountain, and includes an electric car in the garage powered by a photovoltaic system. This home is as artful as it is intelligent. The most environmentally advanced house in Aspen.” 2009 Taxes: $26,364 Yr; HOA Dues: none. City of Aspen RETT approximate 1.5% purchase tax applies to buyer. (Photos and description courtesy of CB The Aspen Brokers, LTD)

MLS #117774 – Duplex lot with older home, 1595 Silver King Dr, Aspen, CO: Sold Price: $2,000,000/ $463 sq ft; Ask and original Price: $2,750,000/$637 sq ft. (38 days on the market and property went under contract 9/13/2010 – very fast closing.) Arguably a tear down, this is a 1969 built 5 bdrm/3 bath, 3,742 sq ft home on a large 15,400 sq ft duplex lot. The listing broker writes, ” ‘It’s not about the house.’ With dramatic view of Aspen Highlands, Pyramid Peak, Buttermilk Mountain, and the golf course, this property is about what could be. Set on a 15,400 square foot lot, this parcel is an easy build-out for those clients sophisticated enough to take the endeavor. Where else can you find a duplex lot on an easy to build parcel, in a neighborhood of this caliber? Use the existing home to help it carry itself while awaiting permits, or jump in and do a remodel. House was built by its owner 40 years ago. It’s absolutely pristine, original, and immaculate. Easy to show. There is an attached 1 bedroom ADU. Views, views, views”. 2009 Taxes: $7,722 Yr; HOA Dues: none..
City of Aspen RETT transfer tax of approx. 1.5% applies to buyer. (Photos and description courtesy of Morris & Fyrwald, Sotheby’s Intl Realty)

MLS # 109778 – Single family vacant river lot at 301 Pyramid Drive Aspen, CO.
Sold Price: $2,600,000; Ask Price: $4,250,000 and 572 days on the market. Listing broker comments are, “This is a truly remarkable opportunity to have the best of both worlds. Presenting 1.42-acres of riverfront property in a secluded wilderness setting just minutes to the heart of Aspen. This gated estate-quality parcel one of Aspen’s Finest building sites with sunny southern exposure, flat building site ideal for home construction, a giant pond and private access to dramatic Maroon Creek river frontage.” (Photos and description courtesy of Chaffin Light Real Estate Aspen)

MLS # 111300 – Single family home, 220 W Cooper Avenue Aspen, CO:
Sold Price: $10,450,000/$1,445 sq ft – broker says “Sold price reflects the sale of the house for $9,435,000 and the furnishings/personal property for $1,015,000.”; Ask Price: $14,900,000/$2,060 sq ft. (Original price: $15,900,000 and 477 days on the market). This is a new 2008 built, 6 bdrm/6 bath/3 half bath, 7,233 sq ft home with 2-car garage just off Aspen Core within walking distance to Lift 1A for skiing. The list broker remarks are, “Location Location Location. Just a few blocks from Aspen’s core with protected views of Aspen Mountain and end of the road privacy, this luxury home has six-bedrooms en suite, office, gym, elevator, media room and wine room. Expansive decks and large yard on an oversized single-family lot in downtown Aspen. Sold price reflects the sale of the house for $9,435,000/$1,304 sq ft and the furnishings/personal property for $1,015,000.” 2009 Taxes: $21,963 Yr; HOA Dues: none. City of Aspen RETT 1.5% transfer tax applies to buyer. (Photos and description courtesy of Morris & Fyrwald, Sotheby’s Intl Realty

Under Contract/Pending (10): MLS #’s 114337, 105745, 115673, 110112, 112273, 107928, 112433, 115109, 111090, 109778 This link is valid until 10/25/2010. Photos and description of Under contract listings are not posted unless special circumstances dictate.

Tim Estin is an active Aspen Snowmass real estate broker and he welcomes your comments, inquiries and business. Email him or call 970.920.7387. Subscribe to The Estin Report and blog on twitter @EstinAspen or click “Join the conversation” below:

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Disclaimer: The statements made in The Estin Report and on Tim Estin’s blog represent the opinions of the author and should not be relied upon exclusively to make real estate decisions. A potential buyer and/or seller is advised to make an independent investigation of the market and of each property before deciding to purchase or to sell. 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. Information concerning particular real estate opportunities can be requested from Tim Estin at 970.920.7387 or by email.. The Estin Report is copyrighted 2010 and all rights reserved.. Use is permitted subject to the following attribution: “The Estin Report: State of the Aspen Market, By Tim Estin, mba, gri,”