Aspen Real Estate Market Reports 2006

strong>Aspen Real Estate Continues 13 Year High — Autumn 2006

According to the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) president Thomas Stevens the number of houses on the national market is at a 13 year high. This coupled with an unexpected decline in mortgage interest rates that are hovering at 6.3% for a 30 year fixed rate has created unique opportunities for prospective buyers. While this oversupply is the national trend, here in the Roaring Fork Valley we continue to see an inventory shortage.

Average home prices remain strong in both Pitkin and Garfield Counties, once again going against national trends. Pitkin County continues to see a high average sales price of $1.4 million for September and $1.3 million year-to-date. Garfield County, while not as high as Pitkin, reports an average for the month of September in the low $300’s and Year-to-date average of $339,000, both counties above the national median.

Nationally the average home price fell for the fifth consecutive month to $225,000, according to the National Association of Realtors. This decline in home prices comes as the sales pace begins to pick up for the second month in a row after a three month decline, this probably due to the lower interest rates and perceived value of lower priced homes.

So whether buyers take advantage of these unique set of circumstance and if nationally the market will in fact correct is yet to be seen. In the meantime real estate in the Roaring Fork valley continues down its own path.

Pitkin County

Dollar volume decrease of 26% from $313 million in 2005 to $231 million in 2006 is the first decline we have seen in the last four months. The number of transactions in Pitkin County declined as well for the month of September. Transactions of 163 in 2006 compared to 188 in 2005 represent a 13% decrease. Interval transactions of 45 represent a 10% increase over last Septembers 41 transactions, and dollar volume for intervals was down 23% from $25.6 million in 2005 to $19.7 million in 2006.

Garfield County

Garfield County also saw a slight decrease in the month of September. Dollar volume was down 7% from $98 million in 2005 to $91 million in 2006. Transactions were up by 9% (26 transactions) to 292 compared to 266 in 2005. Year to date dollar volume when compared to 2003 shows a staggering 117% increase. In three years total dollar volume has gone from $333 million in 2003 to $725 million in 2006.

Reports courtesy Land Title

Aspen Real Estate Market Commentary — June 2006

With six months in the books both Pitkin and Garfield counties are looking great! Although the lack of inventory challenges continue, and will continue to be a challenge especially in the upper valley, sales are happening and at a faster pace than last year. This can be attributed to many things, two of which are, the increase in the availability of timeshare properties, and a strong desire to live/vacation in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Not only do people want to live/vacation in the Roaring Fork Valley, but buyers from around the world continue to view the valley as a great place to invest. Additionally, as the national economy remains strong and interest rates rise, the purchasing power of the middle-income buyers may be reduced, however, the market for the affluent buyer will remain strong.

Pitkin County’s bump in the road was just that, a bump! June Dollar Volume increased an incredible 65% over the same period last year, this did include one transaction of $48.5 million but even with that taken out dollar volume would still be up 43% over June last year. Transactions in June of 173 were 10% higher than last June’s 157 transactions.

For the first half of the year Pitkin County dollar volume of $1.25 billion is 17% higher than the same period in 2005 and is more than the entire year of 2003. Transactions of 995 represents more than a 14% increase over the first six months of last year.

Garfield County real estate is still strong! Although Dollar Volume of $89.1 Million represented a slight decrease of less than 1% over the same period in 2005. Transactions of 267 represent a slight increase of 5.53% over June of 2005.

Like Pitkin County, Garfield County has had an incredible first half of the year. Dollar volume of $433 million represents a 21% increase for the first half of last year. Furthermore, dollar volume for the first six months of 2006 is only $5.7 million less than the entire year of 2003. Transactions for the first six months of 1,245 represent an increase of almost 7% over the same period from last year.

A Bump in the Road For Pitkin, Garfield Keeps Rolling — May 2006

Pitkin County may have hit a bump in the road during the month of May. However, tangible investments like second homes are one of the factors that will continue driving the market in the Roaring Fork Valley. Unlike Enron stock, home ownership or second home investments won’t be valued at zero overnight. 

May’s hiccup most likely was caused by the opposite problem the rest of the Country is having…inventory. While realtors I speak with locally say finding properties to sell in Pitkin County is their biggest challenge, other parts of the country are seeing dramatic increases in inventory compared to just a year ago. For instance New York City (Manhattan County) the number of properties on the market is up 67% for May 2006 over May 2005 and condominium inventory is up 87% according to Jonathan J. Miller, president of the Miller Samuel appraisal firm. On the other hand, Mr. Miller said he was struck by the number of transactions so far this year above $5 million, a bright spot for the upper end market. 

Another difficult area is South Florida’s Broward County where real estate sales continued to fall by double digits in May, and for-sale inventory jumped from a year ago, according to the Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Specifically, there were 8,838 homes available for sale in May compared to 2,412 in May of 2005, an increase of almost 300%.

A bright spot is that second home buying and larger homes have been increasing for the last quarter century according to a Census Bureau Report. The report says over the past 25 years, the number of second homes has increased 95% and the size of the typical newly constructed single-family home has increased 40%. This on top of the low inventory and geographical challenges of the Roaring Fork Valley should keep real estate healthy for the foreseeable future.

Pitkin County

Dollar Volume reversed its double digit increases and transactions were down for the second month in a row. Dollar Volume in May of 205 million was down 16% from the 243 million recorded in May of 2005. Transactions were also down, 176 transactions this May compared to 187 transactions in May of 2005, which represents almost a 6% decline. Interval transactions were also down, May interval dollar volume of 14 million was down from May 2005 dollar volume of 17 Million, representing an 18% decrease from last year.

Garfield County

Garfield County kept rolling in May! Dollar Volume of $96.4 Million represented an increase of almost 39% over the same period in 2005. Transactions of 261 represent more than a 20% increase in transactions over May of 2005. Silt had a transaction of almost five million, while Glenwood Springs 77 transactions represent almost 30% of all transactions in Garfield County.