Ailing economy drives down Aspen home sales

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ASPEN, Colo. (AP) An ailing economy and the Sept. 11 attacks have pushed home sales in this ritzy resort town down 11 percent, while sales in nearby Roaring Fork Valley towns increased slightly.
Through late September there were 850 sales, down from 953 during the same period last year, according to the Aspen Board of Realtors. Homes sold were worth $629.18 million, a 37 percent drop from last year's $998.33 million.
The data does not break out sales of fractional-ownership properties such as the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Timbers and Snowmass clubs. Those sales often come in 1/12 ownership fractions.
Sales in nearby Snowmass Village sagged from 49 to 29 this year. The dollar volume of those sales fell from $150.5 million to $66.2 million this year.
Single-family home sales in Aspen dropped from 70 to 49 this year with the dollar volume slipping from $270 million to $155.55 million.
Single-family home sales by the same real estate agents in Basalt to Glenwood Springs and other cities increased from 215 last year to 218 this year. The dollar volume went from $105.81 million to $105.66 million this year.
Agents hoped sales would increase in August and September, historically the two busiest months. But the attacks in New York and Washington erased any hopes of a rebound.
''We got our third quarter cut off a couple of weeks early,'' said real estate agent Phil Miller of Mason and Morse.
Home sales in each of the past two years have topped $1 billion, a fete that appears unlikely this year. October through January are historically slow months, Miller said.
''You're not always going to have years like the last two,'' he said.
Sales are expected to increase in February.

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