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Real estate moving sharply again in ski towns

Compiled by Allen Best

KETCHUM, Idaho — Real estate brokers in most resort towns of the West are reporting sharply increased sales volume this year. Many also report rapidly rising prices in certain market segments, particularly lower ends.

For example, prices of single-family homes in Hailey, a down-valley town from Sun Valley, averaged $272,000 last year, but this year are at $306,000. Brokers attribute part of the activity to retirement buyers.

In Colorado, sales volume in the Winter Park area through September was up 65 per cent as compared with last year. Prices were also on the rise, with the single-family homes averaging $367,000, compared to $303,000 last year.

As in the Sun Valley region, vacant land prices have escalated most rapidly at Winter Park. A new record for Grand County was set for a lot price, $875,000, for a lot near the base of the ski area.

"Especially to see second homes move, buyers must believe that the economy and the stock market are strong and steady," said Ray Steinbach, an agent in the Winter Park area. "If they don’t have that comfort, then they aren’t going to buy."

Similar news has been reported in Durango, Aspen, and Telluride. In Jackson Hole, the action is somewhat mixed, but definitely more vigorous at the lower price points.

Snowmaking allows A-Basin to get early weekend crowds

ARAPAHOE BASIN, Colo. — One of Colorado’s oldest ski resorts, Arapahoe Basin, became nearly the last resort to get snowmaking.

But the guns were finally put to full use this year, resulting in an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 skiers and snowboarders during the opening weekends, reports the Summit Independent Daily. Plus, ski company officials say that the earlier opening allows A-Basin to recruit seasonal employees, instead of waiting until after Keystone, Breckenridge, and other nearby resorts have already opened. With snowmaking, A-Basin very probably will gain the longest ski season in the Rockies.

As well, A-Basin has inked another five-year joint marketing and ticketing agreement with Vail Resorts. Under the deal, A-Basin gets a cut each time a Vail Resorts buddy pass is scanned at A-Basin.

Second $1 million‘affordable’ house

ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen will soon have its second $1 million "affordable house."

The town obviously takes a broad view of affordable housing. In this particular project the developer sold lots to qualified workers, who then built their own homes or had them built. There was no limit on how much they could spend on their homes. When one is sold, the owner can set a price based on cost plus 4 per cent annual appreciation, explains The Aspen Times. The high-end "affordable" project is designed with doctors, lawyers and such in mind.

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