America’s Favorite Towns
No. 1 Aspen, CO
Beauty abounds in this tony ski town, from the 14,000-foot heights of the surrounding peaks to its residents, who won the No. 2 spot in the survey’s attractive people category—second only to the southern belles of Oxford, MS. (And looks aren’t everything: Aspenites also scored No. 3 for intelligence.) Victorian-era brick façades housing chic boutiques like Fendi and Prada lend an Old West–meets–Fifth Avenue appeal to the former mining town’s walkable streets, which encompass the No. 3–ranked Main Street and No. 1 town square.
For more towns go to http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-favorite-towns-2013/1
Hip, Urban, Middle-Aged
Baby boomers are moving into trendy urban neighborhoods, but young residents aren’t always thrilled.
Jennifer Williams says she often feels like the oldest person on her block. When the 52-year-old corporate communications executive sets off for work in a suit, carrying a briefcase, with her hair in a bun, she is usually surrounded by young people with tattoos and rainbow crocheted skull caps. “It’s like mom is coming in for a visit,” she says.
Dorothy Hong for The Wall Street JournalNerou Cheng, 63, spent $1.03 million on an apartment in the Edge, a condo building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where many of the building’s younger residents like to sunbathe outside.
That doesn’t bother Ms. Williams. In fact, such diversity is exactly what she was looking for when she bought a condo in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn two years ago, after living in what she calls the “dead zone” of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “I find it endlessly fascinating and interesting. I wanted to be somewhere with energy and life.”
Hip urban neighborhoods are aging, as a growing chunk of adults in their 50s and 60s and older give up their longtime homes and head for trendy condos. The invasion of older, moneyed buyers has “created a gold rush” in some of these areas, says Dean Jones of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty in Seattle. Mr. Jones’s firm sold 34 condominium penthouses and luxury town homes for more than $1 million in downtown Seattle neighborhoods between March and October of 2012—a large percentage to baby boomers. It was a 40% increase over the same period a year earlier.
The migration of baby boomers to cities, which started in the 1990s but slowed during the recession, is now regaining steam. According to online real-estate brokerage Redfin, more than a million baby boomers moved to within 5 miles of the downtown of the 50 largest cities between 2000 and 2010, while the same number of baby boomers moved away from neighborhoods located 40 to 80 miles outside those 50 cities’ downtown areas.
Moreover, according to the American Housing Survey, 9.6% of households 55 and older in central cities lived in condos in 2011, the past year for which figures are available, up from 7.3% in 2005. That is despite the negligible growth in the supply of condos and coops over that same period. “Baby boomers are tired of mowing the lawn. They’re looking for a more diverse environment,” says Chris Leinberger, chairman of the Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis at George Washington University School of Business.
In some cases, they’re also looking for more youthful surroundings. “I am getting older kicking and screaming,” says Terri Nussbaum. The executive assistant to a real estate developer who will only say she is in her mid-50s recently sold a 3,500-square foot-house 50 miles outside Denver, where she’s lived for 11 years, and paid $30,000 more for an 880-square-foot one-bedroom loft in LoDo (which stands for Lower Downtown)—an old neighborhood that has recently gentrified, with hip restaurants and higher prices. In doing so, Ms. Nussbaum replaced almost all her old furniture with more modern pieces. “You are as young as you feel.”
Fueling the shift is a change in the way cities themselves are perceived. In a 2011 National Association of Realtors poll, 19% of Americans said they wanted to live in a city, up from 13% in 2004. Many cities have become safer and cleaner, and as baby boomers retire later, they want to be downtown where they can often walk to work. Their kids gone, they don’t need to worry about the quality of schools, and they don’t want large houses, says. John McIlwain, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington.
Ann Morgan, 56, just sold her 2,600-square-foot home on half an acre in Evergreen, Colo., where she’d lived for 15 years, for $475,000, according to public records. She is closing on a 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom townhouse in downtown Denver’s artsy LoHi (that stands for Lower Highlands) neighborhood for $600,000. She says she wants to stop driving so much—her new place is a bus ride to her job as the regional national director of the National Wildlife Federation—and she misses the downtown lifestyle she experienced when she was younger. “I remember being able to be spontaneous and being in a vibrant environment,” she says.
Developers are taking note. Ten years ago, Toll Brothers, TOL +0.06% one of the nation’s largest home builders known for its sprawling, suburban communities, created its city living division, which chooses neighborhoods for projects by looking at where “young people with money” are going, says CEO Doug Yearley. The company didn’t expect to be selling such a large percentage of those projects to baby boomers.
Boomers represent about 75% of the buyers so far for the company’s newest condominium, 160 East 22nd, currently under construction in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park; about 35% of the buyers in a Williamsburg project, called Northside Piers; 50% of its latest Philadelphia project, 2400 South, near Rittenhouse Square; 33% of its Naval Square location in Philadelphia and 25% of the newest condominium building in Hoboken, called 1100 Maxwell Place.
Now, “we get it,” Mr. Yearley says. Toll Brothers City Living is positioning its buildings to Boomers by increasing the amenities: bigger, more luxurious fitness centers, higher end finishes, clubhouse-type common rooms and wine storage rooms.
What Toll Brothers won’t do is install features often found in homes for the aged, like wide doorways or grab rails in showers. “We don’t want to remind any buyers that one day they might need a grab bar,” Mr. Yearley says. “We don’t want them to be thinking about the next stage in life.” He adds that Boomers in these buildings are living among many young families, who are attracted to the three and four bedroom units. The company is now building a similar project called Hampden Row, in Bethesda, Md., and is looking at more in San Francisco, Seattle, Miami and Boston.
In some cases, as the older, more affluent baby boomers—typically defined as born between 1946 and 1964—move to these neighborhoods, younger residents are starting to move out to avoid rising prices and the growing number of older folks. Mr. Jones in Seattle says it used to take about 10 years for the hipsters to get priced out of a neighborhood they pioneered—now they are moving out after five.
“The pace of change is unbelievable,” says Warner Lewis, a real-estate agent at Halstead Property in New York who does a lot of business in Williamsburg. Long a neighborhood of industrial warehouses and small homes, Williamsburg became a haven in the 1990s for young artists and musicians seeking affordable studio space. A rezoning in 2005 sparked a building boom, and an influx of wealthier buyers began. Now celebrities are frequently spotted, and expensive boutiques and an upscale hotel are mixed in with the rundown thrift shops.
Jeremy Penn, a 34-year-old artist in Williamsburg, says he has heard of plenty of younger residents who are moving south, moaning about what is jokingly called the “Broken Hip-sters,” who are driving up prices. While he says it is true that a lot of artists can’t afford to have studios there anymore, he notes that complaining “is a major characteristic of being a hipster.”
For his part, Mr. Penn considers himself part of a new generation of hipster. He is married with a baby, and has started hanging out with some of the Boomers who have moved to the neighborhood. “If you’d have told me I’d become close friends with people almost my parents’ age I’d have said you were crazy,” he says.
The move downtown almost always means paying more. Nationwide, there is a 40%-to-200% price-per-square-foot premium on property in central city neighborhoods studied by George Washington University’s Mr. Leinberger, compared with the same square footage in a drivable suburb in the same town or school district. That is a reversal from 20 years ago, when the most expensive real estate was often in the suburbs. The median price nationwide for a condo has risen 11% over the past year, with supply hitting 6.3 months in 2012 from 11.9 months in 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors. Toll Brothers says land prices in urban neighborhoods have increased 30% to 50% in the eight years it has been building downtown condos and its selling prices have gone up accordingly. “Baby boomers could well drive the sale of downtown condos going forward,” says Robert Rulla, a director at Fitch Ratings, which analyzes the housing market.
Another drawback is noise. But those who have made the switch say activity is part of the appeal of living downtown and they get used to sirens and car alarms. “We don’t want to go to a retirement home,” says retired neurosurgeon and thriller author Allen Wyler who, with his wife, is selling their 3,400-square foot-home in Anacortes, Wash., and is looking to buy a penthouse in downtown Seattle. “We want to be around people who are younger because that gives us more energy.”
John Truax, a 64-year-old retired engineering executive, and Kathie Truax, 67, sold their 3,800-square foot, four-bedroom house in a Seattle suburb for $470,000 three years ago and bought a 1,400-square-foot, two-bedroom condo for $730,000, taking out a mortgage in the process. Their new building is in downtown’s South Lake Union neighborhood, an area filled with young techies (Amazon is building a new headquarters a few blocks away).
The couple says many of their friends have chosen to move into 55-plus communities on golf courses; others have “hunkered down” in their old homes, forgoing ethnic diversity and outside opinions. Mr. and Mrs. Truax have joined a multigenerational (ages range from 23-70) book group in their new building, and Mrs. Truax belongs to a neighborhood coffee group that discusses politics and local issues once a month. “We find people here are much more engaged in the world,” says Mrs. Truax. “We feel like we’ve started a new book. Every day we say ‘Can you believe this? This is so fun’.”
Nerou Cheng, 63, paid $1.03 million for a two-bedroom at the Edge in Williamsburg and moved from Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where, he says, “there was nothing to do.” He says he entertains much more often, goes out all the time and feels like he has a lot more energy. Another difference: His 28-year-old daughter recently moved in with him temporarily, something he thinks she never would have done if he was living in his previous neighborhood.
“She loves it here,” he says.
Write to Nancy Keates at email@example.com
The Aspen City Council on Tuesday decided it will make legal what many bicyclists already are doing: rolling through stop signs.
With little discussion, Mayor Steve Skadron and council members Ann Mullins and Adam Frisch agreed with Aspen police and other city staff members to create an ordinance that allows bicyclists to use stop signs in the same manner that motorists use a yield sign. Councilman Art Daily, who is traveling, was not present for Tuesday’s work session.
The new rule — heralded as a safety measure and a possible incentive for more people to use bikes — won’t become official until it goes through the council’s regular meeting cycle with an introduction at one meeting and a vote for or against final approval at another.
“I am ready to move forward with this,” Skadron said. “I think it’s safe, sensible and efficient bike transport.”
In February, the City Council discussed the issue after Aspen police brought information to them about the “stop-as-yield approach” which has worked in Idaho for many years. A 2008 study by the University of California at Berkeley showed that in Idaho, police and motorists have accepted the measure as public policy that makes sense.
Boise, a city with a large percentage of regular bicyclists compared with motorists, has become safer as a result of the change, the study indicated.
“The study determined that bicyclists are actually at greater risk when they stop at stop signs because of a few factors,” Assistant Police Chief Bill Linn said in February. “One of them being that there is always an unknown element when a bicyclist comes to a stop sign to the motorists in the area. Is that bike going to stop or not?”
Proponents of “stop as yield” cite the difficulty some cyclists have in dealing with the bike’s inertia when coming to a hard stop and faulty gear that fails to allow them to stop on time.
Also at that February meeting, council members asked staffers to gather more community input. City Engineer Trish Aragon said Tuesday that local bike-shop owners aren’t against the rule change, expressing the general opinion that cyclists “were doing it already.”
Mullins suggested that Pitkin County government ought to be informed about the reasons behind the rule change in order to consider making the same decision so that cyclists aren’t confused as they ride in and out of city and county boundaries.
Frisch said he doesn’t see the need for extra signage next to standard stop signs that say “except for bicycles.”
“I think it’s a waste of money and clutter, and if people still slow and stop, they slow and stop,” he said.
The question arose as to whether the rule change will apply to Highway 82, a state thoroughfare.
“Both Breckenridge and Dillon have the same issue, and they have worked it out with (the Colorado Department of Transportation), and CDOT is allowing them to (let bicyclists) yield at stop signs on the state highway,” Aragon said. “I’m assuming that since Breckenridge and Dillon were able to do it that we would be able to do it, too.”
Frisch brought up the issue of the legalities of bicycling on sidewalks, which was a council topic last year that fell by the wayside after former Councilman Derek Johnson spoke out. He said he would go “ballistic” if one of his kids came home with a police citation for riding on a sidewalk.
“I read that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t recommend that kids 10 or under ride on the streets,” Frisch said.
Linn reminded Frisch and others that riding a bicycle on an Aspen sidewalk still is illegal for everyone, young or old, and subject to a fine, although police rarely enforce the law anywhere except the downtown pedestrian malls, where they ask riders to get off and walk their bikes.
Some last-minute JAS tips
Not all of the music on hand for this weekend’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival will require a ticket to enjoy the tunes.
Jazz Aspen Snowmass will host a free lawn party on the Aspen Music Festival grounds near the Benedict Music Tent, where live music will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Two stages will include world jazz from Tizer and the Mezcla Afro-Cuban Allstars. Food booths will be on hand as well, along with full-service bars.
No parking will be available onsite, with the exception of patron/VIP ticket holders.
However, bus service to the music grounds, provided by the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, will be available.
Also, Jazz Aspen Snowmass has arranged shuttle service to and from Rubey Park Transit Center through Colorado Mountain Express, with shuttles running continuously from 7 to 11 p.m. today and Saturday, and from 6 to 11 p.m. Sunday. WE-cycle also will provide bicycles for those willing to pedal their way to and from the concerts.
Also, no camera, radio or recording devices are allowed inside the Benedict Music Tent. No cellphone photography is permitted either.
Tickets for today’s Jackson Browne performance are sold out, while they remain available for the Saturday performance featuring Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite as well as the Sunday performance by the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Naturally 7.
Tickets are available by calling 866-JAS-TIXX, visiting the Belly Up Aspen box office or visiting www.jazzaspensnowmass.org.
Colorado becomes first to fully regulate recreational ganja use
TROY HOOPER | Wed., May 29, 2013 @ 9:14 am
A marijuana rally on April 20, 2012, in Denver. (My 420 Tours)
DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a half dozen bills into law Tuesday that regulate how marijuana can be grown and sold in Colorado while also attempting to shield children from it and keep stoned drivers off of the road.
The legislation is in response to Amendment 64 — a law Coloradans approved in a statewide vote in November that legalizes the use and limited possession of recreational marijuana for adults.
Colorado is now the first place on Earth to fully regulate the recreational use of marijuana for people 21 and over. The smokeable plant, however, remains illegal under federal law, which puts it on par with heroin — a classification marijuana advocates, and many scientists, find laughable.
Ending the marijuana prohibition is expected to generate millions of dollars in tax revenue and take profits out of the black market. “Certainly, this industry will create jobs,” Hickenlooper said at the bills’ signing. “Whether it’s good for the brand of our state is still up in the air. But the voters passed Amendment 64 by a clear majority. That’s why we’re going to implement it as effectively as we possibly can.”
One of the laws the governor signed lays the framework for an excise tax — essentially a wholesale tax — that can be as much as 15 percent. The first $40 million in revenue from the excise tax will annually go to the Building Excellent Schools Today program. The law also lays the framework for a sales tax that will start at 10 percent, but is capped at 15 percent. Colorado voters, however, still must approve the taxes.
In an effort to curb interstate marijuana trafficking, one of Colorado’s new laws limits out-of-state residents from buying more than a quarter-ounce in a single sale, though they can possess an ounce.
Until September 2014, the pot trade will be limited to businesses already up and running that now sell medicinal marijuana. Sellers must also be Colorado residents for at least two years and pass a background check — rules designed to prevent the state from attracting drug cartels and other criminal elements.
If they so choose, communities can ban retail pot sales, similar to how some of them currently outlaw medicinal marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana is not allowed on school grounds, child care centers or in community residential homes and the new laws attempt to define what it means to be using marijuana “openly” and “publicly,” and specify how it may be stored. The new legislation also attempts to curtail communal smoking at marijuana clubs by not exempting them from indoor air laws like they do cigar clubs.
Although there is already a law on the books targeting drug-using drivers, a new one will go into effect that says motorists are too stoned to drive if their blood contains more than 5 nanograms of THC from marijuana. The law is controversial as tests have been all over the map with some showing some regular smokers might have enough THC in their bloodstream even if they hadn’t inhaled the drug for 24 hours.
There is a deadline of July 1 for the Colorado Department of Revenue to implement the legislation Hickenlooper signed and by October it must begin accepting applications for marijuana stores.
Federal officials have remained mum on Amendment 64 — as well as a similar law passed in Washington state — but Hickenlooper said that he expects the U.S. Department of Justice to weigh in soon.
U.S. Reps. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced a bill in February that would exempt states like Colorado from federal marijuana laws. The bill has been assigned to committee.
CFMA is an association of independent farmers markets in Colorado. Our organization does not operate any farmers markets. If you are interested in being a vendor at one of our member markets, or if you would like more information about a specific market, you should contact that market directly. Markets marked “EBT” accept Colorado Quest card Food Stamp benefits.
What does it mean to be a Colorado Proud Farmers Market?
Farmers Markets who meet the Colorado Proud labeling guidelines and have been approved by the Colorado Department of Agriculture Marketing Division, are eligible to use the Colorado Proud Logo.
The COLORADO PROUD logo maybe used to promote any food or agricultural product that has been grown, raised or processed in Colorado. Fresh produce, herbs, grains and horticultural products must be grown in Colorado. Livestock must be raised in Colorado. Value-added consumer foods (jams, salsas, sauces, chips, dairy, sausage, jerky, etc.) must be manufactured in Colorado and companies are encouraged to use ingredients that are grown or raised in Colorado. Non-food items must be at least 50 percent agricultural origin by weight, and that agricultural base must have been grown, raised or processed in Colorado
Supporting Colorado Proud Farmers Markets strengthens agriculture, local communities and local economies. For more information about the Colorado Proud Program, visit their website: www.coloradoproud.org OR click on the link below
The effort to clear snow to the summit of Independence Pass was in the final stretch Monday after a helicopter crew dropped bombs into avalanche chutes that posed a threat to equipment operators.
A helicopter hired by the Colorado Department of Transportation dropped 36 bombs on the east side of the summit and five charges in the Roaring Fork West and Roaring Fork East slide areas about two miles from the summit on the Aspen side.
From a safe site a short distance east of the Independence ghost town, highway maintenance supervisor Don Poole and two members of his crew, Adam Wano and Jeff Lewis, watched the helicopter hover over the Continental Divide and drop the 33-pound charges. After a lengthy delay, the explosions sounded like rifle blasts, reverberating off the high peaks. Other times, the sound was muffled, depending on the direction of the chute that was targeted.
When a CDOT avalanche expert examined the control work from the air and deemed it a success, the ground crew fired up a snowblower the size of an SUV and started eating into the 5-foot-high wall of snow that covers the final two miles of the road. By late Monday, the crew was close to the Upper Lost Man Loop parking area — where Highway 82 forms a big horseshoe before heading up the steep, long grade to the summit.
“It is the toughest two miles from this point, for sure,” Poole said.
“It’ll probably take us as long to clear that out as it did the whole rest of the danged road,” said Jeff Lewis, a highway maintenance worker who is driving some of the equipment to clear the pass.
The crew started working the last week of April, preferring to get started early in the day, when temperatures are lower. Wet, heavy snow clogs the snowblower.
While the winter was mild, the snowpack caught up in April. It’s left behind a 5-foot blanket that covers the roadway and surrounding terrain, making it tricky for an equipment operator to know exactly where the road is located.
“It’s like a brick wall,” Lewis said of the remaining snowbank. “Once you start breaking it up, it melts like crazy.”
CDOT records indicate that the west approach to Independence Pass has about 90 percent of its average snowpack. The east side of the pass is about 100 percent of average, Poole said, but the Aspen side gets a higher amount of snow than the Twin Lakes side because of the mountain dynamics.
Poole expressed confidence that the crew will have the road cleared to the summit by the scheduled opening May 23.
“If we do get it (cleared) before then, we’ll be opening it up,” he said.
Cyclists in Saturday’s Ride for the Pass have clear sailing from the closure gate to Independence, where the official, timed course ends. Many riders continue up the road after the event. They shouldn’t expect to make it to the summit. Poole said the crew would be roughly halfway up the steep, long grade by Saturday.
The avalanche-control work didn’t bring down much snow on the Aspen side of the pass Monday, but CDOT won’t take any risks with its employees. It errs on the side of caution. The recent warm weather has increased the chances of “wet” avalanches, Poole said.
Each member of the maintenance crew has an avalanche beacon, a probe and a shovel. They take mandatory snow-safety training.
Lewis said there is more peace of mind for him as an equipment operator after the avalanche-control work is performed. Still, he said, the crew keeps an eye on the slopes for any developing danger. A spotter works with the equipment operators on the final stretch.
The crew is using one heavy-duty loader with chains wrapped around the 6-foot-diameter tires to push the oversized snowblower along. It chews an 8-foot-wide swath through the snow with rotors and spits it out in a large arc to the side of the road. The snowblower clears the left half of the road. A second loader trails behind to scoop the snow off the right lane.
The crew expects to cover less than a quarter mile per day while clearing snow. The snowblower creeps along despite its size and power. There is more to opening the highway than clearing the snowbanks. The crew must clear rocks that continually pepper the road at this time of year. Guardrails beat up by the snow must be repaired, potholes will be patched, and erosion on the shoulder will be filled.
While waiting for the avalanche-control work, the maintenance-crew members said working in the solitude of the pass is a treat compared with their usual duties. The only sounds were water rushing beneath the snow and birds in the forest. The staff is responsible for maintenance of Highway 82 from mile marker 14 near Carbondale to the summit of Independence Pass and Highway 133 to the south side of McClure Pass. Lewis said the other Highway 82 crew was sweeping the road through Snowmass Canyon. That’s in contrast to the work on the pass, where traffic isn’t an issue right now.
A different crew is working to open the road from the Twin Lakes side.
“It’s kind of a competition to see who gets to the top (first),” Poole said. Radio communication is tough between the east and west sides, so it’s a guessing game on how the opposing crew is doing.
Pitkin County real estate market shows signs of life
The total dollar volume of all sales in the county in April was $111,269,029, according to a review by The Aspen Times of all deeds filed with the Pitkin County clerk and recorder for the month. That is an increase of 12 percent from the $99,180,781 in sales for the same month in the prior year.
After a torrid end to 2012, the real estate market had a tepid start to 2013. January sales were down 17.36 percent. Sales were off 15.37 percent in February and another 30 percent in March, according to a report by Land Title Guarantee Co.
For the first quarter of the year, sales were at $191.35 million. That was down nearly 22.5 percent from the 2012 first-quarter mark of $246.70 million, the title company’s report showed.
April improved those numbers a little bit. Total sales dollar volume from January through April was $345.88 million this year. That is a deficit of 12.5 percent, or $43.3 million, compared with the year-to-date figure through April 2012.
There were 72 transactions in April, according to deeds filed with the county clerk. They ranged from the large deals, such as the $8.5 million sale of the Windstar property in Old Snowmass, to affordable-housing sales in Aspen. The total number of transactions was up slightly from 64 last year.
April was the strongest sales month of the year so far. Sales totaled $79.87 million in January, $38.39 million in February and $73.08 million in March.
Last year also started slow, but the real estate market was on fire for most of the second half. It was punctuated by a December that rivaled the industry’s strong months before the recession. December sales were so strong because of tax changes implemented this year.
Report ranks Aspen second in luxury home sales for 2012
Hala Ranch, which was at one time listed for $135 million, sold in 2012 for $41 million. (Catherine Lutz photo.)
There were 48 sales of Aspen homes for $5 million or more, which was second in 2012 only to Beverly Hills, where there were 82 transactions, the Coldwell Banker Luxury Market Report said. Aspen’s prices beat out those of other exclusive locales including Malibu, Calif., Montecito, Calif., Miami Beach, Fla., Brentwood, Calif., Greenwich, Conn., Bel Air, Calif. and Pacific Palisades, Calif.
There were 16 sales of Aspen homes for $10 million or more, again trailing only Beverly Hills, where Coldwell Banker reports there were 21 sales.
Aspen ranked third in the nation with 54 properties listed for $10 million or more in 2012, second with 153 properties listed for $5 million or more and 10th with 463 residential properties listed for $1 million or more.
The report included commentary from brokers in the top markets who added insight into what goes into the pricing structure of luxury homes.
Location, the condition of the property, its irreplaceability and several other intangibles are what help homes sell for top dollar, they said.
Aspen and Beverly Hills were singled out for their “one-of-a-kind” status.
“Properties that cannot be replaced have become more common in today’s Aspen ultra luxury market,” said Aspen broker Brian Hazen, estimating irreplaceability could potentially add 25-40 percent to the price.
“Aspen has enacted strict growth restrictions, so you can only build a certain size home based on lot size,” Hazen said. “If you want to build more than 5,750 square feet — the maximum in Pitkin County — on say 100 acres, as an example, you will need to buy one or more Transferable Development Rights, adding 2,500 square feet for each, if allowed, up to 15,000 square feet. County rules also prevent one from building a home or making improvements within 100 feet of a river or creek. So, if you have a 90-acre property — like Hala Ranch — near Aspen [Saudi Prince Bandar's old digs on Red Mountain that sold for $49 million last year], irreplaceability adds significantly to the price.”
The Coldwell Banker report said that in 2012, there were more than 200 transactions recorded in the top 15
U.S. cities for luxury home sales priced $10 million and above. It also said the luxury market is still hot.
“Earlier this year, the real estate world also took notice when news organizations began announcing another record-setting residential sale in Northern California — the second in 18 months to have reportedly tipped the $100 million mark,” Coldwell Banker wrote. “Luxury homes continue to exceed price records …”