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Free sustainability conference in Glenwood to explore jobs, energy future

Colorado Mountain College is set to present a sustainability mini-conference titled, “The Future of Jobs, Energy and Nature from Rifle to Aspen,” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday at the college’s Morgridge Commons in downtown Glenwood Springs.

A panel of experts will invite audience participation to explore regional community well-being, and CMC’s role in fostering it. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Panelists include Kevin Hillmer-Pegram, CMC associate professor of sustainability studies; Katie Mackley from the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp.; John Katzenberger from Aspen Global Change Institute; Alice Laird of Clean Energy Economy for the Region; and Samuel Bernal from Radio La Tricolor.

Morgridge Commons is located at 815 Cooper Ave., second floor, above the Glenwood Springs Library. Registration at https://bit.ly/2ZkxnSc (lunch is included).

Slifer Smith & Frampton acquires Roaring Fork Valley real estate firm

VAIL — The biggest real estate company in Eagle and Summit counties is branching out.

In a blue-lit meeting room at the Marriott hotel in Vail, Slifer Smith & Frampton managing broker John Pfeiffer called for quiet before announcing that the firm has acquired Palladium Properties, an independent Aspen-based firm with offices in Aspen, Basalt and Glenwood Springs.

But first, Pfeiffer had to dispel some rumors that had been going around the firm’s offices. Those rumors included:

• East West Partners — founded by partner Harry Frampton — buying Vail Resorts.

• Vail Resorts buying Slifer Smith & Frampton.

• Pfeiffer retiring.

With the rumors out of the way, Pfeiffer told the full meeting room what actually happened.

Palladium founder Krista Klees — a longtime veteran of the Roaring Fork Valley real estate business — founded what Pfeiffer called a “fiercely independent firm” about four years ago. That firm, with about 30 brokers, had grown into what Pfeiffer called the largest independent real estate company in the Pitkin and Garfield county markets.

Pfeiffer and Klees met last year at a conference in Santa Barbara, California, and immediately hit it off.

The way Pfeiffer tells the story, he asked Klees if she’d consider a partnership.

Klees replied: “Only with a company like Slifer Smith & Frampton.”

Similarities

Both Pfeiffer and Klees talked about the similarities in the two firms. Both are active in community philanthropy. Both firms are members of Luxury Portfolio International, an invitation-only international organization.

“Palladium is really a classier version of us,” Pfeiffer joked.

The deal was done over the course of about seven months, with people in Slifer Smith & Frampton’s Avon office working nights and weekends. And, Pfeiffer said, no one leaked the news.

With the deal announced, Pfeiffer said Palladium will become an affiliate of Slifer Smith & Frampton but will retain its current management.

The deal also creates what Pfeiffer called the region’s largest, independently owned real estate company.

After the presentation, Pfeiffer said the move into the Roaring Fork Valley is a “natural progression” for both Palladium and Slifer Smith & Frampton.

“It made sense to partner with an independent firm,” Pfeiffer said, adding that Palladium has strategically placed offices to work with both luxury real estate buyers and the broader community.

In the noisy aftermath of the announcement, Klees said she’d long respected the work done by Slifer Smith & Frampton. In fact, she said, she founded Palladium based on many of the larger company’s principles of business and community involvement.

Jeff Moore is the managing broker of Slifer Smith & Frampton’s Summit County operations. While Summit County and Aspen are fairly far apart, Moore said the merger is a good fit for both firms.

“Real estate, especially (in the luxury segment) is about footprint,” Moore said.

The expanded Slifer Smith & Frampton footprint will also be attractive to clients. “It’s going to be good for our sellers,” he said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

Business Briefs April 23, 2019

Glenwood Hot Springs names quarterly Devereux Leadership Award Winner

Karen Thorpe is the latest recipient of the Devereux Leadership Award, an honor that recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional management skills that align with the resort’s mission to “make people feel better.” The tribute rewards qualities such as problem-solving, team building, accountability, effective communications style and professionalism.

In her role as executive assistant, Thorpe has worn many hats in her six years at the Hot Springs and can always be counted on to handle herself with poise and grace. “Karen is the epitome of a Devereux Leadership Award recipient. Her competency and leadership are an asset to our guests, employees and the community,” Glenwood Hot Springs Resort Vice President John Bosco said. “She’s highly organized and efficient. Karen is a multi-tasking pro who can expertly juggle the demands of a business with multiple revenue streams and many moving parts.”

RE/MAX Agent Steve Carter earns Lifetime Achievement Award

Steve Carter, with RE/MAX Country, has been presented with the RE/MAX Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors highly successful agents. Less than 6 percent of active agents in the RE/MAX network have achieved this award since its inception.

“Steve’s tireless dedication to serving his clients and community has allowed him to achieve this high honor,” said Debbie Sanderson, broker/owner of RE/MAX Country. “Winning this award is a significant accomplishment, and we’re extremely proud that Steve is a member of our team.”

Carter has been working in the real estate industry for more than 18 years and has extensive experience in residential properties working with both sellers and buyers. Among Carter’s list of achievements, he has earned RE/MAX Hall of Fame 2007, RE/MAX 100% Club 2003, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, RE/MAX Platinum Club 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2017 and RE/MAX Executive Club 2009, 2011.

In addition, Carter actively supports the Literacy Outreach program and has coached the offensive line for the Glenwood Springs Varsity High School Football team since 2006.

Howard column: Nine rights you have when seeking financial advice

Pitkin County Library hosted a Financial Advisor Panel to start off April’s Financial Literacy Month. It was a chance for people to come ask questions about how the wealth management and financial advice industry works.

You will have different needs for advice at different junctures of your life. As you transition towards and into your retirement years, it becomes imperative that you look at income planning as the foundation in building the life you want.

You have “rights” as you work with financial professionals.

Your “accumulation” phase has shifted into the “distribution” season. You want to have a different conversation with an advisor. An advisor’s job, especially at this stage of life, should be to help you banish fear, savor hope and avoid regret in life. It is more than just rebalancing your portfolio and mitigating risk. Creating a vision of what is important to you and peace of mind that you have the financial means to sustain you moving forward would be your objective. When engaging a financial life planner or advisor, you have the right to:

I. Feel at ease, accepted and heard. You want to communicate freely and honestly, to be understood and to understand. You should ask for clarification where needed and not feel “talked over.”

II. Have your life, objectives and concerns treated with respect. Everyone is unique and there should be no judgments made by the advisor.

III. Have the right to confidentiality with regards to all information you provide. This is intimate territory, and your personal life needs to be protected.

IV. Full disclosure by the advisor as to their licensing and how they are compensated. If you are paying for any sort of investment advice, the advisor needs to be licensed with the state and/or the SEC even if they are not managing money or selling products. When working with a Registered Investment Advisor, you should receive a copy of the advisor’s ADV Part II — which is a document required by the SEC that outlines how their business is run. It will include a code of ethics and privacy statement. Ask questions such as “Do you work as a fiduciary, and in what capacity? What services are included? What is included in creating a financial plan, and what is the cost? How comprehensive is the planning process? What is the time frame for completion of the plan as well as follow up implementation?

V. A written contract that spells out the terms of your working relationship. You or the planner should be able to discontinue the relationship if found to be inappropriate or unsatisfactory.

VI. Written recommendations that are based on your individualized priorities and perspective. A customized strategy will look at many aspects of your unique life situation. From legacy planning and tax efficient income streams, to understanding cognitive aging elements, the better your advisor knows you and every facet of your circumstances, the better they will serve you.

VII. Clear explanations as to recommendations. You should expect thorough answers as to why those recommendations are being made based on your values. You should feel educated, empowered and confident that recommendations are in your best interest before you take action.

VIII. Assistance in the implementation of your plan, or strategic changes that need to be undertaken. Your advisor should work closely with everyone on your team (CPA, attorney, retirement coach, family). A plan is just the beginning, and needs to be recalibrated moving forward.

IX. You have the right to an advisor that is available. You should have access to your advisor or their team to answer questions or get reassurance and support throughout your engagement.

In exchange for having your rights honored, you have the responsibility to work diligently and conscientiously with your advisor. You must be prepared to discuss your financial life and the feelings that go with it openly and honestly. You should feel empowered and educated to make decisions moving forward in a timely manner.

With a competent, compassionate advisor in place and other professionals working alongside you, you will be able to wisely navigate the growing complexities of this new season of life and the financial implications that arise. April — a month to bloom in the command of your financial life. How do you want to take charge?

Danielle Howard is a CFP® and CKA®. Wealth By Design LLC, an independent advisor is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Visit her at www.wealthbydesign4u.com. 970-927-3909 Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research Inc., a broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.

Glenwood lodging industry’s heads in beds up as Hanging Lake shuttle prepares to launch

Glenwood Springs’ lodging industry has experienced an uptick in guests so far in 2019 amid one of the best ski seasons in recent years.

Hopes are the trend continues with the new permit-based Hanging Lake shuttle service beginning next month.

So far this year, the city’s hotel and motel occupancy rates jumped 5.2, 5.1 and 4 percent in January, February and March, respectively, compared with 2018, according to the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association.

“Our promotional budget comes from accommodations tax receipts,” said Lisa Langer, the city’s director of tourism promotion through the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.

“Most of our advertising is for people that are far enough away that they are coming and spending at least one night, and hopefully multiple nights,” Langer said.

By the numbers

According to the most up-to-date reports, in January the city’s 2.5 percent accommodations tax generated $74,701 — a 19 percent increase from January 2018.

Likewise, February accommodations taxes were up 13.77 percent, with $69,979 in receipts compared to $61,511 in February 2018.

In January, Glenwood’s hotels and motels earned the city $115,591 worth of overall sales tax revenue, marking a 14.57 percent increase when put alongside January 2018.

In February, lodges produced $108,473, marking a 7.34 percent increase compared to the hotel and motel sector’s February 2018 performance.

Hotel Colorado General Manager Christian Henny said that, aside from Interstate 70 closures because of avalanches, Hotel Colorado faired particularly well in the first quarter of 2019.

“Hotel Colorado finished the first quarter with a strong double-digit revenue increase over the previous year, despite the fact that our meeting and function rooms have been under renovation,” Henny said.

Hanging Lake shuttle launch

Additionally, the city’s recent partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and contractor H20 Ventures to provide shuttle services to and from the Hanging Lake Trail area has also provided more hits to visitglenwood.com, Langer said.

“The Hanging Lake page on visitglenwood.com was the number one page and now is of course, still, the number one page but with much more volume,” she said. “It really opens up the entire community to benefit from the people who come [to Hanging Lake].”

Since Hanging Lake’s online reservation system went live April 1, over 6,180 people have already signed up.

The permit system caps Hanging Lake’s visitors to 615 people per day. Being that the new Hanging Lake Welcome Center resides next to the Glenwood Community Center, visitors who utilize the shuttle service have no choice but to make their way into the city.

“We are hearing good things about the Hanging Lake shuttle and reservation system, and hope this will drive additional weekday business during the summer for people wanting to experience Hanging Lake on days with more available time slots,” Henny said.

Langer explained that, in years past, the U.S. Forest Service asked the city to hold back on promoting Hanging Lake outside of basic information, as the natural national landmark was already too busy.

Now, however, when users type in visitglenwood.com to secure a Hanging Lake permit, they can also explore many of Glenwood’s other offerings.

“It is also important then to direct people to all of the other things we have to do in Glenwood Springs,” Langer said. “They’re coming there because they want to hike Hanging Lake. …And, now, they have the opportunity to see all of the other things Glenwood has to offer.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

BLM returns RMR’s quarry application a second time

Rocky Mountain Resources still has more work to do on its proposal to expand the Glenwood Springs quarry.

The Bureau of Land Management returned a proposed plan of operations modification for the Mid-Continent quarry Friday, saying the over-350-page document was incomplete.

This is the second version of the proposal that BLM has returned as incomplete.

“This back and forth between operator and BLM with a large proposal is not unusual,” David Boyd, BLM spokesman for the Colorado River Valley Field Office said. “A lot of detail is required.”

The review was for completeness under the regulations, and “not an evaluation of the proposal itself,” Boyd said.

The BLM returned RMR’s first proposal Dec. 21, and in a letter listed 73 areas that needed to be addressed, or more specific.

In a letter to RMR dated Friday, the BLM included 35 areas where the second draft of the mining plan lacked sufficient information.

New CRVO field director Larry Sandoval wrote, “there are additional items that remain, as well as several new items that were discovered during this review.”

One issue RMR has not addressed in the proposal is the quarry’s current noncompliance with existing permits.

There apparently is a sediment control structure at the quarry that is unauthorized, and the RMR has not explained how that area will be reclaimed.

In addition to the 35 specific issues, the BLM also had a number of general questions.

RMR said in its proposal that exploratory drilling has occurred within the proposed expansion area, but in their letter, BLM officials stated: “BLM has no record of authorizing any exploration activities within or around Mid-Continent Quarry from 1982-2017.”

BLM asked RMR to provide documentation of approved exploratory drilling.

The BLM has no timeline for when the next draft of the proposal should be returned.

When the officials deem the plan complete, they will begin an environmental review process, either an Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment.

 “We will conduct a thorough evaluation of the proposal, which will include multiple opportunities for public involvement, at some point after we receive a plan of operations we deem complete,” Boyd said.

Since RMR’s first proposal, the Glenwood Springs City Council made a statement and resolution voicing opposition to RMR’s expansion.

“[Expansion] of the mine would lead to large visual impacts, mire the city in truck traffic, damage the thriving tourist economy, and seriously impact the water quality and air quality for thousands of rural Coloradans,” the unanimous resolution said.

The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing to review RMR’s alleged violations of the county’s permit.

The hearing will begin at 6 p.m. Monday at Glenwood Springs Middle School.

tphippen@postindependent.com

US corporations embracing 420 as pot legalization grows

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Potheads have for decades celebrated their love of marijuana on April 20, but the once counter-culture celebration that was all about getting stoned now is so mainstream Corporate America is starting to embrace it.

No, Hallmark doesn’t yet have a card to mark “420.” But many other businesses inside and outside the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry are using April 20, or 4/20, to roll out marketing and social media messaging aimed at connecting with consumers driving the booming market.

On Saturday, Lyft is offering a $4.20 credit on a single ride in Colorado and in select cities in the U.S. and Canada. Carl’s Jr. is using a Denver restaurant to market a hamburger infused with CBD, a non-intoxicating molecule found in cannabis that many believe is beneficial to their health.

On 420 last year, Totino’s, a maker of frozen pizza snacks, tweeted an image of a microwave and an oven with the message: “To be blunt, pizza rolls are better when baked.”

“I think brands that associate themselves with cannabis kind of get that contact high. In other words, they’re just considered to be cooler by association,” said Kit Yarrow, consumer psychologist at Golden Gate University. “As pot becomes more legal, more discussed, more interesting to people, more widely used, then 420 becomes more mainstream as well.”

Marijuana normalization has snowballed since 2012, when Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize recreational use. Eight more followed, including California, Oregon and Michigan. Medical marijuana is legal in two-thirds of the states, with conservative-leaning Utah and Oklahoma among recent additions.

Meantime, the CBD market has exploded. CBD oil can be found in candies, coffee and other food, drinks and dietary supplements, along with perfume, lotions, creams and soap. Proponents say CBD helps with pain, anxiety and inflammation, though limited scientific research supports those claims.

U.S. retail sales of cannabis products jumped to $10.5 billion last year, a threefold increase from 2017, according to data from Arcview Group, a cannabis investment and market research firm. The figures do not include retail sales of hemp-derived CBD products.

Ben & Jerry’s was one of the earliest big brands to foster a connection with the marijuana culture through marketing. The Vermont-based ice cream company features Cherry Garcia and Phish Food, honoring late Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia and the band Phish. Both bands are favorites of the marijuana-smoking crowd.

To mark 420 in recent years, Ben & Jerry’s debuted taco and burrito inspired ice cream sandwiches. This year the company partnered with a San Francisco Bay Area cannabis retailer to give customers who place delivery orders on Friday and Saturday a free pint of Half Baked, a combination of cookie dough and fudge brownie.

“We have a lot of fun, never being overt, but really playing into the moment of 420,” said Jay Curley, the company’s global head of integrated marketing.

Last year, Ben & Jerry’s also turned more serious, asking consumers to call on lawmakers to expunge prior marijuana convictions and press for pardons or amnesty for anyone arrested for smoking pot. This year the company is using the holiday to call for criminal justice reform.

“We’re actually using this as an opportunity not to tell a stoner joke like we have in the past, but to raise what we see as a much more serious issue around justice,” Curley said.

Those in the marijuana marketplace also are ramping up advertising around 420. Much of the marketing about cannabis or related products takes the form of online ads, emails, text messages and social media. Shops typically offer discounts. Some host parties with food and entertainment. The larger 420 events can draw thousands of people.

Verano Holdings, whose businesses include cannabis shops, sponsors street festivals in Chicago and Tulsa, Oklahoma, where attendees can learn about marijuana products, listen to music and grab a bite. The company expects this Saturday’s festival in Chicago, going on its third year, will draw more than 4,000 people. Last year, it drew 1,500, said Tim Tennant, Verano’s chief marketing officer.

In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Hippie Hill will again be the site of a 420 celebration. Last year, more than 15,000 attended the event, which has transformed from a small informal gathering into a full-blown festival of corporate sponsors and commercial booths selling smoking devices, T-shirts and food.

Roger Volodarsky, whose Los Angeles-based Puffco makes portable vaporizers, has celebrated 420 since he was a teenager. Back then, he said, “420 was the day that you splurged on yourself and got high in interesting ways. It was the day that you made a gravity bong and coughed your brains out.”

Volodarksy likes that some Main Street brands are getting into the industry and the holiday.

“What’s important to me about these ad campaigns is they’re speaking to people who aren’t users and they’re normalizing the space to people who aren’t users,” he said.

Even as popularity grows, some companies will stay away from 420 as a marketing tool, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce, a marketing consulting company.

“If you’re talking about a big brand that needs to appeal to everybody and is very risk-averse, then probably not,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see large financial institutions doing it.”

Business Briefs April 16, 2019

Local real estate professional brings home national honor from BrokerAgent

Now in its 25th year, BrokerAgent Advisor celebrates the success and accomplishment of the industry’s finest real estate professionals through its exclusive “Certificate of Excellence” program, according to a press release.

Through proprietary criteria, formulas, and other valuable considerations, Trudi Watkins-Johnson of RiverStone Real Estate has been distinguished by BrokerAgent Advisor as one of the best in business based on achievement, potential, leadership, ethics, community value, experience, capability, and trust for her service during the calendar year of 2018.

“Trudi exemplifies the type of professional we designed this award for,” says Chad Golladay, executive publisher of BrokerAgent Advisor. “A true credit to their company, profession, and community both inside and outside of their real estate practice; one with whom the honor is truly ours in being able to share this award.”

There is no cost or fee required for this award, and all applicant’s credentials are verified, which makes this honor one of the most genuine in the industry towards identifying those truly worthy of special recognition and distinction.

Trudi Watkins-Johnson can be found in BrokerAgent Advisor’s national online directory of award recipients at https://brokeragentadvisor.com/brag-directory.

Mind Springs Health hires program directors

Mind Springs Health mental health and addiction treatment center is has named Lance Nabers LPC and Hans Lutgring MSW as program directors for its Aspen and Glenwood Springs practices, respectively.

Nabers, most recently chief behavioral health officer for a federally qualified health center in rural Connecticut, brings more than 20 years of experience in numerous areas including integrated care, crisis services, domestic violence, foster care and adoption, as well as acute inpatient services. He holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Texas and is trained in EMDR (an innovative therapy for anxiety and performance blocks), art & sand therapy and both cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapy.

Responsible for directing the staff and operations of Mind Springs Health’s Glenwood Springs’ office and Garfield County efforts, Hans Lutgring holds Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from Indiana University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Highly skilled in improving community health, nurturing partnerships and leading therapy, nursing and case management teams, Lutgring formerly was director for SummitWest Care of Glenwood Springs, where he oversaw a nationally recognized interdisciplinary home health team delivering elite, skilled care.

Nabers can be reached at 970-920-5555 or LNabers@MindSpringsHealth.org, and Lutgring can be reached at 970-945-2583 or HLutgring@MindSpringsHealth.org.

Glenwood Hot Springs hires management team members

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort has filled two managerial positions. Rosemary Holschuh stepped into the role of director of human resources on Jan 9. With her background and experience, the former human resources director for Warwick Hotels and Resorts and Grand Heritage Hotel Group seamlessly transitioned into her new position at Glenwood Hot Springs, according to a press release. As director of human resources, Holschuh is expected to be involved in both short- and long-term HR planning as well as in the daily operations of the department. Her role encompasses all things HR-related, including talent recruiting, employee training, educational programming, professional development, legal compliance, employee relations, payroll, compensation, benefits, employee safety and retention and promoting a safe, fair and positive work environment.

The other recently filled position is resort sales manager. Lindsey Lewis brings her skills in marketing and communications in the tourism field to her new post, which commenced on April 1. Lewis’ previous experience includes co-ownership of Lewis Marketing, marketing manager for Internet Honey and vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. As the resort sales manager, Lewis will be responsible for planning, driving, generating and maximizing revenues and operating profit for Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. Effective prospecting and relationship building, as well as promotions, special events, advertising and sales calls will fall under Lewis’ purview.

Valley View certified as acute stroke-ready hospital

Valley View recently achieved certification from The Joint Commission as an acute stroke-ready hospital. The certification recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care. To be eligible, hospitals must meet a wide variety of standards including a dedicated stroke-focused program, staffing by qualified medical professionals trained in stroke care and the use of data to assess and improve quality of care for stroke patients. Achieving this certification promotes a culture of excellence amongst Valley View and creates confidence in the quality and safety of care, treatment and services, according to a press release.

Housing looking less affordable to open the year

Townhouses, condos and duplexes in portions of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys sold at higher median sales prices to open 2019, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors.

In Carbondale, for the months of January and February, the median sales price for the townhouse-condo category jumped 21.1 percent when put alongside last year’s data spanning the same time frame.

“I don’t think anything, personally in my opinion, is affordable in Carbondale,” CAR spokesperson for the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors Erin Bassett said Monday.

During those same months in 2018, the median sales price for townhouses, condos and duplexes, which included many of Carbondale’s deed-restricted “affordable housing” units, amounted to $565,500. In 2019 so far, that number has increased to $685,000.

As the first-quarter numbers are coming in, the upward trend in the housing market doesn’t show any sign of reversing.

“It’s just crazy,” Bassett said.

Heading downvalley, year-to-date through February 2019, townhouses, condos and duplexes in the Glenwood Springs market had a median sales price of $341,500, marking an 8.4 percent increase from last year’s same window of time.

During the first two months of 2018, the Glenwood townhouse-condo sector’s units had a median sales price of $315,000.

“The question is, what is affordable?” Bassett asked. “That’s the biggest question, because prices continue to rise but people’s wages aren’t going up.”

New Castle’s townhouse-condo category experienced the largest median sales price percent increase from the beginning of the year through February at 39.8 percent.

For the first two months of the year in 2018, the median sales price for those types of units in New Castle was $189,500. In 2019 so far, that number is roughly $265,500.

“The Colorado River Valley is just as beautiful as the Roaring Fork River Valley, and you can get a lot more for your money the farther west you go,” Bassett said.

Silt’s median sales price for the townhouse-condo category was $265,000 during the same period last year. In 2019, however, it was $305,000, marking a 15.1 percent change.

“I think that one of the things that also drives our prices is the lack of land,” Bassett said. “We only have so much land to build on.”

In Rifle, the townhouse-condo category’s median sales price was $165,000 to open last year. This year so far, those units are typically selling for $204,000, marking a 23.6 percent increase.

“I think that there is more appreciation for a townhouse, condo unit than there has been in the past,” Bassett said.

Bassett explained that the townhouse, condo and duplex market had grown increasingly desirable, particularly for first-time homebuyers, but also for retirees “realizing that they can live with less and be able to still have the lifestyle that they want in [the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys],” she said.

That, alone, was key for those buyers, according to Bassett.

mabennett@postindependent.com

de Moraes column: First quarter real estate market update

Well folks, we are off to a slow start in some sectors for 2019 in and around Glenwood Springs. The first quarter numbers are in, and they are fairly far off of 2018 numbers. However, it is still too early to know if 2019 will be the turning year and becoming more of a buyer’s market.

Winter months are typically slower than summer months in our area, because let’s face it, most people don’t want to deal with moving in the cold, snowy months. This year was likely a bit slower than normal, too, because of the stellar snow year we had. How could you think about moving when it seemed as if every weekend was a powder-filled weekend this year?

In comparing 2019 to 2018, Glenwood Springs fell behind during the first quarter for single family home sales in both dollar volume and number of homes sold. The number of homes sold in 2019 was off 25 percent with 25 homes changing hands compared to 33 during the first quarter of last year. The dollar volume was off as well by 19 percent with a total of $15.9 million this first quarter compared to $19.5 million in 2018.

Townhomes and condominiums in Glenwood Springs tell a little different story. This year, both total dollar volume and number of units are up over last year. The number of units sold this year is 19 with $6 million total in sales, compared to only 15 last year totaling $4.3 million.

These statistics indicate to us that there is still a much higher demand for more affordable housing in the area, but single family homes in Glenwood are becoming less attainable. The average townhome/condo sale is $316,000 compared to a single family home average price of $636,000.

As of today, in Glenwood Springs, there are 23 total single family homes available under $600,000, 14 of those are under contract, and nine are available. Excluding the 13 units available in Brettelberg, there are 10 condos/townhomes available and 15 under contract.

In New Castle, townhome/condo sales are double this year with a total of 15 sales at $4.4 million compared to just eight sales at $2 million last year. Single family homes tell another story, just as in Glenwood Springs, with a total of 13 homes at $6.1 million compared to 17 homes at $7.1 million last year.

Both of these communities are in line with the rest of Garfield County as a whole. As a whole, the total sold single family home sales are down 23 percent, 124 this year to 161 last year, but average prices are up 2.7 percent, $475,000 from $462,000.

The townhome-condo market in the entire county is up 19.2 percent in total sales, 62 compared to 52 last year, and 12.4 percent in average price, $324,000 this year, up from $287,000.

* Current as of April 12, 2019. All data taken from the Aspen/Glenwood Multiple Listing Service

Sean de Moraes is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s. He can be reached at sean.demoraes@sir.com.