Billionaire John Paulson bought Hala Ranch, a 90-acre (36-hectare) property in Aspen, Colorado, that belonged to Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and a separate site in the town for $49 million.
The ranch, built by the prince about 20 years ago, is Aspen’s largest residential property and includes a 55,000- square-foot (5,000-square-meter) main house, according to Tim Estin, a broker with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse Real Estate in Aspen. It was initially marketed for $135 million, making it the most expensive U.S. home listing, the Aspen Times said in 2006.
“Hala Ranch is one of the most beautiful properties in Aspen,” Paulson & Co., the hedge-fund manager’s investment firm, said in a statement. “The purchase price represents a substantial discount to the asking price.”
Paulson also bought Bear Cabin, located on a separate 38- acre parcel that was never previously offered for sale, according to the statement.
The statement didn’t disclose the exact price for the transactions, which were reported yesterday by CNBC. Land records in Pitkin County reflect two sales totaling $49 million to an entity called Starwood Mountain Ranch LLC.
The dollar volume of Aspen home sales declined 27 percent this year through May from the same period in 2011, to $277 million, according to Estin, publisher of the Estin Report, a monthly analysis of the Aspen home market. He wasn’t involved in the Paulson transactions.
The dollar volume fell as fewer homes priced above $10 million changed hands, Estin said. The tally doesn’t include Paulson’s purchase, which was completed in June, according to property records. The deals for Hala Ranch and another $30 million home that went into contract last week will bring sales volume in line with a year ago, he said.
After the prince built the ranch, Pitkin County limited home sizes to 15,000 square feet, according to Estin.
Paulson, directly or through his funds, owns real estate across the U.S. including properties in Colorado, Arizona, California, Nevada, Florida and Hawaii, according to the statement.
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