COLORADO SPRINGS, CO-Despite Capital Pacific paying about $55 million for the 25,000-acre Banning Lewis Ranch this year — in what may have been the largest single private land sale anyplace in the nation this year — 2001 will mark the worst year for land transactions since 1998. Slightly less than $150 million in land will be sold this year, shows a report by Grubb & Ellis, while in 1999 and 2000 land sales were just north of $150 million.

Record land sales took place in 1996, when the dollar volume topped $200 million.

The Banning Lewis Ranch, which was the largest single property sold by the Resolution Trust Corp., accounted for more than a third of the total land sales volume in the Springs this year.

“Fewer land sales occurred in 2001 compared to the previous few years, as a consequence of a slowing economy, adequate developer inventories of entitled property and a diminishing supply of easily developable land,” Grubb & Ellis notes.

Land prices will soften next year, especially for commercial, office and industrial property, where there are greater inventories, the report notes.

The best bet will be for “overlooked infill parcels located in established commercial areas,” the report says.

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