Boulder-area Home Sales Reach New Heights – Again

It’s the same old story, but one we love to hear. Boulder County home sales closed 2017 with yet another increase over the previous year, despite ongoing low inventory, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

“All in all, the year was positive. Sales increased moderately over 2016 in both single-family and attached residential housing,” says Hotard.

That’s saying a lot, since sales have increased in Boulder County for several years in a row and prices have increased significantly, while inventory levels never cease to become more challenging.

“The past several years have a pattern of similarity. It’s a sure sign that the demand for a home in Boulder County is strong and undeterred,” he says.

In fact, year-over-year increases in sales were only about 1 percent apart in each market category. Condominiums and townhomes lead with a 5.6 percent rise through December 2017 – 1508 homes sold vs. 1,428 through 2016 – while sales of single-family homes improved 4.4 percent for the year with 4,612 homes sold vs. 4,419.

Month-to-month sales of single-family homes were virtually unchanged, increasing .1 percent in December 2017 compared to November 2017 – 363 vs. 359 units. In the same period, sales of attached dwellings dropped 2.4 percent compared to the previous month – 120 units vs. 123.

Hotard says lack of inventory is a problem plaguing Boulder County that shows little sign of change in the near future.

Inventory of single-family homes dropped 28.3 percent in December compared to November—declining to 557 units from 777, while multi-family unit inventory decreased 5.5 percent—138 units versus 146—over the same period.

Adding to the inventory crunch, demographers say age is starting to catch up with Boulder County. State demographics show the size of the retired Baby Boomer age group will reach unprecedented levels in the coming years.

Experts say older people tend to move less and age in place. Hotard cautions the aging population could make the already tight housing inventory even tighter over the next decade.

Where might inventory easing come from? Hotard notes that Boulder city leaders are looking at land use policies that may bring some limited relief by making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units or Occupant Accessory Units. And there’s consideration being given to a targeted zoning change that would allow two homes to be built on larger lots where only one home currently stands.

None of these changes, though, will have the impact needed soon enough or large enough to negate the fact that many people who work in the city of Boulder will likely live somewhere else. Hotard believes that improved public regional transportation will be a needed component of our housing picture.

“We’re in the midst of a big shift,” says Hotard. “Boulder Valley used to be 25 square miles surrounded by reality. Now it’s 25 square miles surrounded by competition. That competition is in shopping, locations for businesses, housing and jobs.”

Housing start statistics show that building has increased in Eerie and the tri-towns of Dacono, Frederick and Firestone north of Boulder.

“Increasing inventory in these towns is helping to keep pricing in check in Boulder,” Hotard says of the competition. “Moderating prices is probably a good thing.”

But he remains confident that Boulder County holds strong as a place that people want to live. He expects 2018 to be another positive year in the area’s residential real estate, beginning with a strong first quarter. With interest rates expected to slowly rise, buyers will be motivated to move earlier in the year rather than later.

“As long as we have the beauty and quality of life Boulder County offers, people will want to live here.” And that means our real estate market will be rock solid.

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 11:57am.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 9:00 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boulder County’s Future Bright, but Challenges Ahead

Good times in Boulder County and in Colorado will continue said local economic experts at the recent Boulder Economic Forecast. But they caution that 2018 may not reach the heights of 2017, and the difficulties could impact us well beyond next year.

Organized by the Boulder Chamber and the Boulder Economic Council, the 11th annual Boulder Economic Forecast was held on January 17 at the new Embassy Suites Hotel, and RE/MAX of Boulder was among the event’s sponsors.

“By almost every economic indicator we measure, 2017 was an historic year,” says Executive Director of the Boulder Economic Council Clif Harald in his opening remarks.

Statistics show a superlative year. Colorado ranked third in the country for the pace of GDP growth, while unemployment dropped to 2.5 percent, the second-lowest rate nationally. The state’s labor force soared with the fastest growth rate in the U.S., according to speaker Rich Wobbekind, Executive Director, Business Research Division, Leeds School of Business, CU-Boulder.

But, Harald noted that 2017 presented challenges, too. And, these challenges could escalate in the coming years.

He pointed to constraints for Boulder’s economy, including a shortage of labor and resources and high housing costs that cause long commutes for many Boulder County workers.

In his keynote address, Wobbekind called the labor shortage the area’s “biggest short-term challenge.”

While job growth in Boulder County continued in 2017, the pace slowed from the peak of 2014-15.

“Almost every industry sector reported lack of available labor or properly trained labor. This doesn’t go away,” Wobbekind says.

And chief among the factors impacting Boulder County: age.

Colorado State Demographer Elizabeth Garner says residents 65-and-older will represent 20 percent of residents by 2030. The 65+ group will be 77 percent larger than it was in 2015.

“We are aging fast,” says Garner, noting that the age wave will overtake the entire state.

Garner explains that demographics – and the age wave beginning to sweep the state – are an economic issue. As people retire, aging results in a labor shortage. When people choose to age in place, housing stock for people moving in or moving up is negatively impacted. Aging also impacts healthcare and public financing issues.

At the same time, those migrating here are typically ages 20-27 and never married. Total household income is below $50,000 for 80 percent; 65 percent earn less than $24,000. People move to Colorado for the jobs. But, Garner cautions, the biggest increase in jobs are those that are low- to medium- wage, while the cost of living is relatively high.

The highest income and spending group – 45- to 65- year-olds – is the smallest demographic in the state and in Boulder County. It also has the slowest growth rate and the numbers are declining.

In addition, diversity will increase as the Hispanic population is projected to grow from the current 20 percent to 30 percent by 2040.

Among the challenges and issues facing Boulder County and the state, Garner listed:

– Aging with its far reaching impact across the economy, housing, labor supply and healthcare. As the workforce ages and retires, Colorado could experience a natural decline;

-Disparate growth across the state with Colorado’s economy flourishing along the Front Range and 1-25 corridor, but far fewer gains in the rest of the state and rural areas;

-Attracting the best and brightest to Colorado;

-Population growing at slower rate, with a total population growth from 2015-2050 reaching 2.5 million along Front Range and 1.5 million in Denver;

Garner says Colorado’s population has increased by 578,000 since 2010, making it the eighth highest state in the U.S. for total growth.

Boulder County’s growth rate is the second lowest statewide. The population in-migration peaked in the 1990s. Garner notes that students move to Boulder for college, leave after graduation, then return, and then leave again. One key reason: As a young adult it’s hard to live, buy, and rent in Boulder.

Now, fewer young families live in Boulder, and the tide has shifted toward a higher number of deaths than births.

But the dynamics of Boulder County’s economy are strong, outperforming state and national economies in job growth and educational attainment.

Boulder County, though, has well-supported economic vitality, fueled by high concentrations of companies and employment in aerospace, biotechnology, cleantech, and information, according to Wobbekind.

The area’s high quality of life and business, and cultural and outdoor attractions appeal to a highly educated workforce and visionary entrepreneurs.

Incomes are above average. The median household income for Boulder County residents was $74,615 in 2016 compared to $65,685 for Colorado residents, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

But Garner cautions that Colorado’s housing affordability is a big concern. The disparity between median home value and median income is the second-highest in the U.S., which fuels the labor shortage and decreases the ability for young families to live here.

For more information, see Boulder Economic Forecast presentations at:

http://bouldereconomiccouncil.org/bec_publications/2018-economic-forecast-presentations/

See Leeds School of Business, CU-Boulder’s Economic report at: https://www.colorado.edu/business/sites/default/files/attached-files/2018_colorado_business_economic_outlook.pdf

 

 
Posted on February 2, 2018 at 10:51 am
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Five Reasons to Sell Your Home Early in 2018

If you’re planning to sell your home this year, timing can make a big difference in your home’s final selling price.

Even though statistics show Boulder County’s real estate market remains among the hottest in the country, Realtor.com reports that your “window of opportunity may be rapidly narrowing.”

“We’ve seen two or three years of what could be considered unsustainable levels of price appreciation,” says Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com®.

The key word there is “unsustainable.” Changes on the near horizon suggest you should get going and be among the first to sell your home in 2018. Here are the top five reasons:

1. Interest rates remain historically low

While interest rates have already increased from the recent lows, today’s 30-year mortgage rates at just above 4 percent still draw buyers into the market.

But experts predict rates will rise to a less enticing five percent before the end of the year. With rate hikes expected to continue, you should list your home earlier in the year. You will not only sell your home more quickly, if you’re buying another home, you’ll benefit from the lower rates.

2. Inventory is tight and demand high

In the red-hot housing market of Boulder County, buyers far outnumber available homes for sale. Tight inventory is a trend that extends across the nation. And the housing shortage will likely get worse before it gets better: Realtor.com predicts inventory will see a decline of 4 percent year-over-year by March.

Inventory shortages result in quick sales, bidding wars, and pro-seller terms. This can be especially true in areas like Boulder County, where a prolonged shortage has persisted for years.

Cash buyers are also a factor, making up 22 percent of all home sales nationwide in November 2017, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

3. Home prices are still increasing

While home price increases in the Boulder area have moderated recently, prices are still rising. But with interest rates increasing, slowing price appreciation is expected to continue. By listing your home sooner rather than later, you’ll avoid the cooling trend.

4. Buyers are better off financially

“Incomes are growing and people are finding better and more stable jobs,” Vivas says. High consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges make buyers feel good about their financial outlook.

In fact, the Fed projects an unemployment rate of below 4 percent for the first time since the 1960s, reports Realtor.com.

All of this fuels home sales, which grew 5.6 percent nationally in November 2017, reaching its strongest pace in nearly 11 years.

5. Millennials want to buy

More and more millennials are entering their 30s, a time in which taking the homeownership plunge becomes increasingly desirable. Realtor.com data suggest that this demographic group could account for 43 percent of home buyers taking out a mortgage in 2018, equating a 3 percent year-over-year increase.

In a complex real estate market, local real estate knowledge helps you time the sale of your home to your best advantage. So, if you’re considering selling, consult with a Realtor soon.

You can read more at https://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/reasons-to-sell-your-home-in-2018/

 

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, January 26th, 2018 at 11:15am.
Posted on January 30, 2018 at 8:45 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gifts that make a world of difference

BOULDER –  There’s nothing like the magic of holidays and Share-A-Gift is dedicated to bringing that magic to every family in Boulder County.

Now in its 46th year, the good work and long legacy of Share-A-Gift is as strong as ever as businesses, citizens, and volunteers donate toys, money, and time to make the holidays happy for every family in our community.

Armed with the generosity of Boulder County and hard-working elves, a.k.a, volunteers, Share-A-Gift collects and distributes donated bikes, toys, books and clothing to cheer more than 650 families and 1,800 children who live in the Boulder Valley School District. Donations not distributed through Share-A-Gift this year will be given to other charities serving additional families and children in Colorado.

Through this extended charity, nearly 2,000 children in total received gifts from Share-A-Gift this year.

“Share-a-Gift is a wonderful example of how the people in our community support each other,” says Todd Gullette, a past-president and current board member of Share-A-Gift, and managing broker at RE/MAX of Boulder.

He’s referring to the regular folks, professionals, the city of Boulder police department, schools, clubs, and organizations who come together to bring the magic of Christmas to those who might otherwise be overlooked.

RE/MAX of Boulder lobby filled with presents generously donated by Realtors, clients, staff, and friends.

RE/MAX of Boulder is a proud supporter of Share-A-Gift. Each year, RE/MAX of Boulder encourages donations of presents for Share-A-Gift in its lobby. These gifts are generously donated by RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors, staff, clients, and friends. Among those are Realtor Patrick Dolan and his team. RE/MAX of Boulder volunteers who also help coordinate the organization’s logistics, transport donations, and work at the Share-A-Gift Toy Shoppe include Managing Broker Todd Gullette, Realtor Mary Arnold Grow, Realtor Lisa Wade, Boulder Property Network Team members including Debbie Duggan, Kelsey Jensen, and staff member Stephanie Wickstrom.

To add to the bounty, 100 Women Who Care members donated $10,000 to Share-A-Gift this year. RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors Kimberly Fels, Linda Nehls, and Lisa Wade belong to this local group of inspiring women, which raise funds for Boulder nonprofits.

Todd Gullette says, “We are so thankful to have the involvement of our community as we support families that truly need our help. Among our many partners and contributors this year, we have been very excited that the wonderful folks at the Can’d Aid Foundation supported us, and we partnered with Boulder’s Bridge House to spread some great cheer to their organization. There will be many happy families this year.”

For more information visit shareagift.org or 100womenwhocare.net.

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018 at 9:44am.

Published in the Daily Camera’s At Home section on December 29, 2017

Posted on January 18, 2018 at 9:41 am
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,