With Boulder’s walking, biking and hiking trails, it’s no surprise the city made the SmartAsset top 10 list of places for physical fitness.
But here’s what is surprising: as fitness and healthy-eating oriented as Boulder’s culture is, the city ranked only No. 10 on SmartAsset’s fourth annual study of the most fitness-friendly places in America.
According to the study, nine other cities are more fitness-friendly than this biking-hiking-running-skiing-walking-climbing loving town.
SmartAsset describes fitness-friendly cities as those that tend to be walkable, offer few fast food eateries and plenty of healthier eating restaurants, and present plenty of places to workout in. Having ample workout facilities overcomes crowded or far away gyms that can deter people from exercising regularly.
Boulder scores in the top 15 for the percent of residents who walk or bike to work and the number of fitness professionals per 10,000 residents. In fact, Boulder has a top 25 score in the number of fitness businesses. However, the cost of getting fitness help from a professional lowered Boulder’s overall score. The city ranks 337 out of 340 for the affordability of professional fitness help.
In No.1-ranked Missoula, Montana, residents walk or bike to work at a rate of around one in 11. The city’s transportation design makes walking or biking not only possible, but enjoyable.
With two Iowa cities in the top 10 – No. 3 Iowa City and No. 9 Ames – it’s clear that Iowans are doing a lot right when it comes to fitness. Around 11 percent of Iowa City residents walk or bike to work – the fifth-highest rate in the study, according to SmartAsset.
The top 10 cities are:
- Missoula, Montana
- La Crosse-Onalaska, Wisconsin-Minnesota
- Iowa City, Iowa
- Ocean City, New Jersey
- Bend-Redmond, Oregon
- Napa, California
- State College, Pennsylvania
- Harrisonburg, Virginia
- Ames, Iowa
- Boulder, Colorado
Data for 340 metros was analyzed by SmartAsset to determine America’s most fitness-friendly cities. Metrics include the percent of those who walk or bike to work, number of fitness jobs, cost of hiring a personal fitness instructor, number of fitness establishments and prevalence of fast food restaurants. The final factor – fast food eateries – is calculated as a negative.
Get all the details on each city at https://smartasset.com/mortgage/fitness-friendly-places-2018
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, April 20th, 2018 at 10:40am.
The real estate market in Boulder County is red hot, which makes maintaining your mortgage approval a must if you’re shopping for a home.
“It can be a lot of work to get your mortgage approved. Once it is approved, it is important not to make any major financial changes until you sign your final disclosure and the loan is closed,” says Jessica Shanahan, loan officer with Premier Lending.
To keep your mortgage approval, you need to know the financial moves not to make.
Your mortgage approval is primarily based on documenting your income and assets, your equity stake or down payment, your credit history and the cash you’ll have left over after the deal is done, according to Tuttle’s Real Estate Update.
After your mortgage is approved, don’t change any one of those qualifiers without first consulting your loan officer or you could lose your mortgage.
Here’s Real Estate Update’s list of what not to do:
Avoid Big Purchases
Don’t buy a new car or another large possession, or change the lease on your current car. It could show up on your credit report or bank statement. The new loan or purchase amount could tilt the debt-to-income ratio the lender used to approve your home loan, and your mortgage could vaporize.
Don’t Get New Credit
Don’t sign up for any new credit cards or other lines of credit, even for a zero interest rate. Resist all of those credit card offers that flow in after you get your mortgage approval.
Don’t Miss a Bill Payment or Pay Late
Pay your bills on time without fail, even if you dispute the charge. If you stop paying a bill, it can end up on your credit report and cause a problem with your mortgage.
Don’t Change Jobs
Now isn’t the time to start a new job or lose the job you have. It is okay to take a second job, as long as you keep the job you have. However, if you should be so fortunate as to get a promotion and raise, your mortgage shouldn’t be jeopardized.
Don’t Spend Your Cash
Don’t use your cash reserves, transfer large sums between bank accounts, or make undocumented transactions in your back account – either deposits or withdrawals. This activity can cause your mortgage approval to be reversed.
Just remember to control items that affect your financial picture, and barring any uncontrollable life events, your mortgage should be fine.
For more information see: https://bit.ly/2JzU2lx
Labor statistics are officially confirming what we all know – Colorado’s population is on the rise, with newcomers lured by a strong job market.
By the end of 2017, Colorado had a record year with its fastest rate of growth in almost 20 years, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Statistics.
Coloradans participating in the labor force increased 141,700 for the year, adding 5,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from November to December for a total of 2,671,500 jobs.
The increase was noticeable compared to the previous month when employers added 1,800 jobs. In fact, November’s gain was higher than the state’s 12-month average gain of 3,817 jobs, and higher than the previous four months average gain of 4,800, according to CDLE data.
By sector, most of November’s added jobs are private sector payroll jobs, which increased 4,300 and government increased 800. Average hourly earnings also rose, going from $26.93 to $28.09.
Even so, the state’s unemployment rate increased two-tenths of a percentage point from November to December to 3.1 percent. The rise in the unemployment rate correlated with an increase in the number of people actively participating in the labor force, which grew 14,800 over the month.
Colorado’s unemployment rate is still lower than the nation’s December rate of 4.1 percent, which declined from 4.7 percent from December 2016 to December 2017.
The biggest private sector job gains in November 2017 were in construction and education and health services, while over the course of the year, the largest private sector job gains were in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and construction.
The jobs added resulted in a 2 percent job growth rate, with Colorado outpacing the U.S. growth rate of 1.4 percent, as it has for the past seven years.
Colorado Department of Labor measures the unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and the number of unemployed is based on a survey of households. The total employment estimate derived from this survey is intended to measure the number of people employed.
All Colorado estimates from the establishment and household surveys, including greater geographic detail, are available at: http://www.colmigateway.com.
Estimates for all states and the nation are available at: http://www.bls.gov
Boulder is readying to change the paradigm of transportation mobility as a result of being named one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge. The competition is based on city leaders proposing bold solutions to each city’s toughest problems.
Three Colorado cities – Boulder, Denver and Fort Collins – were selected from a pool of more than 320 applicants. Selected cities now begin a six-month testing phase supported by a grant award of up to $100,000 for each to conduct a public prototype.
In Boulder’s application, the city proposed to combat climate change through accessible and affordable transportation alternatives for low- and middle-income residents. City officials will conduct experiments on mobility options – including ridesharing, subsidies, and an electric car loan program – to determine the most effective way to improve low-income residents’ mobility.
Currently, more than half of Boulder’s low- and middle-income residents depend on fossil-fuel, single-occupancy vehicles.
Denver will use cutting-edge air pollution sensors to create a city-wide air quality monitoring program at public school buildings to make better informed decisions on policies. The city aims to address the negative economic and health impact of air pollution. Denver families spend an average $3,100 a year on asthma-related medical costs.
Fort Collins will make more energy efficient rental housing for low and middle-income households to reduce health and economic disparities. Nearly 50,000 Fort Collins households are energy-inefficient.
“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.
During the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition, Boulder and the other Champion Cities will refine their ideas, and then submit new applications in August. In October, five selected cities will be awarded funding to put their ideas into action – four will receive $1 million and one will receive $5 million.
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million.
For more information and a list of all 35 Champion Cities, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 19th, 2018 at 9:37am.
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 23rd, 2018 at 1:44pm.
If you live in Boulder and laugh a lot, pat yourself on the back. You – and 100,000 of your neighbors – put Boulder on the happiness chart.
Fact is, Boulder is the happiest city in America, based on the Gallup-Sharecare Well Being Index.
Using their experience studying the world’s most thriving populations, National Geographic bestselling author Dan Buettner and Gallup’s social scientists developed an index to assess happiness and identify where Americans are living their happiest lives.
Boulder and two other Colorado cities fare well in that assessment, with Boulder at No. 1, Fort Collins No. 4, and Colorado Springs No. 18.
In a recent National Geographic story and newly-published The Blue Zones of Happiness, Buettner explained the environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to the overall happiness.
“If you want to get happy, don’t try and change your belief system. Change your environment,” says Buettner.
According to Buettner, happiness is greatest when living in cities that excel in 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthy food options. In happier places, residents smile and laugh often, socialize daily, spend time in green spaces, and feel they are progressing toward achieving life goals.
Boulder aces all of these categories. As a result, Boulderites overwhelmingly feel “active and productive every day.”
For those of us who live here, we know why Boulder makes us so happy. Here are the factors described in the 25 Happiest Cities report:
Walkability, bike-ability and access to nature
Located in at the base of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder abounds in beautiful vistas, frequent sunshine, and an excellent climate. The combination lures residents to spend lots of time outdoors, enjoying hiking and biking on 300 miles of trails.
In fact, more people walk to work in Boulder than in any other city in the U.S. And the study found a high correlation between the bike-ability of a city and residents’ happiness levels.
Low rates of smoking and obesity, and high rates of exercise also contribute to happiness.
Sense of community
Boulder residents actively engage in community, whether it’s socializing a couple of hours every day or fighting to maintain the characteristics that make Boulder a ‘happy place’ and a highly desirable place to live.
But, even with all of that happiness, Boulder residents reported higher stress levels than the national average, with 49 percent saying they felt stress.
The National Geographic Gallup Special/Blue Zones Index draws on nearly 250,000 interviews conducted with adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas across the U.S.
The top 10 cities are:
1. Boulder, CO
2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA
3. Charlottesville, VA
4. Fort Collins, CO
5. San Luis Obispo, CA
6. San Jose, CA
7. Provo, UT
8. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
9. Barnstable Town, MA
10. Anchorage, AK
For the full story and list of all 25 cities, visit https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destinations/north-america/united-states/happiest-cities-united-states-2017/
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.
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:
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