Boulder Economic Summit 2018: Skilled Workers Essential to Boulder’s Future, Housing a Key Issue

Boulder County excels at attracting talented and skilled workers. But change is in the air, says futurist Josh Davies, CEO at The Center for Work Ethic Development and keynote speaker at the recent Boulder Economic Summit 2018: The Workforce of the Future.

Statistics presented by futurist Davies suggest that if the last decade rocked with rapid change on the job-front, hang on to your Smartphone – the future promises to be a rocket-ride.

And, the future starts now.

Today, Boulder County employers are going head-to-head with the rest of the world. Local businesses compete globally for highly skilled workers integral to business success, yet these workers are too few in number to fill the demand. If corrective steps aren’t taken, the worker shortage will continue and potentially worsen, predict speakers at the Summit.  Success is critical, since Boulder County’s thriving economy, vitality and quality of life depends on local businesses continuing to engage world-class, highly skilled people.

Hosted by the Boulder Economic Council (BEC) and the Boulder Chamber at CU-Boulder, the Boulder Economic Summit brought experts and hundreds of community leaders together to evaluate Boulder’s competitiveness in the global demand for talent. In breakout sessions and roundtable discussions, the group explored how education and workforce development must evolve to keep up with the impacts of automation, immigration, globalization and other forces affecting future jobs.

There Will Be Robots. Lots of Robots.

People, get ready. Futurist Davies says the robots are coming and in more ways than ever expected.

The growth will be explosive: 1.7 new industrial robots will be in use by 2020, with robots performing tasks in homes and offices – not just in manufacturing, says Davies.

In his talk, 2030: The Workplace Revolution, Davies highlighted how technology will change our jobs in the coming decade and the pressing need for skill development and preparation.

With advances in technology and creative disruption in industries, employment has shifted, explains Davies, adding that 85 percent of jobs in 2030 haven’t been created yet. By then, computers will function at the speed of the human brain. He warns that increased automation and artificial intelligence will significantly alter employment needs and businesses should be prepared.

Low-skilled and entry-level and other jobs that perform repetitive tasks will no longer be available to human workers – computers and robots will fill that need. While companies do not like to replace people with robots, if robots cost 15-20 percent less, humans will lose out.

Davies predicts retail jobs will be replaced by robots at a very high rate, even though it is the leading profession in most states. Sixteen million retail workers will need to be retrained for new jobs.

His strategies for the future are to recognize that whether tasks are cognitive or non-cognitive, repetitive tasks can be automated. To succeed, workers need to develop non-cognitive skills: problem-solving, critical thinking and empathy.

Acquiring New Skills Critical to Success

Andi Rugg, executive director of Skillful Colorado, says one-third of the American workforce will need new skills to find work by 2030.

In her talk, Understanding the Skills Gap, Rugg emphasizes that training and retraining are the path to success, not only for the coming decade, but for today. There are 6.3 million unfilled jobs in the U.S. today because there’s currently not enough talent to bridge the gap between employer requirements and the workforce.

Rugg stresses that hiring needs to become skills-based, since we are in a skills-based economy. Her statistics are hard hitting:

  • Jobs requiring college degrees exceed the number of workers who have them.
  • Seventy percent of job ads for administrative assistants ask for a college degree, but only 20 percent of administrative assistants have a college degree.
  • Only 3 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree – demand for bachelor’s degree is outstripping supply of workers who have them.
  • Only 35 percent of Boulder County’s skilled workers have a degree and Colorado ranks No. 48in the nation for the number of people of color with a degree.
  • Employers need to be more agile in hiring and realize that skills can bridge the gap.
  • Employers need to focus on skills to address inequities in the labor market.
  • Employers should also offer upskilling and lifelong learning for employees.
  • Skills-matching improves employee retention and engagement as well as reduces the time to hire and ultimately reduces turnover costs for the employer.

Housing and Transportation Keys to the Solution

In a roundtable discussion led by RE/MAX of Boulder Broker/Owner Jay Kalinski, the team tackled one of Boulder County’s looming challenges in attracting workers to Boulder County – affordable housing and transportation options that enable commuting. The group developed possible solutions to ease transportation and affordable housing issues.

Photo caption for photo above: Jay Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder Broker/Owner (left} leads a roundtable discussion to develop transportation and affordable housing solutions.

Learn more about the discussion in Jay Kalinski’s article in BizWest, “Where will Boulder’s workforce of the future live?” at: https://bizwest.com/2018/06/01/where-will-boulders-workforce-of-the-future-live/?member=guest

Community Collaboration

In breakout sessions and the closing plenary, discussions revolved around ways the community can address workforce and economic development by bringing together private sector businesses and industry with educational institutions and organizations, government, and nonprofits in collaboration.

Through this joint effort, our community can prepare students with the workforce skills needed in the future that cannot be automated; develop business-relevant class content; roll out real-life technical projects in classrooms; re-train workers; and offer apprenticeships, internships, and work-based learning alongside education or as standalone, all of which can help workers gain skills.

Learn more by reading the Boulder Economic Council and Boulder Chamber’s recently published “Boulder Innovation Venture Report” at: https://bouldereconomiccouncil.org/whats_new_with_the_bec/boulder-innovation-venture-report/

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 at 11:25am.
Posted on June 21, 2018 at 5:38 pm
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Boulder Valley 2018 real estate predictions

Published in BizWest on December 6, 2017.

The Boulder Valley real estate market has undergone a shift in 2017.  While we began the year in a fairly strong seller’s market, it soon became apparent that the indicators we track were pointing to a shift toward a more balanced market. 

Making predictions is always a risky business, but here are my top three predictions for 2018 and what they will likely mean for people in the market.

1. Appreciation will continue (but at a slower pace).

While the Boulder area continues to top the country in total appreciation since 1991 (a whopping 371 percent), we have fallen out of the top 10 — to number 19 — nationally in terms of one-year appreciation (10.84 percent according to FHFA). Nevertheless, many structural factors point to increased upward pressure on home values (including low unemployment, strong net migration, and lack of lots to build upon).

For single family homes, Boulder County experienced 5 percent appreciation through the first three quarters of 2017. While this is solid, it pales when compared to the over 15 percent appreciation during the same period of 2016.

In 2018, I predict we will see about 5 percent overall appreciation in Boulder County, with individual cities varying substantially.  I predict that the highest appreciation rates will be in Longmont and Erie, and the slowest appreciation will be in the City of Boulder.

For attached homes (townhouses and condos), Boulder County experienced a meager 1.7 percent improvement through the third quarter of 2017. This number is somewhat misleading, as most areas were up by a higher percentage while the City of Boulder was actually down 3.7 percent.

For 2018, I predict that attached homes will appreciate by about 5 percent, with appreciation being higher in every locale except the City of Boulder. In Boulder, it is possible that we will see a continued decline in prices, especially if investment property owners who have not brought their units up to Smartregs compliance decide to sell rather than spend the money to them into compliance.

What this means: For buyers, now is a great time to buy, especially if you are in the market for a condo in the City of Boulder.  Waiting will cost you, but not as much as in previous years.  For homeowners, if you are considering selling, you have ridden a strong wave of appreciation over the last several years, and you will not likely see the same rate of appreciation by continuing to hold.

2. Inventory will increase in 2018.

Since 2011, the inventory of available homes on the market has generally gone down when compared to the preceding year. That trend finally broke in 2017, with available inventory of both single family and attached homes rising above 2016 numbers. Without getting too deeply into the weeds, a number of indicators that we use to track the market point to a continuation of this trend in 2018.  Some of the more telling indicators are (1) a falling sales price to list price ratio, (2) an increase in months of inventory, and (3) more expired listings (homes that did not sell on the market).

In the City of Boulder, on the single family side, I predict that inventory will see the biggest increase in the $1 million+ market as a gap has started to open between sellers’ opinions of their homes’ values and what buyers are willing to pay for them. On the attached side, we will likely see an increase as well, partly due to an influx of non-Smartreg-compliant units as well as condos at the Peloton being converted from apartments.

What this means: For buyers, you will finally have more homes to choose from in your search. For sellers, you will have to be much more careful when pricing your home to avoid being rejected by the market.

3. Interest rates will rise modestly.

For the past several years, numerous experts have predicted mortgage interest rate increases. And for as many years, the rate increases have been non-existent or far more modest than predicted, even after the Fed increased its Fed Funds Rate. Speaking of which, the Fed is expected to raise rates again this month as the economy shows continued signs of recovery. However, the number and size of interest rate increases in 2018 is far from certain because of a change in leadership of the Fed.

Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, predicts that rates will increase to 4.5 percent by the end of 2018, which is about 0.5 percent higher than current rates. This figure could be affected by tax reform, the country’s economic performance, and other political factors. Nevertheless, for planning purposes, an increase to 4.5 percent in 2018 is likely to be in the ballpark.

What this means: While appreciation rates and inventory are starting to move into buyers’ favor, there will be a cost to waiting to enter the market in terms of affordability.  That is, the longer you wait, the more you will likely pay for a home and the more interest you will likely pay for it.

Conclusion: Sellers have been the primary beneficiaries of the real estate market since the recovery of the Great Recession, but 2018 will finally see buyers in a stronger position.

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Posted on February 5, 2018 at 8:46 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: BizWest, 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
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