Boulder County Home Sales Spring Ahead

March home sales signaled a robust and active home buying season ahead for Boulder County.

“The Boulder-area market rocketed forward in March with strong sales that improved significantly,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

Following modest positive movement in February, housing surged forward in March, according to March sales statistics. Boulder Valley buyers showed up strong, undeterred by a market pattern of low inventory and rising prices. This pattern has characterized the countywide housing market for several years running.

Single-family home sales in the Boulder-area jumped 43.3 percent in March compared to February 2018 – 344 units sold vs. 240. Condominium and townhome sales also rose, marking 28.4 percent growth month-over-month with 122 units sold vs. 95.

Year-to-date, single-family home sales increased 8.7 percent through March 2018, with 829 Boulder-area homes sold vs. 763. Sales of condominiums and townhomes increased 1.6 percent year-to-date with 312 units sold compared to 307 for the same period in 2017.

Inventory also improved, though modestly. The number of single-family homes for sale grew by 10 percent – 651 units compared to 592 – while townhome and condo inventory grew 5.3 percent – 140 units vs. 133 – month-over-month.

“The inventory level is about a two-month supply of single-family homes and a one-month supply of condominiums and townhomes. A healthy market is thought of as a five- to six-month inventory supply,” says Hotard.

Nationally 40 percent of housing sales occur during March, April, May and June.

Hotard says the consistent buying activity we see in our housing market speaks volumes for the desirability of the area and health of the market.

“It’s a strong, positive market for sellers. We need a significant amount of new product in the market to meet the demand, particularly the demand for housing suited for young people and a broad demographic of ages and incomes.”

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 at 11:31am.

Posted on April 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm
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The one statistic every renter needs to see

By Jay Kalinski — 

That’s right, based on the latest available data from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, the average net worth of a homeowner is $231,000, a whopping 44 times greater than the average renter’s $5,200 net worth.  What makes the situation more dire is the fact that the gap is widening.  From 2013 to 2016, the average net worth of homeowners increased 15 percent while the average net worth of renters decreased by 5 percent. The situation for renters is bad and getting worse.

More than any other factor I could identify, homeownership best explains the gap between the haves and have nots. People seem to understand this fact, as a Gallup poll showed that Americans chose real estate as the best long-term investment for the fourth year in a row. So, why aren’t more renters buying homes?

Desire?

It could be that renters do not want to own homes. Anecdotally, we hear stories about how Millennials prefer to rent to give them a more flexible lifestyle, but the research tells a different story. In fact, Millennials represent the largest share of homebuyers today and only 7 percent of respondents to an NAR survey said that they did not want the responsibility of owning. More generally, 82 percent of renters expressed a desire in the fourth quarter of 2017 to be homeowners and about the same percentage said that homeownership is part of the American Dream.

What is driving this desire for renters to become owners? According to a recent survey, the main reasons renters would want to buy a home are: a change in lifestyle such as getting married, starting a family or retiring; an improved financial situation; and a desire to settle down in one location.

Renters seem to know that owning a home is a great investment, and they overwhelmingly express a desire to do so, and yet something is preventing many of them:

Ability

Based on a recent NAR survey, it appears that ability (perceived or actual) is the biggest obstacle to homeownership. In fact, 66 percent of renters reported that it would be somewhat or very difficult to save for a downpayment on a home. Only 16 percent said that it would not be difficult at all. Of those who said saving for a downpayment was difficult, 49 percent identified student loans, 42 percent cited credit card debt, and 37 percent cited car loans.

The above, however, only focuses on one aspect of home affordability. Another side is home price appreciation.  That is, if homes were more affordable, it would be easier to save for a downpayment.  Unfortunately for local renters, Boulder County has appreciated more since 1991 than any other area in the country — more than 380 percent! The average single family Boulder County home topped $708,000 in February 2018, which is almost 20 percent higher than two years ago.

In addition, interest rates are on the rise in 2018, and we’ve already covered how a 1 percent increase in interest rates can reduce your purchasing power by 10 percent.

Takeaways

There are two takeaways from this. First, for renters, you may be familiar with the adage “The best time to buy a home was 30 years ago. The second best time is now.” That is true now more than ever. If you have been considering making the jump to homeownership, now is the time. At this point, each day delayed likely equals less home for the money.

Second, for local government officials, if you truly support the idea of affordable (market rate) workforce housing, you have the power to encourage it. Without you, the affordability situation will only continue to deteriorate.

Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.

Posted on April 10, 2018 at 7:51 pm
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Colorado Among Top 10 Predicted to Have Strong Housing Market

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 at 4:22pm.

Ranked the No. 7 strongest housing market in the U.S., real estate sales in Colorado will remain robust in 2018, according to analysis by credit.com.

The predicted increase is around 3.1 percent. Colorado Springs is emerging as the top city for growth and median home prices are predicted to rise 5.7 percent through 2018.

Colorado’s home prices saw the sharpest increase in the U.S. over the past two years, reports credit.com. That’s quite a mark, given that 2016 existing home sales nationwide were the strongest they’ve been in a decade, following the worst housing crisis in U.S. history. In 2018, the nation’s housing market’s strength is expected to continue with U.S. home prices expected to rise 4.6 percent.

Here are 10 states that are predicted to be among the top performers in 2018:

  1.       Nevada

Median home values in Las Vegas are expected to rise approximately 5.8 percent over the next 12 months. The median home price is approximately $285,045.

  1.       Texas

Lower taxes and a lower cost of living continue to lure profitable companies to relocate, expand or launch businesses inTexas. As a result, housing has boomed in Dallas and many other areas. In 2018, home sales are expected to gown 6 percent. The median home price in North Texas is $339,950.

  1.       Florida

Florida cities Deltona and Lakeland lead Florida’s strong housing market. With the appeal of ocean-side living, warm weather, and the ability to live an active lifestyle, Florida’s most popular areas are expected to see a more than 5% boost. The median home price in Deltona is $275,050.

  1.       California

Stockton – one of California’s fastest-growing cities – is predicted to grow its housing market by 4.6 percent. With a median home price of $385,050, Stockton is far more affordable than the state’s most desirable areas. For example, the median price of a home in San Francisco has increased $100,000 in the past year.

  1.       Utah

The Provo/Orem region was recently ranked as the best-performing city by the Miliken Institute, due to a robust high-tech sector and broad-based job and wage growth. Salt Lake City’s median home price averages $360,000, and housing sales are predicted to grow 3.2 percent in 2018.

  1.       North Carolina

People are moving into North Carolina from other states, driving a strong housing market with home sales predicted to grow 6 percent in 2018. The median home price averages $325,000.

  1.       Colorado

With the several year surge in housing prices, affordability is a growing issue in the Mile High City. Even so, the market is predicted to remain strong, leveling out a bit in 2018 to around 3.1 percent. Colorado Springs tops the cities for growth and the median home price there is slated to rise 5.7 percent this year.

Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia round out the list of the top 10 strongest housing markets in the U.S. for 2018, says Credit.Com. Nashville, Oklahoma City and Atlanta all bring the secret sauce that bolster home values. Median prices are $385,000; $99,000; and $218,350, respectively.

Read the full article at https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/10-states-predicted-strong-housing-markets-2018

Posted on March 6, 2018 at 7:29 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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
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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.

_________________________

Posted on February 5, 2018 at 8:46 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: BizWest, RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,