Front page cover article in Daily Camera’s At Home section, published on July 27, 2017
By Darren Thornberry
Photos by Timothy Seibert
RE/MAX of Boulder is celebrating 41 years of Boulder County real estate by embracing its community. With more than 100 Realtors who live, work, and raise their kids here and average 15 years of experience, RE/MAX of Boulder agents and staff know their neighbors and their communities. Since 1977, the company has helped 50,000 families with the biggest investment of their lives and has even worked with multiple generations of families in Boulder County. RE/MAX of Boulder is proud of and grateful for every one of those opportunities, so it’s not surprising that they are sending a huge thank you to the community by sponsoring two summer concert series that are free to the public: Bands on the Bricks in Downtown Boulder and the Louisville Downtown Street Faire. Thousands of visitors enjoy both of these events that also help support local businesses located in downtown Boulder and downtown Louisville, showcasing the areas as thriving city hubs.
“We are so proud and fortunate to be a part of this community,” says RE/MAX of Boulder Managing Broker Todd Gullette. “In 1977, our office was the third RE/MAX office in the world to open its doors. Back then, virtually no one had heard of the RE/MAX brand. We were a mom and pop shop with big roots to the area. In our hearts, we are still that same small business with a great deal of appreciation for the everyone who lives in Boulder County. We believe this philosophy is what has helped us serve the community so well.”
Bands on the Bricks is well known as Boulder County’s best summer concert series with 10 weeks of fantastic free concerts, and RE/MAX of Boulder is proud to be this year’s presenting sponsor.
Bands on the Bricks is well known as Boulder County’s best summer concert series with 10 weeks of fantastic free concerts, and RE/MAX of Boulder is once again sponsoring the event. Wednesdays from June 6 to Aug. 22, on the well-trodden bricks of Pearl Street, the outdoor beer, wine and margarita garden opens at 5:30 p.m. with opening acts at 6 p.m. and the headliners at 7 p.m. This summer’s talent has been amazing, and there are still three concerts left: Aug. 1 with opening act Lauren Joy and headliner The Country Music Project, Aug. 8 with opening act Hunter Stone and headliner That Eighties Band and Aug. 22 with band to be announced. So head down to Bands on the Bricks and dance the night away!
Anna Salim, VP Events & Membership, Downtown Boulder Partnership, says, “Bands on the Bricks brings the Boulder community together each week during the summer. Locals and visitors of all ages have the chance to enjoy our beautiful downtown – the vibe is happy and inviting and that’s what the world needs more of right now. We couldn’t bring in the talented musicians and produce Bands on the Bricks without RE/MAX of Boulder, who has been an amazing presenting sponsor over the last several years. Their commitment to the downtown community and Boulder is strong and we are very grateful for their support!”
As presenting sponsor for the past six years, RE/MAX of Boulder has also invited nonprofit organizations to set up booths at Band on the Bricks. Owner and Founder Tom Kalinski notes, “We have outstanding nonprofit partners that are making a crucial difference in the lives of residents who are struggling in Boulder County. It’s important that we help support these organizations to maximize their impact.”
Susan Finesilver from Community Food Share says, “Thanks to RE/MAX of Boulder for the booth at Bands on the Bricks. We appreciated being there, and we had some great conversations with new and old friends, donors, and volunteers. We appreciate RE/MAX of Boulder’s generous support of the community!”
And Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation’s Kacie Thomas says, “RE/MAX of Boulder has been an amazing advocate for Children’s Miracle Network and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Not only have they ranked “Miracle” status by fundraising in their office and through their agents, they have also gone above and beyond by donating a booth to Children’s Hospital Colorado at their annual Bands on the Bricks event. They have even reached out to other national Children’s Miracle Network partners to share the booth because they truly understand that the fundraising is going to a greater cause helping the kids at Children’s Hospital Colorado.”
RE/MAX of Boulder is also sponsoring the Louisville Downtown Street Faire with phenomenal live music, local vendors, and children’s activities.
East Boulder County has its own incredible summer concert series, too, in the Louisville Downtown Street Faire. Over eight Friday evenings from June 8 to Aug. 10, downtown Louisville becomes the hottest concert destination around. As the Louisville marketing folks put it, “Babies don’t cry, dogs don’t bark, and wise elders feel nineteen again” with the crowds dancing and enjoying phenomenal live music.
The Street Faire is held at the Steinbaugh Pavilion, 824 Front Street. It runs from 5 to 9:30 p.m. with music from 6:30 to 9(ish) – rain or shine. Happy Hour drink prices are in effect from 5 to 6 p.m. Expect incredible local food, cold drinks, lots of children’s activities, quality arts and crafts, local vendors, and, because of sponsors like RE/MAX of Boulder, it’s free to the public. Tonight, go downtown to catch The Young Dubliners and on Aug. 10, take in one last summer groove with Lee Fields & The Expressions.
RE/MAX of Boulder has a booth at the Street Faire, where their Realtors get a chance to chat with families and attendees.
RE/MAX of Boulder’s Realtors Andrea Farinacci (left) and Shelley Chittivej (right) with staff member Christopher Thompson (middle) chatting with families and attendees at the booth.
In addition, the company has created a dedicated website to help keep local residents informed about our community and ongoing philanthropic opportunities. Bouldersource.com is RE/MAX of Boulder’s online community hub for news and events showcasing behind-the-scenes stories about Boulder’s people, nonprofits and businesses. RE/MAX of Boulder also keeps the community updated about the latest market statistics and hot topics in real estate news on boulderco.com and on RE/MAX of Boulder’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
Over the years, RE/MAX of Boulder has been the recipient of many people’s choice awards across Boulder County. This year, RE/MAX of Boulder was voted by the community as Best Real Estate Group in the Boulder Weekly and Best Real Estate Company in the Colorado Daily.
RE/MAX of Boulder Broker/Owner Jay Kalinski says, “The community in Boulder County has been so amazing and supportive. Our heartfelt thanks for your confidence and trust in us.”
A RE/MAX of Boulder Realtor would be thrilled to talk with you about your real estate needs or any questions you have about our communities in Boulder County. Simply call 303.449.7000, drop by their two convenient Boulder locations at 2425 Canyon Blvd. or 1320 Pearl St., or go online to boulderco.com.
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
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/
Spring selling season in Boulder County continues to soar with April’s residential sales keeping pace with last month’s rocketing sales as well as outperforming April last year.
“Demand remains strong and inventory tight, keeping upward pressure on pricing,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
The 345 single-family homes that sold in April 2018 topped March’s rising sales by one unit or .3 percent; and the 126 condominiums and townhomes sold in April represented an additional 4 sold or 3.3 percent over last month.
Year-over-year Boulder-area single-family home sales climbed 5.4 percent through April 2018 – 1,198 homes sold vs. 1,137 – and condo/townhomes sales increased 5.9 percent with 447 units sold compared to 422.
Inventory also grew, which has proven to be a key factor in maintaining sales.
“While inventory showed solid increases in both single-family and condo/townhomes, we could use three-to-four times that amount to meet demand,” says Hotard.
Countywide single-family inventory increased 18.2 percent in April over March with 770 homes for sale vs. 651. Condo/townhome inventory improved 16.4 percent over the same period – 163 units vs. 140.
Hotard says evidence shows prices may have not yet reached a peak. “This is the first time I recall median prices over $1 million. It’s clear that with the city of Boulder built out on single-family housing stock, it’s putting pressure on prices.”
He notes that many dynamics shape the market. “Clearly affordability is a big issue – it influences who can live here, whether purchasing or renting. As more people can’t afford to live here, it’s a big loss because we are losing high quality people and the marketplace is becoming more exclusionary.”
Noting that buyers are coming from many places including California, Chicago, Texas and Nebraska, Hotard says people look to Colorado because of the entrepreneurial spirit and low unemployment.
Hotard summarizes, “As Boulder is to Colorado, Colorado is to the rest of the country.”
As home values continue to rise in Colorado, it’s clear that home sellers are benefitting, with four state metro’s making the top 15 of 24/7 Wall St.’s list of cities where people made the most money on home sales.
Boulder ranked No. 8 on the list with Denver, Fort Collins, and Greeley coming in seventh, eleventh and fifteenth, respectively.
According to 24/7 Wall St., Boulder’s average home price gain since last purchase is 56.4 percent or $176,750, compared with Denver’s slightly higher 56.6 percent which translates to $133,700; Fort Collins’ gain of 54.6 percent or $121,850 and Greeley’s 52.6 percent or $107,748.
Top-ranked California metro San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara had an average home price gain of 77 percent or$415,500.
Metro areas like Denver, Nashville, and Austin are “historically steady-Eddie appreciation markets in middle America that have transformed into boomtowns during this particular up economic cycle,” Senior Vice President of Attom Data Solutions Daren Blomquist tells 24/7 Wall St.
The top five and half of the top 20 metro areas with largest home sales gain are West Coast markets, which Blomquist notes were “the last to get hit by the housing crisis and the first to recover.”
Here’s a look at the full data on Colorado cities, as reported by 24/7 Wall St.:
No. 7 – Denver-Aurora-Lakewood
Average home price gain since last purchase: +56.6% (+$133,700)
Average home sale (2017): $453,012
Best historical time to sell: 2017 (+56.6% price chg. since last purchase)
Worst historical time to sell: 2011 (-3.6% price chg. since last purchase)
Average outstanding home loan: $316,904
Median household income: $71,926
No. 8 – Boulder
Average home price gain since last purchase: +56.4% (+$176,750)
Average home sale (2017): $645,424
Best historical time to sell: 2000 (+72.6% price chg. since last purchase)
Worst historical time to sell: 2003 (-0.4% price chg. since last purchase)
Average outstanding home loan: $377,262
Median household income: $74,615
No. 11 – Fort Collins
Average home price gain since last purchase: +54.6% (+$121,850)
Average home sale (2017): $530,051
Best historical time to sell: 2017 (+54.6% price chg. since last purchase)
Worst historical time to sell: 2010 (4.9% price chg. since last purchase)
Average outstanding home loan: $281,579
Median household income: $66,469
No. 15 – Greeley
Average home price gain since last purchase: +52.6% (+$107,748)
Average home sale (2017): $327,100
Best historical time to sell: 2000 (+239.7% price chg. since last purchase)
Worst historical time to sell: 2011 (-6.0% price chg. since last purchase)
Average outstanding home loan: $334,061
Median household income: $63,400
To identify the cities where people make the most on home sales, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed home price gains in metropolitan statistical areas of 200,000 people or more provided by Attom Data Solutions. The real estate data clearing house considered the 150 large MSAs with at least 18 years of home sales and price data. Attom determined for each year the median sales price of all single family homes and condos that sold that year and subtracted it from the median sales price of those same properties the last time they sold. To calculate the percentage gain, the median dollar gain was calculated as a percent of the previous median purchase price.
For the full report visit https://247wallst.com/special-report/2018/03/02/cities-where-people-make-the-most-on-home-sales
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
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
Early in 2018 the real estate outlook for Boulder County looks strong, even while sailing into the same headwinds that prevailed last year: low inventory and rising prices.
But this year promises additional gusts in the form of rising interest rates.
“None of the fundamentals in the market have changed, except a small rise in interest rates and the anticipation of additional increases,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
“January data shows year over year single-family home sales are about the same as last year, and condos and townhomes are up significantly.”
Single-family home sales for Boulder County are down a single unit or .05 percent with 220 units sold in January 2018 compared with 221 in January 2017. Month-over-month, January sales dropped 39 percent for the first month of 2018 compared to December’s 363 units sold.
In condominium/townhomes, 88 units sold in January 2018, a 44.3 percent improvement compared with 61 units sold a year ago, but a 26.7 percent drop compared with the 120 units sold in December.
“December finished strong and the totals for 2017 pushed over and above 2016 slightly, which makes having a strong January challenging,” says Hotard.
Inventory continued its persistent decline. Single-family homes for sale in the Boulder-area declined 1.3 percent in January 2018 compared to December 2017 – 550 units vs. 557.
Meanwhile, condominium and townhome inventory improved 8.3 percent in January compared to December – 130 units versus 120.
Hotard notes that rising mortgage rates is a new factor for real estate markets that have seen a long run of low interest rates. He says the question is whether rising rates, while still historically low, will have a dampening effect on pricing or sales.
“Affordability is already an issue in Boulder, Louisville and Niwot. If interest rates go up people may have greater difficulty affording higher priced homes,” he adds. For 2017, Boulder’s median sales price came in over $800,000, Niwot’s roughly $750,000 and Louisville’s nearing $575,000.
With minimal data to consider this early in the year, Hotard is reluctant to predict this year’s market.
“For now, the data is over a small number of sales, so it’s difficult to identify trends. But this market has been strong for years and it is likely to continue to be strong.”
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.