Kalinski: Boulder Valley real estate – Rear and forward view

The year 2019 was another very good year for residential real estate in the Boulder Valley, but unlike the previous five-plus years, it was marked by slowing appreciation, slightly rising inventory (finally), and longer average time on the market.

In Boulder County, median and average sales prices of single-family homes increased by a very modest 1 percent, while attached dwelling (condos and townhomes) appreciation was essentially flat.  In the city of Boulder, the average single-family home sales price increased a modest 2.6 percent to an immodest $1,246,250, while attached dwellings increased 2.4 percent to $538,360.

Single-family listing inventory in Boulder County reached a peak of 1,058 homes and attached dwellings topped out at 370 units on the market, both reaching their peak in June, and both above the peak inventory of the last several years.  To put this in perspective, however, the inventory of single-family homes in 2006 (just before the Great Recession) reached a peak of 2,763, more than two-and-one-half times the peak of 2019.  That is, we still have far less inventory available than we used to.

The average number of days homes stayed on the market before closing reached 61 days, an increase over last year by 5.2 percent for single-family homes and 15.1 percent for attached units.  The average months of inventory (the time it would take for all existing homes to sell if no additional homes came on the market) rose to 1.8 months, an increase of 6 percent for single-family homes and 28.6 percent for attached units.  By traditional standards, this would still qualify as a seller’s market (when months’ of inventory is in the 5-6 percent range, it is considered a balanced market, and we are still a long way from that).  Charts on top  show a snapshot of the Boulder County 10 vital statistics we track to gauge the market.

So, what is going on?  Why do the months’ of inventory indicate that we’re in a strong seller’s market when many of the other metrics are pointing toward a more balanced market?  And what can this tell us about 2020?

Explaining the months of inventory question

There appear to be a couple of key factors keeping our months of inventory much lower than historically.  First, the nation as a whole — and Boulder County especially — have been building far fewer new homes that we were building pre-Great Recession.  This graph from census.gov illustrates the situation well:

In Boulder County, we are getting close to full buildout under our current zoning and land use regulations, meaning that unless they are amended, we will run out of available lots on which to build new housing.  (In practicality, this means that neighboring counties will become our bedroom communities, as Boulder still has the lion’s share of jobs in our area and people will be forced to commute farther and farther.)

Thus, with people continuing to move into the area at a strong pace while building is lagging behind, demand will structurally continue to outpace supply.

Second, people are staying in their homes longer than they used to.  In 2010, homeowners nationwide stayed in their homes an average of eight years before selling.  By 2019, that figure had increased to 13 years. With people selling less frequently, inventory goes down and, with strong demand like we have in Boulder, months of inventory stays low, too.

In Boulder, this issue is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of our homeowners are older (the National Association of Realtors reports that homeowners 73 years and older stay in their homes for an average of 17 years) and many of these Boulderites want to continue to age in place.  Moreover, the Boulder Valley does not have a lot of options for the elderly looking to downsize and stay in their current community.

Accordingly, housing turnover is lower than it used to be, and this trend is likely to be even stronger in Boulder, further suppressing inventory.

So what?

For 2020, it appears that our available housing inventory will continue to be reined in by the structural impediments of inability to build sufficient new housing and current homeowners staying in place.  That will put upward pressure on prices.  Continued migration into our area fueled by our (currently) robust economy will keep demand high and put additional upward pressure on prices.  Additionally, our return to very low interest rates will allow more potential buyers to qualify for our expensive property than would have otherwise been the case.

On the other side of the equation, home prices have risen so high (especially in the city of Boulder) that, even with low interest rates, the pool of buyers able to buy in our area will be relatively small.  Moreover, the political uncertainty of election years can cause people to take fewer risks (such as buying a home).  The fact that this promises to be an especially colorful election cycle will likely be a drag on demand as we get closer to November.

Based on the foregoing, if I had to make a prediction, I would suspect that the first part of the year will have very strong activity, with prices rising and multiple offer situations being not uncommon.  Then, I suspect that the market may cool as we get closer to the election, which may be an especially good time to buy for those with intestinal fortitude.

 

Originally posted by Jay Kalinski

Posted on February 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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Council may be stealing economic opportunity

If you are like a lot of people, your eyes may start to glaze over at the mere mention of “Opportunity Zones,” but stick with me as there is a fascinating story of apparent desperation, questionable motives, and possibly deceitful tactics in order to stem any growth in Boulder.

What are Opportunity Zones anyway?

Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 federal tax reform package, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as a way to incentivize investors to improve and revitalize communities across the country that have languished while the rest of the US enjoyed a terrific boom.  Specifically, an Opportunity Zone is a census tract that Congress designated as eligible (read struggling) to receive private capital investments through “Opportunity Funds,” which allow investors to receive a deferral, reduction, or possibly even elimination of federal capital gains taxes, depending on how long they keep their money invested in a qualifying property and how much they improve it.

So what?

This is where the story gets interesting.  Gov. Hickenlooper, seemingly with support from Boulder at the time, designated a Boulder census tract that runs from 28th to 55th Streets and from Iris to Arapahoe Avenue as an Opportunity Zone.  While virtually every other municipality welcomed these designations as an opportunity to revitalize their struggling communities, the Boulder City Council placed a moratorium on its Opportunity Zone, blocking investment.  And did I mention that this is a limited time offer?

If you are new to the area or have not been following local politics closely (and who could blame you?), it might seem surprising that Boulder would block such investments.  However, as discussed in a previous column, a majority of the Boulder City Council appears to be beholden to Boulder’s CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) who do not want growth of any kind.  It seems they want things to be like it was “back then,” an apparently bygone era with fewer people, fewer businesses, etc.  When viewed through this lens, their actions, though by definition counter productive, make sense.

And now for the master stroke of the CAVE people: make it look to the public like they are lifting the moratorium, when they are actually downzoning large parts of the city.  Under the guise of lifting the Opportunity Zone moratorium and updating “use table standards,” the city will effectively downzone thousands of properties (not just in the Opportunity Zone), limiting office uses to 25 percent of floor area in the BR, BMS, and TB business zones, and limiting small office uses in residential zones.  This will make any existing building in an affected business zone with more than 25 percent office space a “non-conforming use,” meaning that changes or expansions to this use would require city approval through a non-conforming use review.  And what do you think the chances of getting approved would be?

This proposal by the city council runs counter to its stated positions on the environment, not to mention its own Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan policies supporting creation of 15-minute walkable neighborhoods and other policies favoring mixed-use planning, smart growth, and pedestrian uses.

If you are so inclined, you can share your opinion with the city council at council@bouldercolorado.gov, or if you are really motivated, you can attend the council’s public hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at 1777 Broadway.

Originally posted by Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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Top Places to Raise a Family in Boulder County

If you live in Boulder County, you know that all the ingredients needed to make a great place to raise a family are right here. So it’s no surprise that seven of Colorado’s top 25 places to raise a family in 2018 are in Boulder County, according to analysis by Niche.com.

Niche.com ranked the family friendliness of locations by assessing the quality of public schools, cost of living, crime rate, access to amenities, diversity, housing trends, employment statistics and percentage of households with children, among other characteristics. Data sources include U.S. Census Bureau data, the American Community Survey, FBI crime reports, and local surveys.

Most top 25 Colorado locations are in the Boulder area or the Denver metro area. Here are the Boulder County areas in the top 25 best places to raise a family in 2018:

#1 Pine Brook Hills

Pine Brook Hills is an unincorporated area just west of Boulder with a population of 1,091. According to Niche.com, many retirees live in Pine Brook Hills. 

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               A

Good for Families  A+

 

#3 Louisville

The town of Louisville is in southeastern Boulder County. Amenities include 1,700 acres of open space, dozens of great eateries, a thriving arts scene, great schools, wonderful neighborhoods and a diverse mix of employment opportunities for its population of 19,972. 

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families  A+

 

#4 Superior

Located in southeastern Boulder County, the town of Superior has 594 acres of parks, greenspace, and open space and 27 miles of trails for its population of 12,928. Niche.com says many families and young professionals live in Superior.

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families  A+

 

#8  Gunbarrel

Gunbarrel is a mix of unincorporated county and city of Boulder lands, located just east of Boulder. Gunbarrel’s 9,559 residents enjoy craft breweries, coffee shops, trails and parks. Niche.com says many young professionals live in Gunbarrel.

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               B

Good for Families  A+

 

#10 Boulder

Tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city of Boulder has a population of 105,420. Residents enjoy more than 45,000 acres of open space, 150 miles of trails, and 60 urban parks. The city is home to a thriving tech and natural foods industry and the University of Colorado Boulder. Niche.com says the public schools in Boulder are highly rated.

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               C+

Good for Families  A+

 

#19 Niwot

Niwot is a small town in eastern Boulder County with a population of 4,588. Niwot offers craft breweries, coffee shops and a summer music program.

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               C+

Good for Families A

 

#24 Lafayette

The town of Lafayette is in eastern Boulder County with a population of 27,053 made up largely of families and young professionals. Lafayette has a parks system, greenbelts, bikeways, open space, and an attractive downtown featuring coffee shops and boutiques. 

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families A

 

For the full list of the top 25 most family-friendly communities in Colorado visit: https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/search/best-places-for-families/s/colorado/

To see average home prices in each Boulder County community, visit our website at boulderco.com and search “Communities.”

 

 

Originally posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Thursday, January 17th, 2019 at 11:13am.

Posted on January 18, 2019 at 9:09 pm
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Boulder Rent Prices Decline

The usual story of ever-rising Boulder rents took a new turn this month. Data for August 2018 shows Boulder rents fell slightly by 0.1 percent last month and by 0.1 percent year-over-year, according to the latest report from rental site Apartment List.

That translates into median apartment rent of $1,150 for a one-bedroom and $1,410 for two-bedrooms. But even with the minor dip, Boulder’s median two-bedroom rent is above the national average of $1,180.

Nationwide rental rates went up about 1.5 percent, which the report found is down from a high of 3.6 percent in 2015.

Compared to the state and nation, Boulder’s rental price growth is below average. The city lags the state average of 0.4 percent rent growth year-over-year.

Rent also decreased in Colorado’s City of Aurora with a reduction of 0.8 percent year-over-year. A two-bedroom apartment in Aurora rents for $1,560.

But statewide, rental prices continue to trend upward. Colorado’s rental prices rose 0.4 percent over the past year. Eight of Colorado’s ten largest cities show rising rents.

Loveland, Thornton, and Westminster all have year-over-year growth above the state average with rent increases of 2.8 percent, 2.6 percent, and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Thornton is the most expensive of all Colorado’s major cities with a median two-bedroom rent of $1,860.

Many cities nationwide saw increases, including Phoenix, Atlanta, and San Francisco, rising 2.5, 1.5 and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Orlando has the fastest rent growth in the nation with an increase of 5.3 percent over last year. Second in the nation is Riverside, CA with 4.1 percent year-over-year growth, followed in third place by Anaheim at 3.6 percent.

The state of Nevada leads the country for the fastest rent growth at 3 percent, followed by Arizona at 2.2 percent.

Apartment List determines rent standings using reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau and extrapolates forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from Apartment List listing data.

You can read the full report at https://www.apartmentlist.com/co/boulder#rent-report, see the national rental statistics at https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/national-rent-data/. If you want to know where rents are growing fastest, visit https://www.apartmentlist.com/rentonomics/rents-growing-fastest/.

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, September 17th, 2018 at 2:39pm.

Posted on September 24, 2018 at 7:50 pm
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