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.
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
Why Louisville and why now?
Those are the questions RE/MAX Elevate, the sister franchise of RE/MAX of Boulder, had to answer when deciding whether to put roots down there with its first office. And the answers came easy. Louisville is to many the unofficial “Capital” of East Boulder County. Business booms there, school are great, families love it, and it’s been recognized numerous times in the national media as one of the safest and best places to live in the nation (Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017, one of the “20 Safest Places to Live in Colorado” by Elite Personal Finance, and among the “10 Best Towns for Families in the U.S.” by Family Circle Magazine). Louisville is a great little city. In fact, 78 percent of respondents to a citizen survey rated Louisville as an “excellent” place to live.
So it was with much excitement that RE/MAX Elevate planted its flag at 724 Main Street and had its grand opening on May 1. The public was invited to enjoy a ribbon cutting ceremony with Shelley Angell, executive director of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce, live music by Louisville musician Johnny O., wine and sangria tasting with local Decadent Saint winery thanks to Premier Lending LLC, small bites by local Wildcraft Kitchen, desserts from Bittersweet Café & Confections, and flower arrangements donated by Red Door Flowers. RE/MAX Elevate thanks the sponsors and vendors who made it such a special day in Louisville.
It is with much excitement that RE/MAX Elevate planted its flag at 724 Main Street in Louisville and had its grand opening on May 1. (Photo: Jonathan Castner)
RE/MAX Elevate Broker/Owner Jay Kalinski. “It’s an ideal place to live and do business with a great quality of life. We Heart Louisville. That’s the sentiment you’ll see on t-shirts and stickers for RE/MAX Elevate.”
Jay says that for those who want a little more space to live in, along with the beauty and amenities of Boulder County, Louisville is a remarkably attractive choice.
Lest our readers think this is a case of a national “chain” without ties to the community setting up shop in a hot market, a brief history lesson is helpful.
RE/MAX of Boulder was founded 42 years ago in Boulder by Tom Kalinski. At the time it opened for business, it was only the third RE/MAX franchise in the United States. RE/MAX of Boulder has been the No. 1 company in Boulder Valley home sales for more than 30 of its 42 years and the No. 1 single RE/MAX office in the U.S. 8 times. The company has more than 100 award-winning Realtors who are among the best in the nation, averaging more than 15 years of experience. They are seasoned experts with the utmost dedication to clients, going far beyond the extra mile to help them navigate an often challenging market. Jay became Co-Owner of RE/MAX of Boulder in 2012 and helped further expand the company to where it is today, serving as Broker/Owner for several years.
While Jay remains co-owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, he has turned Broker duties back over to Tom, so he can focus on expanding RE/MAX Elevate. Jay is a Boulder native, CU-Boulder alumnus, and Tom’s son. Jay, a lawyer and military veteran, says, “We’re thrilled to introduce RE/MAX Elevate to Louisville, where many of our founding real estate agents – and their families – live, work, and go to school, and where our clients are selling or searching for homes. We are rooted in the community.”
Jay has been a licensed broker for 10 years and a licensed attorney for 14 years having worked at several prominent law firms and serving 4 ½ years on active duty as an Air Force JAG officer. “We are committed to the city of Louisville, East Boulder County, Broomfield, and beyond,” Jay says. “And as a small local veteran-owned business, we are excited to be actively involved in the local entrepreneurial community and with nonprofits and community organizations and to support the vitality and wellbeing of the community.”
Manager Tammy Milano with Broker/Owner Jay Kalinski
Realtors in both offices have donated gift baskets from Louisville businesses for a free drawing, which kicked off during the grand opening party. Drop by any day during business hours in May to enter. Tickets will be drawn and winners announced during the Taste of Louisville on June 1. And to celebrate the opening of the new office, RE/MAX Elevate is sponsoring the Louisville Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. RE/MAX Elevate along with RE/MAX of Boulder are giving back to the community by co-sponsoring the Louisville Downtown Street Faire on Friday nights thoughout the summer.
Jenni Hlawatsch, owner of The Singing Cook, the business next door to RE/MAX Elevate where she continues to be a neighbor, is looking ahead as she welcomes the new office. She says, “While I’ll miss my Book Cellar neighbors, I look forward to the new business relationship with Jay and the RE/MAX Elevate team who are eager to support and get involved in all the goings on in downtown Louisville.”
“We’re delighted to welcome RE/MAX Elevate to downtown Louisville,” says Louisville Mayor Bob Muckle. “Their contributions to the local economy and strong tradition of community involvement will be a win for us all.”
RE/MAX Elevate is a member of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce and the Louisville Downtown Business Association.
RE/MAX Elevate, 724 Main St., Louisville; 303.974.5005; elevatedrealestate.com. Hours are: M-F 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sa/Sun 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
By Darren Thornberry, At Home
Photos by Jonathan Castner and Flatirons Pro Media
Originally Posted by RE/MAX of Boulder
Market demand continues to be strong for Boulder County residential real estate with continued improvements for June sales compared to May.
“Sales were strong through June. It’s a lively market, but certainly not overheated,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
Single-family home sales in Boulder County improved 2.3 percent in June 2018 compared to May 2018 – 498 vs. 487 units – while townhome/condominium sales jumped 31.3 percent – 189 units sold vs. 144.
Year-to-date sales show ongoing growth with single-family home sales rising 2.4 percent through June compared to the prior year – 2,218 vs. 2,166 units – and condo and townhome sales improving 6.6 percent year-over-year – 776 units sold compared to 728.
Inventory is holding steady, which typically correlates with strong sales. Single-family homes for sale increased 9.4 percent – 1,004 homes for sale in June compared to 918 in May. Condo/townhomes inventory rose 14.4 percent over the same period, making 238 units available for sale vs. 208 in May.
Prices are one indication of market temperature. So far, 2018 has seen average and median sales prices continue to rise year-over-year, with all Boulder Valley markets showing improvement in the single-family category for June. Condos/townhomes also showed improvement in both median and average sale prices in every community except statistics for Louisville, Niwot and the Mountains.
Hotard notes that typically “July has a pullback in sales, due to summer vacation schedules and the anticipation of school starting.”
“Market demand is impressive and prices are holding up,” he says. “Single-family homes average selling price has been over a million for months now and shows no signs of cooling off.”
Transportation and housing go hand in hand as critical components of infrastructure and quality of life. In Boulder, citywide enthusiasm for biking and alternative transportation came into sharp focus on the 42nd annual Bike to Work Day held June 27. Beginning at 6:30 a.m., thousands took to their pedal-powered wheels – or simply their feet – to go from home to work. In strong support, local companies and organizations hosted nearly 50 breakfast stations, keeping Boulder riders and walkers well fueled on their morning commute.
At the corner of Canyon Boulevard and Folsom, commuters were energized at such a station. Sponsored by RE/MAX of Boulder with Embassy Suites Boulder and Hilton Garden Inn, they treated riders to a hydrating Skratch Labs drink, refueling snacks, and giveaways. The station was manned by RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors with deep cycling roots including Art Schwadron along with biking enthusiast Chip Bruss, both of whom rode 150 miles in two days during Colorado’s Bike MS event to support multiple sclerosis research.
It’s only natural that Boulder’s Bike to Work Day is one of the largest nationwide. Presented by the City of Boulder, GO Boulder, Community Cycles, and a long list of corporate sponsors, Boulder Walk and Bike Day has grown into a month-long celebration of walking and biking highlighted by more than 60 free walks, bike rides, and other events.
The activities aim to encourage people to change their transportation behavior by experiencing Boulder’s 300+ miles of award-winning bike trails. It’s these multimodal corridors that elevate Boulder’s alternative transportation culture. Boulder was ranked #3 Bike-Friendly City by PeopleForBikes in 2018.
GO Boulder – part of Boulder’s transportation department – is focused on enhancing the city’s multi-modal transportation system and reducing single-car usage. The goal is to increase the travel choices available and create an innovative transportation system that sustains the quality of life valued by Boulder residents.
But bikers and walkers who share the road with cars can be at risk of harm. That’s why the City of Boulder developed its Vision Zero program. Vision Zero focuses on making other-than-car transportation safer by reducing the number of traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries to zero. Program components include targeted improvements to street design, enforcement, and outreach efforts in places where they are needed most.
Bike to Work Day 2018 has come and gone, but in Boulder, every day is a great day to commute by a means other than car. Get more information on alternatives and bike paths and get out there!
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/