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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November Sales Head in Opposite Directions

A tale of two markets emerged in November, as Boulder County’s single-family home sales skidded to a stop, while townhomes and condos took a significant leap forward.

Single-family home sales in the Boulder-area markets dropped 14.4 percent in November compared to October —310 vs. 362 homes—while condominium and townhome sales rose 14.5 percent—126 units vs. 110.

Yet when data for 2018’s first 11 months is considered, the two markets tracked closely together, and both appear to be slowing, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

“This is the first month single-family home sales fell below last year, and condos and townhomes are only slightly ahead,” Hotard explains.

Year-to-date through November, sales of single-family homes decreased 1.4 percent compared to the prior year with 4,205 homes sold vs. 4,266. Attached home sales over the same period improved 3.3 percent – 1,445 vs. 1,399 units sold.

Inventory decreased in both housing categories, though more significantly for single-family homes, which dropped 13.1 percent in November compared to October with 821 vs. 945 Boulder County homes for sale. Condo/townhome inventory fell 6.1 percent in November compared to the previous month with 263 units for sale vs. 280.

“My guess is the growth of the townhome/condo market is due to a larger inventory and more affordable pricing,” says Hotard. “Interest rates are making people jumpy, but the reality is that mortgage rates are still historically low. The more complete view is the inventory and pricing dynamics of the Boulder-area markets.”

He notes that single-family home sales could recover in December, but it’s not likely.

“We have the ongoing headwinds of low inventory and rising prices. When we look back, we’ll see 2018 as market slowdown for housing in our market areas,” Hotard predicts.

Despite the slow-down in housing, Colorado’s economy continues to show strength, wage growth is increasing, and gross domestic product is up, according to recent news reports.

“What the Boulder-area needs is more housing that is desirable and more affordable for people,” adds Hotard.

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 at 10:13am.

Posted on January 3, 2019 at 11:13 pm
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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.”

Originally posted here 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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First Signs of Spring Home Sales Show Promise

‘Home for Sale’ signs are popping up like spring tulips in Boulder County, showing early indications the selling season is likely to emerge strong this year.

Those early positive signs are supported by February’s Boulder Area Realtor® Association sales stats that mark improvement in inventory and sales for single-family and attached dwellings.

“February showed good recovery in sales and inventory from last month’s slow start to the year,” says Ken Hotard, vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association. “It sets buyers and sellers up well going into the top home-selling months of March, April, May and June.”

Inventory increased for single-family and attached Boulder County dwellings in February compared to January. Single-family home inventory increased 7.6 percent – 592 units versus 550 – while townhome and condominium inventory improved 2.3 percent – 138 units versus 130 – month-over-month.

Month-over-month sales of single-family homes in the Boulder-area improved 9 percent compared to January – 240 units versus 220. Condominium and townhome sales rose 7.9 percent month-over-month – 95 units versus 88.

Year-to-date, single-family home sales in the Boulder-area increased 12.3 percent through February 2018, with 467 homes sold versus 416. The number of condominiums and townhomes sold also rose, marking a 26.2 percent year-to-date jump with 183 units sold versus 145 units for the same period in 2017.

Hotard says Boulder County’s real estate market hasn’t changed from last year, noting that “given the market we have, there is no denying demand is strong and there continue to be active buyers.”

The one shifting fundamental is increasing interest rates.

“Interest rates are over 4.5 percent now and projected to go higher. The question is just how high they will go,” explains Hotard.

He says it’s too soon to tell if rising interest rates will put a damper on home sales or the area’s ever-rising real estate prices.

All told, not much has changed in Hotard’s view. “We still live in a beautiful place that offers an exceptional quality of life, Colorado job growth continues to be strong, and the areas surrounding Boulder County are experiencing rising real estate prices.”

So bring on the 2018 home selling season, it’s budding with promise.

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 at 1:21pm.
Posted on April 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm
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