Let’s face it, what happens in Boulder affects the rest of Boulder Valley in terms of housing, transportation, economics and myriad other dimensions. If you want to know where your neighborhood is headed, it’s informative to know what Boulder is doing, even if you live in say, Erie. And, if you even casually follow Boulder politics these days, you might be perplexed and concerned by the (seemingly) increasingly bizarre actions coming from Boulder’s City Council.
For a council that purports to support the environment, public safety, and inclusivity, its recent actions don’t seem to match its rhetoric. In my opinion, however, its actions make sense when you understand the true underlying motivations and desires — and to do that, you have to understand Boulder’s CAVE people.
Who are Boulder’s CAVE people and what do they want?
Simply put, I call these people “Citizens Against Virtually Everything” (CAVE), and they seem to have the ear of the majority of the current council. It appears that the plurality of Boulder’s CAVE people arrived in Boulder in the 1960s and ‘70s as students, hippies, ski bums, etc. They decided to stay, bought homes here, and have become relatively well off as Boulder’s home price appreciation outstripped virtually everywhere else in the country. At the same time, they seem not to like the multiple dimensions of growth Boulder has enjoyed over the last several decades; indeed, their strongest desire is apparently to see Boulder return to as it was “back then,” with fewer people, fewer businesses, less crowding, etc. Their apparent goals, then, are to slow, stop, or reverse growth of all kinds in Boulder. Their tactics appear to be to (disingenuously?) cloak themselves in the rhetoric of environmentalism, populism, and liberalism in order to achieve these goals.
Recent examples of CAVE people tactics and their effects:
1. South Boulder Flood Mitigation Plan. The 2013 flood brought the issue of flood mitigation to the front of everyone’s minds in Boulder Valley, but the study of how to best deal with this issue in South Boulder goes back well before then. After nearly a decade of study, and more than $2 million in fees and environmental studies, and extensive public engagement, the City Council had a few feasible flood mitigation plans, one of which (500-Year Variant 2), had the support of the University of Colorado (the property owner), the city’s Water Resources Advisory Board, and general public. One would think, then, that it would be an easy decision for the City Council to support. One, however, would be wrong.
Recently, the Boulder City Council voted to proceed with a different flood mitigation plan, one that is opposed by CU, disregards expert testimony, the preferences of the city’s Water Resources Advisory Board, and general public sentiment.
Why would the council disregard science, experts, reason, common sense and nearby residents? Using the lens of CAVE people logic, it may be because they believe that taking a position in opposition to all of these things will greatly slow the process of CU developing that land, which fits the goals of “slow, stop, reverse.”
2. Sales Tax Revenue. Cities like Boulder depend on sales tax revenue as an important component of their budgets. Earlier this year, Boulder reported a $4 million budget shortfall, attributable primarily to flattening sales tax in the city — at a time when nearby cities are enjoying double digit growth in their sales tax revenues. Members of the City Council held a study session on the topic on July 10 in which some members declared that they apparently want fewer visitors to Boulder (both tourists and locals from neighboring cities). They expressed these opinions even with the knowledge that locals already visit downtown Boulder an average of seven times per month, but tourists spend several times what locals do per visit.
Why, in a city that prides itself on being welcoming and at a time when sales tax revenues are falling, would members of council declare an apparent desire for fewer tourist (and accompanying tax dollars)?
3. Increased housing density. Council members often voice their support for efforts to provide inclusive housing, reduce Boulder’s carbon footprint, and improve our city’s environmental sustainability; however, when it comes to increased density — the thing that would arguably go the farthest toward achieving those aspirations — the council’s words do not match their deeds. Boulder’s draconian housing restrictions, including the 1 percent cap on annual residential growth (which we’ve never actually hit), blanket height restrictions, severe occupancy limits, among other measures, has forced our workforce to largely live outside the city. This, in turn, causes the more than 60,000 daily commutes into and out of Boulder. By simply ameliorating some of these harsh policies, and allowing a modicum of sustainable and smart development, Boulder could include more of its workforce within city limits and could considerably lessen its environmental impact.
Why, then, has the city actively resisted efforts that would address these critical housing and environmental issues? One possibility — CAVE people logic: if it is extremely difficult to add housing density, not only will it slow population growth, it will force workers into longer commutes and growing frustration. Over time, businesses will relocate to areas more accessible to their workforce, and there will be fewer people, fewer jobs, less congestion… like it was “back then.”
What’s to come?
Rather than building a bridge to the future, Boulder’s CAVE people seem intent on digging a trench to the past. In fact, their efforts seem to be achieving results — not only did Boulder run a budget deficit, but its population actually decreased between 2016 and 2017. There is no stasis for cities — they are either growing or dying. It seems the CAVE people are succeeding at pushing their agenda of “slow, stop, reverse,” through council. And if they win, all of us who are truly for the environment, public safety, and inclusivity will lose.
Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
Boulder-area housing continues to reach new heights, shrugging off a pullback in July sales.
“Prices in Boulder Valley are at an all-time high in both single-family and attached homes. Also inventory challenges are ongoing. Despite both of those realities, housing demand is absolutely holding,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area REALTOR® Association.
The City of Boulder July average sales price reached more than $1.3 million – a 15.4 percent increase for the year. Median price hit $984,648. While Boulder’s prices are the highest, every area in Boulder County saw an increase in average sales price ranging from 3.5 percent in Superior to 17.7 percent in Niwot year-to-date.
However, July sales slowed from the previous month, following the typical late summer pattern of a month-over-month slowdown. Sales declined for single-family and attached homes in July compared to June, 2018. Single-family home sales in the Boulder-area markets dropped 16 percent—418 vs. 498 units—while condominium and townhome sales fell 32.8 percent—127 units vs. 189.
Hotard says this year’s July slowdown is a little more pronounced than last year.
Even so, year-to-date single-family home sales were virtually unchanged with a 1.0 percent increase compared to the prior year with 2,666 homes sold compared to 2,639. Attached home sales over the same period improved 5.8 percent; 914 vs. 864 units sold.
Inventory held its own. There was essentially no change in single-family home inventory levels, which rose .8 percent across Boulder County in July compared to June, 2018 with 1,013 vs. 1,004 homes available for sale. Condo/townhome inventory grew 1.3 percent in July compared to the previous month with 241 units for sale vs. 238.
Hotard notes there is potentially downward pressure on the market with interest rates trending upward and prices rising faster than wages in the area.
“But with demand as it is, we’re just going to keep moving forward,” he says.
Hotard adds that real estate is a “dynamic industry and Realtors are responding to the challenges by continuing to advise their clients on successful strategies for selling and purchasing homes.”
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, August 27th, 2018 at 2:45pm.
When it comes to homeownership, millennials are no different than other generations. Many would love to buy a home, according to findings by SmartAsset. To achieve that dream, one of the looming issues that they must overcome is saving for a down payment. This can be especially challenging in the Boulder-Denver metro area where rents are high. Also, millennials often have student loan payments contend with, which impacts savings.
Although mortgage interest rates are increasing, they are still relatively historically low, and they are empowering millennials to invest in property. To buy a home, millennials need to plan how to overcome obstacles. Here are five tips on how to get organized and make a plan that will succeed, reported by SmartAsset.
Do the Math
Know the 28/36 rule. Mortgage lenders typically require that your mortgage payment, property taxes, and insurance total no more than 28 percent of your monthly gross income. Then, your mortgage payment and your total debt payments, including college loans and credit card debt should not be more than 36 percent of your gross income. Get out your spreadsheet and calculate what this means for you. Knowing your spending limits helps target your search for the right home.
Get Your Documents Together
Getting a loan and closing on a home requires certain documents. Go ahead and pull everything you need together and put it in a file. Usually for a home purchase you need your government issued ID, most up-to-date credit report, a verification form from your employer, W-2 forms, federal tax returns, and bank and asset statements.
Get Your Down Payment Together
Plan to pay the biggest down payment you can afford. The down payment amount determines the length of your mortgage and its monthly rate. Typically, the down payment is between three to 20 percent. The bigger your down payment, the lower your loan amount will be. Increasing your down payment has benefits: a higher down payment makes it possible to get a lower loan at a lower interest rate. Putting more money down usually gives you the ability to borrow more.
Consider Taxes, Property Insurance, Closing Costs and Other Expenses
These necessary expenses factor into the price of the home you can afford. Be sure to calculate home insurance and property tax rates in Colorado and in the county you are exploring. Closing costs include loan origination, underwriting, appraisal, title insurance, wire and courier, and other fees.
Study the Area
Discover which neighborhood is best for you. Study the value of surrounding properties. This will help you know if the home you want is comparably priced to other homes in the area. Working with a knowledgeable Realtor provides insight and perspective on neighborhoods and home values. Be sure to find a Realtor who can help you navigate the search for a home and purchasing process.
To read the full article, visit https://smartasset.com/mortgage/millennial-home-buying-guide.
To find a home and realtor for you, visit http://www.boulderco.com.
Originally posted by RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, July 6th, 2018 at 10:11am.
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.”
If you feel like you live in a great state for your career, it’s official: you are absolutely correct. Among all 50 states, Colorado is the second best state for finding a job, according to analysis by WalletHub.
The only state where job seekers fare better is Washington, with a total WalletHub score of 71.45 compared to Colorado’s 70.04.
But in “Job Market Rank,” Colorado pulled the top position at No. 1, followed by Utah, Maryland and Minnesota. Washington came in at No. 7.
Total score of most attractive states for employment was determined by WalletHub’s comparison of 50 states across 29 key indicators of job-market strength, opportunity and a healthy economy. The two key dimensions were Job Market and Economic Environment. Job Market was weighted more heavily since the factors in that category most heavily influence a job seeker’s decision in terms of relocation for employment.
Here’s how Colorado ranked in key categories.
In ‘Economic Rank’ Colorado is No. 19. Economic Rank evaluates the economic environment based on indicators such as median annual income (adjusted by the cost of living), monthly average starting salary, share of workers living under poverty line, average length of work week, average commute time and commuter-friendly jobs.
At the city level, Aurora led Colorado as the top place to find a job, ranking No. 33 in the U.S. Denver followed at No. 35 and Colorado Springs No. 68. The top cities in ‘Job Market Rank’ are Peoria, AZ; San Francisco, CA; Chandler, AZ; Gilbert, AZ; and Scottsdale, AZ, ranking 1-5 respectively.
In April, Colorado’s state unemployment rate fell by a tenth of a point to 2.9 percent and Colorado employers added 7,200 non-farm jobs to their payrolls, according to a monthly update from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Nationally, the unemployment rate in April stood at 3.9 percent.
Average hourly earnings rose from $27.73 an hour to $28.91 over the past year. The average workweek remains unchanged at 33.7 percent.
For the full listing of statistics on the states, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-economies/21697/. For cities, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/best-cities-for-jobs/2173/.
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.
Originally Posted by RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, July 27th, 2018 at 9:26am.
In this day and age, one could be forgiven for wondering if facts no longer matter or actions no longer have consequences. Whether one watches the national news or a local city council study session where members declare that they want fewer visitors (both tourists and locals from neighboring cities), it is clear we are living in strange times.
Despite all of the uncertainty, there are still a few facts left out there (at least where real estate is concerned), and from them we can draw some reasonable inferences.
1. Home prices throughout Boulder Valley are reaching all-time highs.
At the top of the list, the average single family home in:
- Boulder now costs over $1,250,000
- The suburban plains now costs almost $850,000
- Louisville and the suburban mountains now cost over $750,000
- Boulder County now costs $767,000
Likewise, the average attached home in:
- Boulder now costs over $540,000
- Louisville now costs over $400,000
- Longmont now costs over $350,000
- There are no places left in Boulder County or Broomfield where the average condo is less than $340,000.
2. Local housing inventory is at historic lows
The inventory of homes throughout Boulder County is at or near historic lows..
At the end of June, there were 858 single family homes on the market in Boulder County. To add some perspective, the inventory of homes on the market at the end of June 2006 was 2,763, more than three times as many homes as there are now. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that people are choosing to stay in place longer, increasing prices/lack of affordable places to move to, strong anti-growth policies, etc. Looking at the economic, political and structural factors at play, it appears that this scarce inventory is going to be the new normal.
3. Despite the high prices and low inventory, demand remains high
We gauge the strength of demand for homes using several indicators, including months’ of inventory, the average time a home spends on the market, and the number of expired listings (homes that failed to sell on the market).
Economists say that a balanced housing market has about six months’ of inventory, with more inventory being a buyer’s market and less being a seller’s market. At the end of June, Boulder County had about 3.3 months’ of inventory, compared to 3.8 at this time last year. In the first half of 2016, the average home spent 65 days on the market (from listing to closing). So far this year, that average is 57 days, 12.3 percent faster. Last year at this time, there were 33 expired listings, compared to only 26 this year, which is a drop of 21 percent.
Taken together, these factors demonstrate that demand is getting stronger, even in the face of rising prices and declining choices. And when you consider net migration to our area and plentiful jobs, it also appears that demand will keep increasing and homes will continue to appreciate until . . . when?
What is it that will cool our market and when will it happen?
There are several issues that have the potential to slow our market. First, interest rates continue to rise and as they do they will drain buyers’ purchasing power. Second, as prices have risen faster than wages over the last decade, there may come a point where home prices have to stall in order to allow buyers’ savings to catch up. Third, a macro-level event, such as a recession, international war, etc., could cool the entire economy and affect our market.
The set of variables is too complex to predict accurately what the precise cause(s) will be or when it will come, but it will come. The good news (if you own real estate here) is that there is no better place to invest in real estate than here — even in a downturn.
Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
Boulder County housing sales in May rolled strong once again, demonstrated by sharp growth in the single-family home market and solid performance for attached dwellings.
“Gains in single-family home sales topped 40 percent – a really strong increase that was backed by inventory growth,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
In fact, all categories of single-family homes surged, according to May 2018 statistics. Sales of single-family homes grew 41.2 percent in May 2018 compared to April, with 487 homes sold vs. 345. Year-to-date single-family home sales increased 5.6 percent year-to-date through May 2018 compared to the prior year – 1,708 vs. 1,618. And inventory countywide increased 19.1 percent month-over-month with 918 units for sale in May vs. 770 the prior month.
Condominium and townhome sales grew a solid 14.3 percent in May compared to April, represented by 144 units sold vs. 126. Year to date, growth was 23 percent – 594 units vs. 481. Inventory increased 27 percent in May compared to April, putting 208 dwellings in the May marketplace compared to 163 in April.
Hotard says prices moderated slightly in May. Single-family average and median sales prices dropped compared to the previous month. “The median in April was over $1 million, now it’s down to $985,000; and townhome/condos were in the $500,000’s last month and are now in the $450,000’s,” he adds.
The steadily increasing housing market is a sign of strong fundamentals – demand is strong, inventory tight and jobs plentiful. Currently, Boulder is the third largest job center in the state. “But with housing prices too high for the average worker and no new building in sight, we can expect to see jobs that would have located in Boulder County opt instead to land somewhere along I-25,” explains Hotard.
Looking forward, he says June data seems to be tracking solidly along with May.
“We should see a shift in the market as we get to the end of July. I expect it to slow down a bit, but we can expect much of the same.”
He adds that the number of days a home is on the market is short. “Any buyer in this market has to walk into house-hunting ready to buy with a knowledgeable realtor and financing lined up.”
Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, June 27th, 2018 at 11:03am.
Sellers in the Front Range housing market enjoyed a blistering spring season. Everything seemed to be breaking in favor of sellers — brisk appreciation, multiple offers, favorable terms, and generally quick sales. However, several trends are emerging that could derail (or at least diminish) a seller’s summer home sale plans. Here are three of the biggest trends likely to affect our summer market:
1. Rising Interest Rates. For the past several years, economists have been predicting that interest rates will rise from their historic lows (in the 3.5 percent range for a 30-year conventional fixed mortgage). It turns out that the eggheads finally got it right. Compared to this time two years ago, interest rates are at least a percent higher — and with the Fed raising their Funds Rate again at their last meeting (and with more raises on the horizon), it seems that even higher rates are coming. It seems now is an appropriate time to refer back to my article discussing the 1 percent Equals 10 Percent Rule, which is a rule of thumb that for each 1 percent increase in mortgage rates, your buying power decreases about 10 percent. When you consider this with the fact that average home prices in Boulder County have risen about 21 percent in the past two years, it means that the same buyers from two years ago can now afford 31 percent less than they could have back then.
If you’re thinking, “but I’m a seller, it doesn’t affect me.” Think of it in these terms: that pool of buyers who would have bought your 2,000 square-foot, three-bedroom house two years ago? They can now only afford a 1,380 square-foot, two-bedroom condo. That is, the pool of buyers for your home is significantly smaller today.
2. The market hates uncertainty. To say this has been the least conventional presidency of the modern era is an understatement. Setting aside the human side of the geopolitical uncertainty caused by the Trump administration (alienating the G7, backing out of the UN Human Rights Council, separating families at the border, etc.), the president has decided to wage trade wars on multiple fronts. And while these acts might be appeasing his base, they are starting to have a negative effect on the economy. As of mid-June, the stock market has given back all of the gains it made in 2018, due in large part to the trade wars started with China and other countries. Speaking of China, its investments in the United States have dropped 92 percent this year, and less foreign cash means less money to invest in the housing market.
The effect of this is straightforward — when people feel uncertain and less wealthy (i.e., watching their world turn topsy-turvy and stock portfolios drop), they are less willing to take risks and make changes. And while home ownership might be the best investment you’ll make, it still represents a risk, especially if you’re a first time home buyer. Thus, the uncertainties in the economy will produce fewer buyers than a steadily rising market.
3. What the frac? The fracking industry in Colorado has flourished since a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in 2016 held that state laws trumped local bans and regulations limiting fracking. In Weld County alone, there are approximately 23,000 fracking wells, and fights are currently raging over applications to drill near highly populated parts of Boulder and Broomfield counties. Wells are being placed within 1,000 feet of schools, and this encroaching boom has generated growing health and safety related concerns, from a Colorado School of Public Health study reporting that living near fracking wells may increase the risk of cancer, to a home in Firestone that literally exploded from a leaky underground pipeline.
As the concerns grow, so will buyers’ reservations about buying homes near fracking, which could slow demand in these areas. Longmont took the extraordinary step of paying two oil and gas companies $3 million to leave town and prevent future drilling. To be sure, there are competing property rights at issue, but if compromises are not reached that make people feel safe, then homeowners could see their home values fall.
In sum, our market has been red hot this spring, but there are issues on the horizon that could dampen summer sales prospects. Some of these are likely beyond our direct control, but I encourage you to make your voice heard where you feel you can make a difference. Your home’s equity (and your conscience) will thank you.
Jay Kalinski is broker/owner of Re/Max of Boulder.
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/