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.
Cooler temperatures and mountain snow are reminders that it’s time to prepare your home for winter. Here are steps to take to get ready for falling leaves and freezing temperatures, as recommended by House Beautiful.
1. Prepare your gutters
Clean and well-functioning gutters are a must for winter. Now is the time to clear gutters of leaves and debris and replace damaged sections.
2. Ensure against drafts
Windows are a major source of heat loss in the home. One simple solution is to eliminate drafts with weather stripping. To check for drafts, close the door or window on a strip of paper, and then slide the paper. If it slides easily, it’s time to replace your weather stripping.
3. Disconnect outdoor faucets
Take action sooner rather than later to avoid frozen and bursting pipes in your home. Drain and disconnect your hoses from outdoor faucets before the first freeze.
4. Protect outdoor furniture
Outdoor furniture lasts longer and looks better if it is protected from winter snow and freezing temperatures. Either store the furniture inside for the winter or cover it with a waterproof furniture cover.
5. Repair driveway and sidewalk cracks
When water freezes in small cracks, the small cracks become big cracks. It’s easy to prevent by filling those small cracks with concrete crack sealer. Your drive and walkways will look much better over the years – and will be safer – if you take this preventive step.
6. Fertilize your lawn
As your grass prepares for winter, it needs to be fertilized to prevent stress and damage through cold temperatures. When days shorten, turf grass shifts food reserves from leaves to roots. Fertilizing grass in the fall feeds the roots and paves the way for a healthy green lawn when spring comes.
7. Check your snow blower
Go ahead and dig your snow blower out of the garage now. Check the oil, tires, and shear pins and crank it up now, before the snow flies. That way, you’ll be ready for that first snowy morning.
For more helpful tips, read the full article at https://www.housebeautiful.com/lifestyle/cleaning-tips/a22652916/fall-home-maintenance-checklist/
Home sales in Boulder-area single-family and attached housing markets rose in August along with the late summer heat index.
Single-family home sales increased 10 percent in August 2018 compared to July with 460 homes sold in Boulder-area markets vs. 418. Sales for condominiums and townhomes climbed 15 percent with 146 units sold vs. 127.
Meanwhile, Denver-metro home sales went in the opposite direction, slowing significantly over the same period, according to the Denver Post.
It’s testament to the state of Boulder Valley real estate market, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
“We have our own little market here. While Denver dipped, Boulder Valley showed strong growth in sales, despite ongoing rising prices and inventory squeeze,” says Hotard.
Year-to-date sales also continue to climb steadily. Single-family home sales grew 1.7 percent through August 2018 compared to last year – 3,154 homes sold vs. 3,100. Attached homes followed a similar track, improving 1.6 percent year-to-date – 1,154 sold in 2018 compared with 1,135 in 2017.
Inventory dropped 2.0 percent for single-family homes – 993 units in August 2018 vs. July’s 1,013. But condo/townhomes available for sale grew 11.2 percent with 268 units available in August vs. 241 the previous month.
Hotard attributes the unceasing increase in real estate sales and prices to the area’s strong economy and continued job growth, along with a desirable quality of life. “Significant companies are hiring in Boulder, like Zayo, Google, Twitter – and the natural foods industry is strong,” he adds.
Interest rates are slowly pushing upward, which traditionally results in a slowdown in rising home prices and sales. But Boulder Valley’s housing market may not readily respond to interest rate increases.
“It’s unknown what the tipping point is for interest rates affecting our housing market. And with 35 percent of Boulder County homes bought with cash, rising interest rates may not have a significant effect locally,” says Hotard.
Looking ahead to the final quarter of the year, Hotard expects sales to continue to match those of last year, unless “something unusual happens.”
“We seem to be operating on an upward trend and it’s hard to see what would stop it. The real challenge for Boulder County is providing the housing and transportation infrastructure to support job growth.”
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.”
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.
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.