Real estate in the time of COVID-19

At the start of the year, I read an article about the 10 biggest threats to the global economy in 2020, written by a prestigious international organization.  “Global pandemic” did not make the list, which goes to show how generally lousy we humans are at accurately predicting the future.  As such, any predictions that I (or anyone else) could give you about how this pandemic will unfold, in terms of its impact on the local real estate market, would likely fare no better than random chance.  Similarly, with the situation evolving so rapidly, any advice or best practices I could offer today may become obsolete in short order.

So, rather than peddle advice and predictions, let’s pause and take stock.

Nationally:

Back in 2008, the financial crisis was sparked in the real estate sector and led to a crisis that nearly collapsed the banking system.  We see from history that recessions that begin in the housing sector tend to be worse and last longer than recessions ignited by other factors.  Today, the recession we are likely heading into has a very different background — our economy and housing market were far stronger and more resilient, thanks in part to the measures put in place after that recession (tighter lending restrictions, more stringent liquidity requirements for banks, etc.).  In fact, we were enjoying the longest economic expansion since WWII.

According to National Association of Realtors chief economist Dr. Lawrence Yun, “Conditions today are very different than the last boom/bust cycle.  In 2004, we had a huge oversupply of new homes.  In 2019, we still had a huge undersupply of new homes.  In fact, we haven’t been building enough new homes to keep up with demand in over a decade.  During the last downturn, there was the subprime factor and the variable interest rate.  Now there are fewer variable rate mortgages and virtually no sub-prime mortgages.”

Colorado and Boulder County outperform the nation:

Colorado is well-positioned as a top economy nationally.  Real GDP growth in Colorado ranked seventh in the nation year-over-year, and the state’s five-year average ranks fifth, according to economist Rich Wobbekind with CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.  Wobbekind says that Boulder County’s economy has been outgrowing the state economy, and is uniquely able to weather a recession.  Boulder County’s economic vitality is fueled by a highly educated workforce and diverse ecosystem of industries including government research facilities, aerospace, biotechnology, cleantech, and information technology — industries that endure in the long term.

Boulder ranks number one in the nation for home value stability and growth for the fifth consecutive year, according to SmartAsset. As discussed in our recently published real estate report, based on our extensive data and market analysis, we have had a healthy housing market through 2019.  Even through the grim days of the Great Recession, home prices in Boulder County declined only by 5 percent and recovered quickly post-recession. If you held onto your home for at least six years, there is no period when you would have lost money on your investment here.

Summing up:

While past performance is no guarantee of future results, the real estate market in our area has a history of weathering recent recessions better than other places and recovering more quickly after the storm has passed.  Given everything that is going on, I still believe that owning property in Boulder Valley is and will continue to be an excellent investment.

Be well and do what you can to flatten the curve.  Stay home.

Posted on April 1, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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Home Sales Slow in December, Show Slight Decline for Year End

Boulder County home sales declined for December, but overall 2018 sales held somewhat steady with a slight decrease.

“December was not a fabulous month for home sales, particularly for attached dwellings,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

Sales of condominiums and townhomes in the Boulder-area dropped 42.9 percent in December compared to November – 72 units sold vs. 126. For the year, attached dwelling sales improved .02 percent with 1,525 units sold vs. 1,522.

Single-family home sales dropped 2.6 percent with 302 sales vs. 310 for December compared to November. Year-over-year, single-family home sales dropped 2.3 percent – 4,533 sales vs. 4,640.

Hotard points out the total decline for all Boulder County dwellings sold for the year – attached and single-family – was only 1.8 percent. That compares to a 3.1 percent national decline reported by the National Association of Realtors.

“Our Boulder County market continues to perform well. Job growth is good, demand is strong, and the area is desirable,” says Hotard, adding that inventory is an ongoing challenge.

Inventory of single-family homes dropped 24 percent in December compared to November—declining to 624 units from 821, while multi-family unit inventory decreased 22.4 percent—204 units versus 63—over the same period.

So where do we go from here?

Hotard says many reports indicate the U.S. is entering a home sales slump, but he expects the Boulder County markets to continue to buck the national trend.

“It’s possible well see a year-over-year decline similar to this year, but I don’t expect it to be more significant, if our markets decline at all,” he says.

In Hotard’s assessment, strong fundamentals in Boulder County are not waning: Employers continue to bring new jobs and prices are holding or improving.

But inventory continues to take a hit. “We need to see inventory numbers improve as we head into March, April, May and June,” Hotard adds.

“It’s going to be ‘steady as she goes’ in 2019, as long as we don’t have any major national or international events.”

 

Originally posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, February 11th, 2019 at 1:34pm.

Posted on February 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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Be mindful of warning signs in housing market

2018 was another strong year for residential real estate in Colorado in general and Boulder Valley in particular, but what’s in store for 2019?

First, a look back at 2018.  Nationally, Colorado jumped from 10th to fifth among all states for one-year appreciation, with a 9.16 percent increase in home values.  Boulder County improved from 57th in 2017 to 41st in 2018, with over 9.5 percent price appreciation.  Below are the 10 “Vital Statistics” for Boulder Valley we track to gauge the health of the real estate market from year to year.

As you can see, most of the indicators point toward an appreciating market, though increasing interest rates and a drop in the percentage of homes under contract indicate potential signs of weakness emerging. 

In the city of Boulder, the average price of a single-family home topped $1,215,000, which was up 11 percent from 2017.  However, Boulder also saw almost 50 fewer home sales than last year, which highlights our continued shortage of inventory.  The most affordable city in Boulder County continues to be Longmont, but even there, the average price of a single-family home is now over $460,000 and may reach $500,000 if its appreciation trend continues.

One statistic that gets very little attention is that we often see home prices dip slightly in the second half of the year as compared to the first.  As the chart below shows, we generally see appreciation through June or July, and then values trail off slightly.  What this chart means is that, if you’re a seller your best bet is to sell in the spring, and if you’re a buyer, try to buy in the fall when home prices are stagnant or dropping.

2018 was quite strong — will 2019 be similar?

Locally, conditions in our area generally support continued appreciation in residential real estate.  The total number of active listings available is still less than half of what it was before the Great Recession, which is likely to keep home prices growing, especially as our economy remains strong (very low unemployment) and we continue to see net migration into our area.

There are, however, several trends that could derail continued growth in our market.  First, interest rates are almost a full point higher than they were in 2017, and I’ve discussed before how a one point increase in interest rates can reduce purchasing power by 10 percent.  The Fed had indicated its intent to continue to raise rates in 2019, however, the news from the Fed’s most recent meeting in January suggested that they may hold off until at least June.

Second, the potential for a recession in the next year or two could begin dragging on home sales.  One indicator is that the yield curve (which compares rates for short-term vs. long-term Treasury notes) has been getting flatter.  When the yield curve inverts (that’s when rates for 10-year notes dip below rates for 2-year notes), it is very often followed by a recession.

Finally, local no-growth and anti-growth policies, regulations, and mindsets are making it increasingly difficult to add inventory to our region.  The dearth of homes to sell could negatively impact our market — and it is the only factor here that we as citizens have a measure of control over.

2019 has the potential to be another great year for residential real estate in Boulder Valley, but we need to be mindful of the potential derailers mentioned above.

 

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

Posted on February 6, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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Top Places to Raise a Family in Boulder County

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

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

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

#1 Pine Brook Hills

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               A

Good for Families  A+

 

#3 Louisville

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families  A+

 

#4 Superior

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families  A+

 

#8  Gunbarrel

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               B

Good for Families  A+

 

#10 Boulder

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A+

Housing               C+

Good for Families  A+

 

#19 Niwot

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               C+

Good for Families A

 

#24 Lafayette

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

Ranking on Key Attributes

Public Schools    A

Housing               B+

Good for Families A

 

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

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

 

 

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

Posted on January 18, 2019 at 9:09 pm
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4 Key Home Buying Trends to Watch in 2019

As we look ahead to coming trends in 2019 real estate, home buyers and sellers nationwide will face changes in the marketplace, according to the economic research team at realtor.com. From housing inventory to generational shifts, here are four top trends to look for in 2019.

1. Inventory will grow, especially for luxury homes

Inventory has been tight nationwide, hitting its lowest level in recorded history in the winter of 2017, says realtor.com. Supply finally began catching up with demand in 2018. That inventory growth will continue in 2019, but at rate of less than 7 percent. While sellers will have more competition, it will still be a good market.

“More inventory for sellers means it’s not going to be as easy as it has been in past years—it means they will have to think about the competition,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com chief economist.

“It’s still going to be a very good market for sellers, but if they’ve had their expectations set by listening to stories of how quickly their neighbor’s home sold in 2017 or in 2018, they may have to adjust their expectations,” she adds.

In markets with strong economies and high-paying jobs, most of the expected inventory growth will come from listings of luxury homes.

2. Affording a home will be challenging

Interest rates and home prices are expected to continue to increase. Hale says homebuyers will continue to feel a “pinch” from affordability, as costs will still be a pain point. She predicts mortgage rates will reach around 5.5 percent by the end of 2019, which translates into the typical mortgage payment increasing by about 8 percent. Incomes are growing about 3 percent on average. These factors are hardest on first-time home buyers, who tend to borrow most heavily.

3. Millennials will dominate

Millennials are now the biggest generation of home buyers. Some are first-time home buyers, while others are moving up from starter homes. The millennial group accounts for 45 percent of mortgages compared with baby boomers and Gen Xers at 17 and 37 percent respectively, reports realtor.com. And many millennials still have student debt, which adds to the challenge of affording a home.

4. The new tax law’s effect is still unknown

For many tax filers, the effect of the new tax law won’t be known until their April tax filing results in a bigger tax bill or a bigger refund.

Renters are likely to have lower tax bills, but the new increased standard deduction reduces the appeal of the homeowner’s mortgage-interest deduction. The new tax law may dissuade people from taking out large mortgages which will affect higher cost homes. Add these factors to the challenge of affording a home and homeownership for some may be harder to achieve or less appealing.

The net effect of the coming 2019 trends is that even with these challenges, sellers are in a good position and homeowners will continue to enjoy positive financial gains from their home.

For more information, read the full report at https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/real-estate-trends-expect-2019/

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Thursday, January 10th, 2019 at 10:05am.

Posted on January 10, 2019 at 11:51 pm
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Gifts and Volunteer Elves Bring Magic to Boulder County Families

More than 650 Boulder County families with children who might have been overlooked can feel cheer this holiday season, thanks to the power of giving Share-A-Gift makes possible.

Now in its 47th holiday season, each year Share-A-Gift helps connect community donations with hundreds of families, representing approximately 1,500 girls and boys from birth to age 14 years. The donations are collected with the help of businesses, citizens, and volunteers who give toys, money, and time to bring holiday magic to every family who lives in the Boulder County School District. Gifts include new and gently used bikes, toys, books, and clothing.

RE/MAX of Boulder is one of the businesses, which has proudly supported Share-A-Gift for more than 20 years. The Realtors at RE/MAX of Boulder encourage staff, clients, and friends to drop-off donated presents to the lobby of their main office at 2425 Canyon Boulevard. Many of the presents are donated from RE/MAX of Boulder’s Patrick Dolan Team and his clients.

RE/MAX of Boulder volunteers help gather the generously donated toys and take them to the Share-A-Gift Toy Shoppe. They work alongside the army of Toy Shoppe volunteers to ensure each family finds appropriate gifts for their children.

RE/MAX of Boulder Realtors including Patrick Dolan and his team have been gathering gifts from clients, friends, and staff to donate to Share-A-Gift. This incredible nonprofit brings holiday magic to Boulder County families in need. RE/MAX of Boulder and Patrick Dolan have been supporters for 20+ years.

This year, RE/MAX of Boulder volunteers included Managing Broker and Share-A-Gift Board Member Todd Gullette, and Realtors Patrick Dolan, Lisa Wade, and Timmy Duggan.

 

“For those less fortunate, this can be the hardest time of year,” Managing Broker Todd Gullette says.

With years of Share-A-Gift volunteering in his background, he knows the meaningful value the program brings to the community.

“Share-a-Gift does an amazing job of empowering parents and relieving some of the stress the holidays can bring. We would love to thank the hundreds of you who come out each year to help us create such a loving and caring event,” adds Gullette.

The hundreds of “Santa Helpers” who come together to create and share in the joy of giving include community members from all walks of life, the city of Boulder police department, schools, clubs, and organizations.

Volunteers work where help is needed, sometimes applying their special skills to make a difference. RE/MAX of Boulder Realtor Timmy Duggan – a former pro-bike racer and Olympic cyclist – found good use for his bike knowledge in the Share-A-Gift bike repair shop, getting bikes tuned up and ready to ride.

The volunteer elf work performed by community members adds up to thousands of hours, which any community would be proud of. Most importantly, sharing of time and resources gives families and children in need a chance to feel the magic of the season.

For more information visit shareagift.org.

Volunteers like REMAX of Boulder Realtor Timmy Duggan tunes up bikes of all sizes ready to ride at Share-A-Gift’s bike repair shop.

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018 at 1:24pm.

Posted on December 21, 2018 at 11:01 pm
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Despite Monthly Swings, Boulder County Home Sales Hold a Strong Course

If there is one constant in Boulder Valley, it’s a strong real estate market. October’s sales statistics show 2018 is on track to finish strong. This is despite that month-to-month, those statistics sometimes show significant fluctuation.

Take September and October 2018. When compared to October, September’s data is like Colorado weather: If you don’t like the statistics one month, wait a month, they are likely to change.

September’s single-family sales dropped 20 percent, then recovered to gain 8.7 percent in October with 362 homes sold vs. September’s 333. Despite the short-term fluctuation, year-to-date sales are holding steady through October, reaching just one unit short of the same volume as last year – 3,880 vs. 3,881.

“It’s hard to characterize our market here in Boulder County. Given all of the factors, it can be difficult to decipher trends as opposed to an event,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

“While the swings add volatility to the market, the market exhibits good health with strong demand, and prices and sales holding steady,” he says, adding that a strong economy and job growth continue to be drivers.

Condo/townhomes in Boulder County saw a month-over-month sales decrease of 5.2 percent, with 110 units sold in October compared to 116 in September. Year-to-date attached dwelling sales rose 4 percent through October – 1,317 vs. 1,266.

October’s inventory for attached dwellings also increased 7.3 percent over September with 280 units available in October compared to 261 the prior month. Single-family home inventory declined 10 percent, with 945 homes available for sale in October compared to 1,050 in September 2018.

Hotard projects November and December sales will be “anybody’s guess depending on the weather. But all things being equal, I don’t expect much change through the end of the year.”

The next big change he expects will be in early 2019. “I think we’ll see a big increase in inventory and sales in February and March. I think people will look at taking the gains we have seen in this market, providing inventory and set the market up for pretty strong increases in the big home selling months.”

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, November 27th, 2018 at 9:40am.

Posted on November 28, 2018 at 5:14 pm
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Real Estate Conference Set to Explore Boulder Valley Challenges and Trends

The eleventh annual Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference offers a packed day Thursday, November 15, exploring trends, commercial impacts, and inventory shortages in Boulder County commercial and residential real estate.

Organized by BizWest with presenting sponsor RE/MAX of Boulder, the event delivers an intensive schedule of national keynote speakers and panels made up of local real estate experts and development officials.

More than 500 real estate professionals and anyone interested in the local real estate market are expected to attend. Attendees get insights into residential and commercial real estate activity and coming opportunities in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

The conference kicks off with local real estate expert Todd Gullette, RE/MAX of Boulder Managing Broker, discussing the latest sales and price statistics and implications for residential real estate across Boulder Valley. The commercial forecast follows, with Angela Topel, Gibbons-White Senior Broker, exploring major commercial developments, sales and vacancy statistics.

Future technology – now turned present – takes center stage when Jay Kalinski, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX of Boulder, moderates a panel of real estate banking and technology experts, exploring “The Impact of Blockchain” on residential real estate. Blockchain technologies enable a shared, nationwide database of houses on the market. The panel will look at how Blockchain platforms affect Boulder County’s housing market and how Realtors should respond.

“Big Tech Settles In” focuses on the local impact of the tech economy and examines the surging Boulder tech scene, including expansions by Google, Twitter, Microsoft and Uber.

Conference keynote address presents the outlook of Wells Fargo’s EVP of Housing Policy and Homeownership Growth Strategies, Brad Blackwell, and MetroStudy’s Senior Director West Region, John Covert.

Next up, “Breaking Ground” – back by popular demand – reveals commercial and residential developments in the Boulder Valley and beyond. A panel of city-employed development directors from Lafayette, Longmont, Louisville, Superior, Boulder, Erie and Broomfield provide a complete rundown of the region’s top projects.

“Wrestling with Supply” tackles the top challenge for Boulder-area residential real estate markets. Lack of housing inventory, issues with infill development, height limits, accessory-dwelling units and zoning conspire to cause a critical housing shortage. Moderated by Duane Duggan, RE/MAX of Boulder Realtor, the panel will discuss policy changes developers believe would address the problem.

“Icons of Real Estate” is back by popular demand. Featuring long-time successful real estate experts Tom Kalinski, Owner/Founder, RE/MAX of Boulder; Stephanie Iannone, Managing Broker, Housing Helpers; and Seth Chernoff, CEO, Chernoff Boulder Properties, audience members will ask questions to learn proven best practices and advice for success in commercial real estate.

The conference will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Embassy Suites hotel, 2601 Canyon Blvd. in Boulder. Registration opens at 8:15 am. For details and to pre-register visit http://fallrealestateconference.com. Breakfast and lunch are included. The conference is open to anyone with an interest in Boulder Valley real estate. Conference attendees can earn six Van Education credits.

Conference details in this quick video: https://bit.ly/2PAsWQV

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, November 13th, 2018 at 3:40pm.

Posted on November 14, 2018 at 10:33 pm
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Exterior Renovations Deliver Best ROI

A beautiful new kitchen is often the renovation homeowners dream of. But if getting a high return on investment (ROI) is at the top of your checklist, you may want to consider doing exterior work instead.

Seven out of the ten highest payback projects are exterior renovations, according to Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report 2018. Except for a minor kitchen remodel, work done on the exterior of the house generated higher returns than did interior renovations.

Here are the five renovations that give the highest return, according to Remodeling Magazine.

Garage door replacement

A new garage door can give your home instant curb appeal. Expect to spend about $3,500 to install a new 16×7-foot windowed garage door with lifetime warranty and new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks. Average ROI is 98.3 percent nationwide and 96.7 percent in the mountain region.

Remodeling Magazine’s mountain region includes Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and Montana.

Manufactured stone veneer

Stone is a popular siding, particularly in Colorado. Adding stone to your home’s exterior gives it character and gives high payback when you sell. At a cost of $8,221, ROI in the mountain region is 93.8 percent and 97.1 percent nationwide.

Wood deck addition

Speaking of trends, inviting outdoor living areas are hot, so wood deck additions add desirability to your home. Estimated cost is $10,950. Average payback in the mountains is higher than across the nation—84 percent compared to 82.

Minor kitchen remodel

At last, we can talk about redoing the kitchen. Expect to spend $21,198 to replace some of the components in your kitchen such as fronts of existing cabinet boxes and drawers, new hardware, new energy-efficient cooktop/oven range combination and refrigerator, laminate counter tops, and flooring. Average mountain region payback is just under 84 percent, and 81 percent nationwide.

Siding replacement

A $15,072 investment to replace old warped or cracked siding with new can help sell your home. You will get around 65 percent of that back here in Colorado and almost 77 percent nationwide.

Here are the top ten renovations with the highest payback.

For the full report, visit http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/key-trends-in-the-2018-cost-vs-value-report

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 2:02pm.

Posted on November 9, 2018 at 10:26 pm
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What it’s like to be a first-time homebuyer in 2018

“Ever since we moved out here, we’ve been keeping an eye on the market,” Gibson says. “We see new houses go on the market, but that for-sale sign goes down and a for-rent sign takes its place, and so we’re competing with people that have the ability to buy multiple homes just to rent them out.”

The Gibsons live just north of Boulder in the town of Longmont, Colo. The Boulder area is one of the toughest markets for first-time buyers — and the epicenter of a growing housing affordability crisis.

“The country as a whole has been generally appreciating since coming out of the recession in 2011, 2012. Boulder has definitely led the way in a lot of ways,” says RE/MAX of Boulder’s Jay Kalinski, who is also the chair-elect of the Boulder Area Realtor Association. “Since 1991, we’ve appreciated more than anywhere else in the country — I think for over 400% appreciation since then. Our average single-family house in the city of Boulder now is around $1.2 million.” (The average price of a new home in the U.S. is $377,200, as of September, according to the Census.)

Yahoo Finance visited Boulder for HuffPost’s Listen to America town hall series installment on housing affordability and to talk to residents and local officials about the issues facing potential buyers in a market that serves as a snapshot of what’s happening across the country.

When you look at the affordability index, we’re getting less and less affordable as a community,” Kalinski says. “We’re becoming more akin to something like an Aspen or a Silicon Valley, where our home prices just are not going to support people who are making an average or even a good income.”

Watch the full HuffPost Listen to America town hall for To Develop Or Preserve: A Conversation About Affordable Housing In Boulder, CO.

Boulder City Council member Jill Adler Grano, who spoke at the Listen To America town hall, has been concerned with buyers getting priced out of the Boulder market for some time. “Unless you have money from another source or a lot of money saved up — a trust fund something like that — it’s very difficult to save for that down payment,” she says.

But there are steps the city is taking to address the issue. “As a city, we’re working on a pretty aggressive affordable housing program, so we have a goal of having 10% of our housing stock be permanently affordable,” she says. “At first that was all just for people making below area median income, but now we’ve realized that middle class is actually above area median income, so we’ve added another 5% goal for those making even above area median income but still being priced out of our city.”

But that path to homeownership has its own drawbacks, Kalinski says. “On the bright side, it means you can have a home in Boulder, you can live here at a reduced rate,” he says. “The downside is you don’t get the benefits of homeownership. Your growth is capped at 3% a year, and when the rest of the city is growing it’s a 10% to 15%, you’re giving up all of that upside.”

If income-sensitive housing isn’t an option, there are other routes cash-strapped buyers can take, including a trend Kalinski calls “driving until you qualify” that’s popular in the Boulder area. “First-time home buyers can either look a little further out or they can talk to their friends and family about trying to get a bigger down payment together to get into a market-rate home,” Kalinski says.

As for the Gibsons, they’re pressing ahead and trying to maintain a positive outlook. “I walk my dog around a lot and look at for-sale signs, look at ads, just trying to get an idea of what the market is,” Gibson says. “And hope that our hopes aren’t dashed when we get into a bidding war with about 10 other couples that are also trying to buy the same home.”

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter.

Originally posted here on Yahoo Finance.

Posted on November 7, 2018 at 11:34 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: Articles, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,