Council may be stealing economic opportunity

If you are like a lot of people, your eyes may start to glaze over at the mere mention of “Opportunity Zones,” but stick with me as there is a fascinating story of apparent desperation, questionable motives, and possibly deceitful tactics in order to stem any growth in Boulder.

What are Opportunity Zones anyway?

Opportunity Zones were created by the 2017 federal tax reform package, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, as a way to incentivize investors to improve and revitalize communities across the country that have languished while the rest of the US enjoyed a terrific boom.  Specifically, an Opportunity Zone is a census tract that Congress designated as eligible (read struggling) to receive private capital investments through “Opportunity Funds,” which allow investors to receive a deferral, reduction, or possibly even elimination of federal capital gains taxes, depending on how long they keep their money invested in a qualifying property and how much they improve it.

So what?

This is where the story gets interesting.  Gov. Hickenlooper, seemingly with support from Boulder at the time, designated a Boulder census tract that runs from 28th to 55th Streets and from Iris to Arapahoe Avenue as an Opportunity Zone.  While virtually every other municipality welcomed these designations as an opportunity to revitalize their struggling communities, the Boulder City Council placed a moratorium on its Opportunity Zone, blocking investment.  And did I mention that this is a limited time offer?

If you are new to the area or have not been following local politics closely (and who could blame you?), it might seem surprising that Boulder would block such investments.  However, as discussed in a previous column, a majority of the Boulder City Council appears to be beholden to Boulder’s CAVE people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) who do not want growth of any kind.  It seems they want things to be like it was “back then,” an apparently bygone era with fewer people, fewer businesses, etc.  When viewed through this lens, their actions, though by definition counter productive, make sense.

And now for the master stroke of the CAVE people: make it look to the public like they are lifting the moratorium, when they are actually downzoning large parts of the city.  Under the guise of lifting the Opportunity Zone moratorium and updating “use table standards,” the city will effectively downzone thousands of properties (not just in the Opportunity Zone), limiting office uses to 25 percent of floor area in the BR, BMS, and TB business zones, and limiting small office uses in residential zones.  This will make any existing building in an affected business zone with more than 25 percent office space a “non-conforming use,” meaning that changes or expansions to this use would require city approval through a non-conforming use review.  And what do you think the chances of getting approved would be?

This proposal by the city council runs counter to its stated positions on the environment, not to mention its own Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan policies supporting creation of 15-minute walkable neighborhoods and other policies favoring mixed-use planning, smart growth, and pedestrian uses.

If you are so inclined, you can share your opinion with the city council at council@bouldercolorado.gov, or if you are really motivated, you can attend the council’s public hearing at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3 at 1777 Broadway.

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

Posted on September 4, 2019 at 3:00 pm
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The end may be here (but don’t panic)

At this time last year, our market was experiencing all-time highs for average home prices and all-time lows for housing inventory.  Many of the market indicators we track were pointing to continued strong demand and price appreciation, especially with the continued influx of people into Boulder and Broomfield counties.  And yet, with home price appreciation outstripping wage gains for the better part of a decade, in the back of everyone’s minds was the question: “How long can this go on?”  We may now be starting to get our answer.

The big picture

In 2018 last summer, the Federal Housing Finance Agency measured the average appreciation nationally at 6.89 percent which slowed this year to 5.05 percent.  Then, FHFA ranked Colorado as having the fourth-highest one-year appreciation in the country, at 10.63 percent.  Boulder County ranked 68th among metropolitan areas in the country with 8.25 percent appreciation.  This year, Colorado has dropped to 28th, with 4.78 percent appreciation, while Boulder fell to number 91 with 6.14 percent appreciation  So, Colorado and Boulder County are cooling compared to the rest of the country, but, as a bright spot, Boulder County’s appreciation since 1991 still leads the entire nation at 417.28 percent.

There are 10 statistics we track to gauge the state of the residential real estate market, and studying the movement of these indicators can give you a good sense of the direction of the market.  For most of this decade, those indicators have generally pointed toward a rising market, marked by tight inventory, brisk appreciation, quick sales, and low months of inventory (the time it would take to sell all existing homes if no new homes entered the market).  At the close of the second quarter of 2019, we are seeing a strong shift for both the single-family homes and attached dwellings (see charts).

As you can see, nearly every indicator we track is pointing to a softening, shifting market, aside from interest rates.  And while Months of Inventory still indicates a seller’s market, the trajectory is moving toward a balanced market (between five and seven months of inventory).

And now for the good news

If you are an aspiring buyer in Boulder County, your timing is excellent: inventory is up, so you have more homes to choose from; prices are flat or falling, so you may be able to get a (relative) bargain; and interest rates have dropped once again, so you can get more house for the money.

If you are a homeowner or thinking of selling, the news is not all bad: you’ve rode an impressive wave of appreciation for the better part of a decade; and even when Boulder’s market stalls, it typically does not lose much value (even in the great recession, home prices only dropped about 5 percent).

Remember, don’t panic.  Boulder is still the best place in the country to invest in real estate.

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

Posted on August 1, 2019 at 1:00 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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