What will Boulder Valley real estate look like in the fall?

By “fall,” I mean autumn, not the fall of civilization, which one could be forgiven for misunderstanding.  The past six months have been a crazy rollercoaster ride, and many of the statistics we track indeed look like a sadistic rollercoaster.  One statistician remarked to me that “I have datapoints on my charts where no datapoints have ever been before.”

So, where are we now and what is the fall likely to look like? Let us look at a few key indicators that help tell the story.

Appreciation.  Many people predicted that as uncertainty grew in the pandemic, people would become more conservative in their decisions and less willing to take the risk of purchasing a new home, and average home prices would fall accordingly.  This, however, has not been the case, and single-home values were actually 7% higher at the end of this August than they were in August 2019. The average price of a single-family home in Boulder County is now over $850,000.  What has caused home values to generally increase during the pandemic?  Much of this phenomenon can be explained by looking at inventory, buyer psychology, and interest rates.

Inventory. Inventory, or more specifically the lack thereof, is the biggest story this fall.  At the end of August, the number of active listings in Boulder County was down more than 46% from the same time in 2019.  In fact, we are currently experiencing the fewest number of homes per sale that we have ever seen at this time of year. Remember above where conventional wisdom (wrongly) held that people would become more conservative during a pandemic? Well, it turns out that while it may have been wrong with respect to buyers, it appears to have been a spot-on prediction for sellers.  It seems that those who already own a home are holding onto it as a form of security and are less willing to part with it in these increasingly uncertain times.  And, as basic micro economic theory dictates, when the supply of a good is restricted, it can increase the price of that good, even when buyer demand stays the same.  Only in this case, buyer demand has not stayed the same, it has increased.

Buyer Psychology. It would seem that shelter truly is one of life’s basic necessities, and it further appears that many buyers are seeking to own a home in order to feel more certain in their situations. This can be seen in the 11% decrease in the average days a home spends on the market before selling as compared to last year. And not only are buyers looking for just any home, the pandemic has shifted the kind of home buyers are looking for. Because many people are anticipating spending a greater share of their time at home, they are now looking for larger homes (a home office, more room for family members to spread out, etc.), as well as more land.  For example, the median price for a single-family home (which comes with some land) in the city of Boulder increased about 2% from last August through this August, but the median price for attached dwellings (which mostly do not include a yard) fell 9% over the same period. Not only are buyers looking for larger homes with more land, thanks to historically low interest rates, they can also afford a lot more.

Interest Rates. I have discussed the 1% = 10% Rule for mortgage rates in the past.  Essentially, this rules states that, for every 1% drop in mortgage rates, a buyer can afford 10% more house. And interest rates have plummeted nearly 2%, back to historic lows — to 3% or less for a 30-year fixed conventional mortgage.  We are seeing buyers taking advantage of this extra buying power to buy larger homes with more land. In fact, the median price of homes on the suburban plains and in the mountains, which typically feature larger homes on larger lots, are up 16.3% (almost $100,000) and 18.4%, respectively, compared to this time last year.

Looking forward. What all this means as we head deeper into fall is that it will likely be an unusually good time for homeowners to sell, as less competition and strong demand boost home prices. It is also an unusually good time for home buyers because mortgage rates are projected to stay very low — if they can find an available home.

Of course, this party could be interrupted by more significant spikes in COVID-19 and/or the political fallout of a presidential election whose results are not immediately known. So, buyers and sellers, enjoy October and make hay while the sun shines.

Originally posted by Jay Kalinski is the 2020 chair of the Boulder Area Realtor Association and owner of ReMax of Boulder and ReMax Elevate.

Posted on October 1, 2020 at 4:21 pm
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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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Boulder Valley real estate – Rear and forward view

The year 2019 was another very good year for residential real estate in the Boulder Valley, but unlike the previous five-plus years, it was marked by slowing appreciation, slightly rising inventory (finally), and longer average time on the market.

In Boulder County, median and average sales prices of single-family homes increased by a very modest 1 percent, while attached dwelling (condos and townhomes) appreciation was essentially flat.  In the city of Boulder, the average single-family home sales price increased a modest 2.6 percent to an immodest $1,246,250, while attached dwellings increased 2.4 percent to $538,360.

Single-family listing inventory in Boulder County reached a peak of 1,058 homes and attached dwellings topped out at 370 units on the market, both reaching their peak in June, and both above the peak inventory of the last several years.  To put this in perspective, however, the inventory of single-family homes in 2006 (just before the Great Recession) reached a peak of 2,763, more than two-and-one-half times the peak of 2019.  That is, we still have far less inventory available than we used to.

The average number of days homes stayed on the market before closing reached 61 days, an increase over last year by 5.2 percent for single-family homes and 15.1 percent for attached units.  The average months of inventory (the time it would take for all existing homes to sell if no additional homes came on the market) rose to 1.8 months, an increase of 6 percent for single-family homes and 28.6 percent for attached units.  By traditional standards, this would still qualify as a seller’s market (when months’ of inventory is in the 5-6 percent range, it is considered a balanced market, and we are still a long way from that).  Charts on top  show a snapshot of the Boulder County 10 vital statistics we track to gauge the market.

So, what is going on?  Why do the months’ of inventory indicate that we’re in a strong seller’s market when many of the other metrics are pointing toward a more balanced market?  And what can this tell us about 2020?

Explaining the months of inventory question

There appear to be a couple of key factors keeping our months of inventory much lower than historically.  First, the nation as a whole — and Boulder County especially — have been building far fewer new homes that we were building pre-Great Recession.  This graph from census.gov illustrates the situation well:

In Boulder County, we are getting close to full buildout under our current zoning and land use regulations, meaning that unless they are amended, we will run out of available lots on which to build new housing.  (In practicality, this means that neighboring counties will become our bedroom communities, as Boulder still has the lion’s share of jobs in our area and people will be forced to commute farther and farther.)

Thus, with people continuing to move into the area at a strong pace while building is lagging behind, demand will structurally continue to outpace supply.

Second, people are staying in their homes longer than they used to.  In 2010, homeowners nationwide stayed in their homes an average of eight years before selling.  By 2019, that figure had increased to 13 years. With people selling less frequently, inventory goes down and, with strong demand like we have in Boulder, months of inventory stays low, too.

In Boulder, this issue is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of our homeowners are older (the National Association of Realtors reports that homeowners 73 years and older stay in their homes for an average of 17 years) and many of these Boulderites want to continue to age in place.  Moreover, the Boulder Valley does not have a lot of options for the elderly looking to downsize and stay in their current community.

Accordingly, housing turnover is lower than it used to be, and this trend is likely to be even stronger in Boulder, further suppressing inventory.

So what?

For 2020, it appears that our available housing inventory will continue to be reined in by the structural impediments of inability to build sufficient new housing and current homeowners staying in place.  That will put upward pressure on prices.  Continued migration into our area fueled by our (currently) robust economy will keep demand high and put additional upward pressure on prices.  Additionally, our return to very low interest rates will allow more potential buyers to qualify for our expensive property than would have otherwise been the case.

On the other side of the equation, home prices have risen so high (especially in the city of Boulder) that, even with low interest rates, the pool of buyers able to buy in our area will be relatively small.  Moreover, the political uncertainty of election years can cause people to take fewer risks (such as buying a home).  The fact that this promises to be an especially colorful election cycle will likely be a drag on demand as we get closer to November.

Based on the foregoing, if I had to make a prediction, I would suspect that the first part of the year will have very strong activity, with prices rising and multiple offer situations being not uncommon.  Then, I suspect that the market may cool as we get closer to the election, which may be an especially good time to buy for those with intestinal fortitude.

 

Originally posted by Jay Kalinski

Posted on February 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm
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RE/MAX of Boulder Thanks Boulder County and Turns Up the Music

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 here by RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, July 27th, 2018 at 9:26am.

Posted on August 6, 2018 at 7:00 pm
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Spring Home Sales Continue to Surge

Spring selling season in Boulder County continues to soar with April’s residential sales keeping pace with last month’s rocketing sales as well as outperforming April last year.

“Demand remains strong and inventory tight, keeping upward pressure on pricing,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

The 345 single-family homes that sold in April 2018 topped March’s rising sales by one unit or .3 percent; and the 126 condominiums and townhomes sold in April represented an additional 4 sold or 3.3 percent over last month.

Year-over-year Boulder-area single-family home sales climbed 5.4 percent through April 2018 – 1,198 homes sold vs. 1,137 – and condo/townhomes sales increased 5.9 percent with 447 units sold compared to 422.

Inventory also grew, which has proven to be a key factor in maintaining sales.

“While inventory showed solid increases in both single-family and condo/townhomes, we could use three-to-four times that amount to meet demand,” says Hotard.

Countywide single-family inventory increased 18.2 percent in April over March with 770 homes for sale vs. 651. Condo/townhome inventory improved 16.4 percent over the same period – 163 units vs. 140.

Hotard says evidence shows prices may have not yet reached a peak. “This is the first time I recall median prices over $1 million. It’s clear that with the city of Boulder built out on single-family housing stock, it’s putting pressure on prices.”

He notes that many dynamics shape the market. “Clearly affordability is a big issue – it influences who can live here, whether purchasing or renting. As more people can’t afford to live here, it’s a big loss because we are losing high quality people and the marketplace is becoming more exclusionary.”

Noting that buyers are coming from many places including California, Chicago, Texas and Nebraska, Hotard says people look to Colorado because of the entrepreneurial spirit and low unemployment.

Hotard summarizes, “As Boulder is to Colorado, Colorado is to the rest of the country.”

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 at 11:56am.

Posted on May 30, 2018 at 9:48 pm
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What Not to Do Once Your Mortgage Is Approved

The real estate market in Boulder County is red hot, which makes maintaining your mortgage approval a must if you’re shopping for a home.

“It can be a lot of work to get your mortgage approved. Once it is approved, it is important not to make any major financial changes until you sign your final disclosure and the loan is closed,” says Jessica Shanahan, loan officer with Premier Lending.

To keep your mortgage approval, you need to know the financial moves not to make.

Your mortgage approval is primarily based on documenting your income and assets, your equity stake or down payment, your credit history and the cash you’ll have left over after the deal is done, according to Tuttle’s Real Estate Update.

After your mortgage is approved, don’t change any one of those qualifiers without first consulting your loan officer or you could lose your mortgage.

Here’s Real Estate Update’s list of what not to do:

Avoid Big Purchases

Don’t buy a new car or another large possession, or change the lease on your current car. It could show up on your credit report or bank statement. The new loan or purchase amount could tilt the debt-to-income ratio the lender used to approve your home loan, and your mortgage could vaporize.

Don’t Get New Credit

Don’t sign up for any new credit cards or other lines of credit, even for a zero interest rate. Resist all of those credit card offers that flow in after you get your mortgage approval.

Don’t Miss a Bill Payment or Pay Late

Pay your bills on time without fail, even if you dispute the charge. If you stop paying a bill, it can end up on your credit report and cause a problem with your mortgage.

Don’t Change Jobs

Now isn’t the time to start a new job or lose the job you have. It is okay to take a second job, as long as you keep the job you have. However, if you should be so fortunate as to get a promotion and raise, your mortgage shouldn’t be jeopardized.

Don’t Spend Your Cash

Don’t use your cash reserves, transfer large sums between bank accounts, or make undocumented transactions in your back account – either deposits or withdrawals. This activity can cause your mortgage approval to be reversed.

Just remember to control items that affect your financial picture, and barring any uncontrollable life events, your mortgage should be fine.

For more information see: https://bit.ly/2JzU2lx

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, April 13th, 2018 at 12:09pm.
Posted on April 17, 2018 at 5:29 pm
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Boulder Real Estate Market Holds Steady, Despite Pressure

 

Early in 2018 the real estate outlook for Boulder County looks strong, even while sailing into the same headwinds that prevailed last year: low inventory and rising prices.

But this year promises additional gusts in the form of rising interest rates.

“None of the fundamentals in the market have changed, except a small rise in interest rates and the anticipation of additional increases,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

“January data shows year over year single-family home sales are about the same as last year, and condos and townhomes are up significantly.”

Single-family home sales for Boulder County are down a single unit or .05 percent with 220 units sold in January 2018 compared with 221 in January 2017. Month-over-month, January sales dropped 39 percent for the first month of 2018 compared to December’s 363 units sold.

In condominium/townhomes, 88 units sold in January 2018, a 44.3 percent improvement compared with 61 units sold a year ago, but a 26.7 percent drop compared with the 120 units sold in December.

“December finished strong and the totals for 2017 pushed over and above 2016 slightly, which makes having a strong January challenging,” says Hotard.

Inventory continued its persistent decline. Single-family homes for sale in the Boulder-area declined 1.3 percent in January 2018 compared to December 2017 – 550 units vs. 557.

Meanwhile, condominium and townhome inventory improved 8.3 percent in January compared to December – 130 units versus 120.

Hotard notes that rising mortgage rates is a new factor for real estate markets that have seen a long run of low interest rates. He says the question is whether rising rates, while still historically low, will have a dampening effect on pricing or sales.

“Affordability is already an issue in Boulder, Louisville and Niwot. If interest rates go up people may have greater difficulty affording higher priced homes,” he adds. For 2017, Boulder’s median sales price came in over $800,000, Niwot’s roughly $750,000 and Louisville’s nearing $575,000.

With minimal data to consider this early in the year, Hotard is reluctant to predict this year’s market.

“For now, the data is over a small number of sales, so it’s difficult to identify trends. But this market has been strong for years and it is likely to continue to be strong.”

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 9:37am.

Posted on March 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm
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Colorado Among Top 10 Predicted to Have Strong Housing Market

Ranked the No. 7 strongest housing market in the U.S., real estate sales in Colorado will remain robust in 2018, according to analysis by credit.com.

The predicted increase is around 3.1 percent. Colorado Springs is emerging as the top city for growth and median home prices are predicted to rise 5.7 percent through 2018.

Colorado’s home prices saw the sharpest increase in the U.S. over the past two years, reports credit.com. That’s quite a mark, given that 2016 existing home sales nationwide were the strongest they’ve been in a decade, following the worst housing crisis in U.S. history. In 2018, the nation’s housing market’s strength is expected to continue with U.S. home prices expected to rise 4.6 percent.

Here are 10 states that are predicted to be among the top performers in 2018:

  1.       Nevada

Median home values in Las Vegas are expected to rise approximately 5.8 percent over the next 12 months. The median home price is approximately $285,045.

  1.       Texas

Lower taxes and a lower cost of living continue to lure profitable companies to relocate, expand or launch businesses inTexas. As a result, housing has boomed in Dallas and many other areas. In 2018, home sales are expected to gown 6 percent. The median home price in North Texas is $339,950.

  1.       Florida

Florida cities Deltona and Lakeland lead Florida’s strong housing market. With the appeal of ocean-side living, warm weather, and the ability to live an active lifestyle, Florida’s most popular areas are expected to see a more than 5% boost. The median home price in Deltona is $275,050.

  1.       California

Stockton – one of California’s fastest-growing cities – is predicted to grow its housing market by 4.6 percent. With a median home price of $385,050, Stockton is far more affordable than the state’s most desirable areas. For example, the median price of a home in San Francisco has increased $100,000 in the past year.

  1.       Utah

The Provo/Orem region was recently ranked as the best-performing city by the Miliken Institute, due to a robust high-tech sector and broad-based job and wage growth. Salt Lake City’s median home price averages $360,000, and housing sales are predicted to grow 3.2 percent in 2018.

  1.       North Carolina

People are moving into North Carolina from other states, driving a strong housing market with home sales predicted to grow 6 percent in 2018. The median home price averages $325,000.

  1.       Colorado

With the several year surge in housing prices, affordability is a growing issue in the Mile High City. Even so, the market is predicted to remain strong, leveling out a bit in 2018 to around 3.1 percent. Colorado Springs tops the cities for growth and the median home price there is slated to rise 5.7 percent this year.

Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia round out the list of the top 10 strongest housing markets in the U.S. for 2018, says Credit.Com. Nashville, Oklahoma City and Atlanta all bring the secret sauce that bolster home values. Median prices are $385,000; $99,000; and $218,350, respectively.

Read the full article at https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/10-states-predicted-strong-housing-markets-2018

 

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 at 4:22pm.

Posted on March 6, 2018 at 7:29 pm
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ONE MINUTE TAX UPDATE

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act brings major federal tax changes.

Important to us estate planning attorneys, the new law doubles the estate and gift tax exemption, from $5.49 million in 2017 to approximately $11.2 million in 2018. The new tax law maintains “portability” (which allows surviving spouses to use their deceased spouse’s unused exemption), meaning a married couple’s combined estate and gift tax exemption is now approximately $22.4 million. Just to be clear, that’s the amount a married couple can transfer, during life or at death, without paying any estate or gift taxes. The tax rate on anything over the exemption amount remains steady at a flat 40%.

The annual gift tax exemption has increased from $14,000 (where it has been for the past five years) to $15,000. This is due to inflation adjustments and not the new tax law. I explained how the annual gift tax exemption works in an interview last year (note, however, that since the interview was recorded before the new tax law it uses the old 2017 figures).

It’s also important to understand what the new tax law hasn’t changed. The new law keeps the step-up in basis at death, which is a huge tax boon to those who inherit appreciated assets.

Many folks have estate plans that were designed to avoid or delay estate taxes. Such plans may no longer be appropriate now that the estate and gift tax exemption is much higher. In fact, many tactics used to plan around the estate tax eliminate the step-up in basis at death, meaning those who in inherit have to pay higher capital gains taxes.

To learn more about these tax changes and how to protect your estate, contact our office for a no-obligation consultation. Contact us here or call 720-588-9830.

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Posted on February 23, 2018 at 10:19 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , ,

Boulder-area Home Sales Reach New Heights – Again

It’s the same old story, but one we love to hear. Boulder County home sales closed 2017 with yet another increase over the previous year, despite ongoing low inventory, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.

“All in all, the year was positive. Sales increased moderately over 2016 in both single-family and attached residential housing,” says Hotard.

That’s saying a lot, since sales have increased in Boulder County for several years in a row and prices have increased significantly, while inventory levels never cease to become more challenging.

“The past several years have a pattern of similarity. It’s a sure sign that the demand for a home in Boulder County is strong and undeterred,” he says.

In fact, year-over-year increases in sales were only about 1 percent apart in each market category. Condominiums and townhomes lead with a 5.6 percent rise through December 2017 – 1508 homes sold vs. 1,428 through 2016 – while sales of single-family homes improved 4.4 percent for the year with 4,612 homes sold vs. 4,419.

Month-to-month sales of single-family homes were virtually unchanged, increasing .1 percent in December 2017 compared to November 2017 – 363 vs. 359 units. In the same period, sales of attached dwellings dropped 2.4 percent compared to the previous month – 120 units vs. 123.

Hotard says lack of inventory is a problem plaguing Boulder County that shows little sign of change in the near future.

Inventory of single-family homes dropped 28.3 percent in December compared to November—declining to 557 units from 777, while multi-family unit inventory decreased 5.5 percent—138 units versus 146—over the same period.

Adding to the inventory crunch, demographers say age is starting to catch up with Boulder County. State demographics show the size of the retired Baby Boomer age group will reach unprecedented levels in the coming years.

Experts say older people tend to move less and age in place. Hotard cautions the aging population could make the already tight housing inventory even tighter over the next decade.

Where might inventory easing come from? Hotard notes that Boulder city leaders are looking at land use policies that may bring some limited relief by making it easier to build Accessory Dwelling Units or Occupant Accessory Units. And there’s consideration being given to a targeted zoning change that would allow two homes to be built on larger lots where only one home currently stands.

None of these changes, though, will have the impact needed soon enough or large enough to negate the fact that many people who work in the city of Boulder will likely live somewhere else. Hotard believes that improved public regional transportation will be a needed component of our housing picture.

“We’re in the midst of a big shift,” says Hotard. “Boulder Valley used to be 25 square miles surrounded by reality. Now it’s 25 square miles surrounded by competition. That competition is in shopping, locations for businesses, housing and jobs.”

Housing start statistics show that building has increased in Eerie and the tri-towns of Dacono, Frederick and Firestone north of Boulder.

“Increasing inventory in these towns is helping to keep pricing in check in Boulder,” Hotard says of the competition. “Moderating prices is probably a good thing.”

But he remains confident that Boulder County holds strong as a place that people want to live. He expects 2018 to be another positive year in the area’s residential real estate, beginning with a strong first quarter. With interest rates expected to slowly rise, buyers will be motivated to move earlier in the year rather than later.

“As long as we have the beauty and quality of life Boulder County offers, people will want to live here.” And that means our real estate market will be rock solid.

Originally posted here by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 11:57am.

Posted on February 23, 2018 at 9:00 pm
Jay Kalinski | Category: RE/MAX of Boulder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,