BOULDER – While still early, 2016 is shaping up to be a lot like 2015 in many ways for Boulder-area real estate.
Home sales rose in February 2016 compared to last month’s modest number, showing improvement in sales data for single-family and attached dwellings in Boulder County, according to Boulder Area Realtor® Association statistics.
But, year-to-date, sales declined and inventory – already at record lows – was virtually unchanged.
“I consider February’s sales something of a recovery over a fairly slow January, so we’re getting into more of a normalized market now that the holiday period is over,” said Ken Hotard, vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
He added that while the Boulder-area market likely will be positive for 2016 real estate sales, it may not be as robust as 2015.
“At this point in the year, it looks like there are factors – lack of inventory, higher prices and stagnant wages – that indicate that expectations may need to be tempered,” said Hotard.
Sales of single-family homes in the Boulder-area increased by 22.4 percent compared to January – 251 units versus 205. Condominium and townhome sales rose 66.7 percent month-over-month – 75 units versus 45.
Year-to-date, single-family home sales in the Boulder-area fell 6.1 percent through February 2016, with 429 homes sold versus 457. The number of condominiums and townhomes sold also dropped, marking a 26.9 percent year-to-date decline with 122 units sold versus 167 units for the same period in 2015.
Inventory for both single-family and attached Boulder County dwellings was virtually unchanged in February compared to January. Single-family home inventory declined a slight .035 percent – 572 units versus 574 units – while townhome and condominium inventory improved .027 percent – 77 units versus 75 units – month-over-month.
For people who need or want to buy a home in Boulder County, the market remains competitive and relatively high-priced. Economic forces and lack of inventory are likely to keep it that way.
“It’s a situation that’s playing out in many places around the country. But, it’s accentuated here, because Boulder County is a relatively higher-cost area,” said Hotard.
Longmont, while more expensive than it used to be, is still an attractive option, with median and average sales prices for single-family homes at $337,000 and $370,000 respectively. “That’s half the price of a single-family home in Boulder, so there’s affordability in that market,” said Hotard.
Noting that build out under the current zoning is being approached in nearby Boulder-area markets, Hotard said that while we have a housing affordability challenge, he would not call it a crisis. “It’s something to work on and try to address using a variety of means – and the community is working to address it,”
“We have a high quality of life in our communities, which makes the area highly desirable and thus more expensive,”
And job growth for Colorado – a significant driver of housing demand – is expected to continue, with 50,000-plus jobs forecasted again this year.
“There doesn’t appear to be anything on the horizon that’s going to affect the short term,” added Hotard.
“For Boulder Valley real estate, it looks like 2016 will be a positive year.”
By Tom Kalinski, RE/MAX of Boulder