Buyers are leaning towards properties that have expansive views, great outdoor spaces and easy access to trails. 275 Alpine Drive in Nederland, showcases it’s ultimate “wow” feature: A lake view. (Photo: Rob Larsen Photography/RE/MAX Alliance).

Local snapshot on Boulder County, reveals trends statewide

The coronavirus pandemic has been a mainstay for nearly a year now, and, with all the extra time spent hunkered down at home, many people are reimagining the very definitions of their living spaces. In fact, a home isn’t just a living space anymore. It’s a workspace, classroom, gym, meditation studio and so much more.

No doubt, COVID-19 changed the priorities of buyers. Ample outdoor space, for instance, has always been on buyer’s wish lists. Now, in an era of COVID, it’s a coveted amenity.

But, in addition to the pandemic, record-low interest rates, an inventory shortage and a potential urban exodus are influencing the 2021 real estate market. Specifically, in Boulder County, home prices are reaching record highs as buyers are looking to trade dense cities to live in places surrounded by nature.

The average sales price of single-family homes in Boulder County in December 2020, the latest data available, was $855,461 — which is a 15.7 percent increase from the prior year, according to a report from the Colorado Association of Realtors. Meanwhile, the inventory of the single-family homes for sale in December 2020 was down 62 percent from the previous year. These homes are getting snapped up much quicker, too, spending an average of 48 days on the market compared to
55 days a year ago.

Statewide, the average sales price on single-family home sales increased nearly 21 percent in December 2020 compared to December 2019 and days on the market dropped from
56 to 39.

“In regards to inventory, this is the tightest we have ever seen the market for properties above $2.5 million,” says Greg Smith, broker and owner with RE/MAX Alliance, which serves Boulder Valley. (Case-in-point: About four in 10 of these luxury properties that are listed within the city of Boulder are under contract). Also, homes are flying off the market at their list prices or above.

To put it another way, there’s intense competition for single-family homes, especially luxury ones, that are in short-supply.

We caught up with real estate experts from WK Real Estate, RE/MAX Alliance and RE/MAX of Boulder to get a pulse on the luxury housing market in the area and to hear what trends they expect to be at play for the rest of 2021. Here, five trends that will shape the luxury real estate market in Boulder County in this unprecedented year, according to experts.

Dedicated spaces are a must
In the luxury market, Realtors® tell the story of a home, explains Todd Gullette, managing broker of RE/MAX of Boulder. The narrative goes beyond the home’s finishes, with a focus on the type of lifestyle that a luxury home can provide. In today’s market, when Realtors are telling the story of a listing, they’re talking about the yoga studios, the extra office space and how you can get outside and be in the sun and be close to walking trails, Gullette says. Now more than ever, homes are wellness spaces. They’re zen spaces. When at home, Gullette says, people need to feel physically, mentally and psychologically healthy in their living spaces.

As part of this trend, buyers are expecting their homes to have multiple functional spaces. Home offices, art studios and in-law suites are all showing up on the must-have lists, Smith says.

57 Acorn Lane in Boulder, which is currently under contract, has a unique feature: A bathtub with a wall that opens up to a sweeping view. (Photo: RE/MAX of Boulder).

Outdoor space tops buyers’ wishlists
The great outdoors got even greater in the past year. Today’s buyers are putting an even bigger emphasis on their desires for space and privacy, and access to outdoor amenities.

Buyers, Smith says, are leaning towards properties that have expansive views, great outdoor spaces and easy access to trails.

“This is different than we have seen in the past when proximity to downtown was far more important,” Smith says.

One of RE/MAX Alliance’s listings — 275 Alpine Drive in Nederland — has the ultimate “wow” feature: A lake view. The urban chalet is perched on a hillside with mountain views, too, offering an ultimate two-for-one. The home is outfitted with plenty of windows to show off the stunning views.

While buyers have always sought out Colorado for its mountains, trails and abundance of sunshine, Gullette says, these attributes are even more attractive as people look for an area where they can enjoy time outside

As far as home features go, Gullette says, there’s also a new demand for pools. In the past, pools didn’t add much value to homes, and were often seen as a negative because the required maintenance. Now, buyers are interested in at-home pool days and pool builders are having a tough time keeping up with the surge in interests.

One of RE/MAX of Boulder’s listings that is currently under contract — 57 Acorn Lane in Boulder — has a unique feature: A bathtub with a wall that opens up to a sweeping view. It’s like a bath on the side of a mountain, Gullette says.

Smart home technology is evolving
“Smart home technology is really coming to the forefront,” Smith says.

If you would have mentioned a “smart home” a few years ago, you’d probably think of things like Amazon’s Alexa, as well as voice-controlled thermostats and home security cameras.
But smart features have made quantum leaps in the most
recent year.

Just about everything in a home — lights, appliances, speakers, garage doors, cooking utensils, window blinds — can connect to the Internet.

Among some of the smart home features of the future are refrigerators that are equipped with UV sanitizers and that are capable of keeping inventory of its contents, helping generate shopping lists. Smart bathrooms can now involve touchless technology and LCD shower panels that give you control over optimal shower temperature, water pressure, steam and music.

With the option to work from anywhere, people have an eye on Boulder
As the pandemic swept the globe, the world went virtual almost overnight. Companies experimented with remote workplaces and now many are adopting more permanent work-from-home policies. Those who have been tethered to offices in major metros have the freedom to move about the country now.

“I call it the ‘airplane effect’,” Smith says. “Pre-COVID when you’d meet someone on an airplane and tell them where you’re from, the first response is: ‘Oh my gosh, I love Boulder, Colorado. I’ve always wanted to live there or I have friends and family there.’ Now, the remote work trend has allowed this dream to become a reality for many and people are making the move.”

Smith is seeing people migrate from downtown areas to the mountains or to larger parcels in eastern portions of the county. The modern farmhouse on 5 to 10 acres has become hot,
Smith says.

Inbound buyers are coming from areas like Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Chicago, New York and Texas, Smith says.

“Many of them are looking for a better quality of life,” he says.

Economic viability
COVID-19 has brought about a lot of economic uncertainty, with entire industries being paused amid the pandemic. Buyers are looking to communities that not just offer great lifestyle amenities, but also have a strong economic backbone.

Fortunately, as the team at WK Real Estate points out, Colorado’s Front Range is “an economic, professional and lifestyle powerhouse” thanks to recession-proof government and university jobs that contribute to a stable job market.

The positive employment outlook and a strong local economy also set the local market apart.

Plus, the views of the flatirons are an added perk.

By Brittany Anas, At Home Colorado.

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