Boulder County real estate data
Boulder County real estate data could well be your first port of call when deciding to move here, deciding where to buy in the area, or trying to figure out decisions like “moving up” or “moving down”. Within 30 minutes drive time of Boulder, there are a half a dozen diverse communities to choose from, all of which offer something wonderful. One (or more) of which, is the right fit for you.
Boulder County Real Estate Data : BOULDER
For those wishing to relocate to the Boulder area, there is some “getting to know the market” to do. It can be disappointing and a little painful to learn that Boulder itself may not be best fit for your budget… Or (heaven forbid) you may decide that the culture and opportunity in the general area is great, but Boulder, with all its uniqueness, is not quite what you are looking for.
The City of Boulder has largely been insulated from much of the ups and downs that defined the real estate market in the economic period of 2007-2012. The real estate bubble that took Phoenix, Las Vegas, Florida, California and so much of the U.S. on a wild ride to the top and plummeted them into the depths of despair was not something that the Boulder area experienced to the same degree. For sure we had rising prices and yes, anyone with a pulse (weak and irregular was ok) could get a loan back in 2007, but in general having our “tech bubble burst” early in the cycle, put a damper on the runaway prices… As well as the loan fraud and real estate speculation that it seemingly attracts.
So what happened when the big crash came to Boulder County, Colorado?
While those states/cities that had skyrocketing prices experienced the downside of the upside, our area showed a more muffled effect. Boulder County real estate data proves the pendulum always swings the other way and the higher the prices went, the further they fell during the recession. For a couple of years the high end of the Boulder real estate market suffered. Homes priced over a million dollars took the biggest hit and inventory levels 2009-2011 stayed high. It was expected that you might wait 2 years on the market before selling your luxury home in Boulder. You might have also best spent this time bracing yourself for low offers from opportunistic buyers. Buyers were patrolling the market casually. If they had the money and felt secure enough to take on a new financial responsibility, they wanted something in return for helping a seller out. They wanted rock bottom prices and were willing to wait. Inventory was plentiful and qualified buyers were not. But it was not sustainable… It never is. Price points further down felt the effect of luxury homes being fire-saled (maybe too dramatic, maybe not!). The trickle down effect meant real estate priced in the $900,000 – $550,000 range also felt some degree of price shifting. The real estate market in Boulder had concertina effect in the middle range, but by the time you looked at the price range that is detached houses under $500,000 it was hard to see any effect at all. This price range (the bottom of the buying market in Boulder for detached dwellings) was still seeing mild appreciation or perhaps was a little bit stagnant, but it certainly didn’t adjust backwards. “Starter homes” in Boulder have always been in demand. Why? Probably because there are less of them than “starter home buyers” and they fall into the only price point that is manageable for many new buyers. It’s not often a first time buyer can just pop up into the $600,000 price range because that opens up more inventory and new possibilities for them. If they could, they might find homes that are in more desirable locations, but not necessarily bigger, newer or needing less work.
So where does a buyer go if they can’t meet their real estate needs in Boulder, or simply would rather not. Chances are they still want access to the open spaces, shopping, employment and education opportunities in Boulder County.
Surrounding communities: Boulder County real estate data:
Long hailed as one of the best places to raise a family in the U.S, Louisville has a cute Old Town, modern shopping conveniences, Boulder Valley schools (including Monarch High School, one of the highest rated in the state) and is an easy 10 minute commute to Boulder.
The median sales price in Louisville has been increasing steadily for years and here you can find a mix of small historic homes, adorable starter homes in family friendly neighborhoods, spacious sun-filled homes in covenant controlled neighborhoods (such as The Enclave) and high end custom renovations that are walkable to charming Old Town.
One thing to remember about Louisville is that it has just over 10,000 housing units, total. At any given time inventory is low compared to the number of buyers prowling and compared to other communities. Its small data set for sold properties means the median sold price during any given month is open to significantly greater fluctuation. The average days to contract in June 2014 was: 17
See below for the ABSORPTION CHART… How many sold compared to how many for sale in June.
What I like about Longmont is there is something for everyone. The Old Town is experiencing a level of revival that is pleasing (and long overdue) and a Friday evening in summer could see you attending a gallery opening before relaxing with friends and great food. Home prices are significantly less than Boulder (1/3-1/2 the price) and yet you are still just 20-25 minutes from the Boulder experience. Being 20-25 minutes from the Foothills ensures a snow-capped view of the Rocky Mountains and the drive is really quite pleasant down the Diagonal Hwy! Longmont is a city with history… Colorful history (see my summary under the “Communities” section of this website).
While it hasn’t benefited from the same degree of appreciation that Boulder and Louisville have, Longmont does offer a steady supply of more affordable real estate and its market stats are reliable due to the higher numbers of sales each month. The average days to contract in June 2014 was: 18 (Yes, it’s hoppng!) When the market dipped and suffered in 2008-2012, Longmont was hit hard. It was Boulder County’s foreclosure capital and became a golden opportunity for investors and first time home buyers to snap up real estate for darn good prices! Today, those same homes are priced much higher and if you think you can walk in and a 3+ bedroom house in a decent area for under $200,000 you need to think again. You will be competing with at least a half dozen other buyers… Many with cash.
You thought Longmont was a mixed bag? Lafayette has the cute Old Town, the cheap and cheerful neighborhoods where you might pick up a 1600 square foot house for under $200,000 (much less during 2009-2011) and on the opposite end of the spectrum, high end homes and brand new construction to make your mouth water. Appreciate Lafayette for its diversity, convenience and potential. Many of my clients (first time buyers, move up buyers and retiring buyers alike) choose Lafayette as an alternative to buying in Boulder and love it. As with any fairly small data set, be careful with stringent interpretation. The average days to contract in June 2014 was: 50 Longer than Louisville and Longmont, right? Yes. With a good amount of new construction going on, you should keep in the back of your mind that builders often float a home for sale on the MLS long before construction gets going or even use one MLS number to represent several similar properties. Days on market or days to contract for new construction is often much longer than regular MLS listed real estate. With a data set of only 31 sold detached homes, even just one or two properties with days to contract over 4 months will significantly impact the average.
On first glance, a couple of things stand out. Yes, the volatile looking median sales price is one of them. Again, taking a look a the chart that outlines inventory in June (a peak sales month in our seasonal market) we see that Superior is a small market and with such a tiny data set, any sale has the potential to impact the median sales price. The second thing you might notice is is that Superior has a median sales price that rivals (sometimes surpasses) Louisville. Surprised?
Superior Colorado is a newer town. Located close to Louisville and bumping up against Broomfield on the west side of the Hwy 36, it’s conveniently located for an easy to commute to Boulder, Denver, Golden and all that lies in the middle. As it town it has plenty of it’s own modern conveniences… Costco, Whole Foods, Super Target, Ice Skating and a boat load of affordable shopping and dining. It is also close enough to Louisville’s movie theaters, dining, home improvement stores etc, that you barely even knew you’d ventured into another city!
A large part of Superior is newer, planned neighborhoods. Curving streets and cul-de-sacs meander over the rolling land and many homes have Foothills views or back to open spaces and walking trails. Typical for construction in the 90’s and later, neighborhoods have a well manicured, if not “cookie cutter” look to them. Homes are larger, have more natural light, bigger kitchens and living spaces, storage and more than you will see in Louisville and Boulder… 3 car garages! There are far fewer of the little fixer-uppers that would lower a median and most homes that sell are “family sized” with prices that reflect such.
Another blog post will follow with price/square foot data to compare Louisville and Superior a little better. For now, just take my word for it. You get a very different real estate product in Superior than Louisville and a different feel for location too.
This is a town that is actually very interesting. Once a “bedroom community” where folks came home to, but worked and played elsewhere, Erie is changing. It’s a huge space. Not yet built out as much as it could be, plenty of open space and the capacity to increase it’s population a lot! County line roads runs through the middle of Erie. West of the line is Boulder County, east of the line is Weld County. Neighborhoods are predominantly newer, but there is an old town too.
Up on Vista Ridge there is a country club of sorts and golf course. Many (or all) of the newer (less than 10 years) neighborhoods are in special taxing districts – higher taxes to recover the costs of building out the infrastructure. Tri-County Airport and Erie Airpark sits just below Vista Ridge and on the Weld County side. (Ask me about owning a home and hanger… having taxi-way access… Enjoying the pilot’s lifestyle!)
Erie is a 20-30 drive from Boulder and Denver and being this little further east from the Foothills, many homes appreciate the snow-capped views that comes with gaining perspective. Homeowners also enjoy a strong community, steadily increasing amenities and relatively affordable real estate. I often start out with young families or professional couples who think they want to be in Boulder or Louisville only to discover that the pull of larger, newer homes and more bang for their buck, draws them to Erie.
In 2008-2011, Erie had a lot of foreclosures. Inventory was super high and it was possible to offer low and buy low on an already well priced, vacant house. One of my clients picked up a large “model home” on a quiet cul-de-sac. Newly constructed and purchased, but never lived in – he peeled the blue plastic off the bathroom fixtures after move-in. In the dead of winter we had shopped foreclosures. The price of walking through winterized homes with no ability to turn on lights, paid off! His house appraised over $100,000 more than he paid for it at the time of purchase – and significantly more since the market began it’s recovery. Some saw the down market as grim in 2008… Others of us saw opportunity knocking. 🙂