The Arete Boulder. Price analysis for Buyers and Sellers

The Arete Boulder is a place I’ve published about before.  You may well be asking  “What is with Dallice’s Arete Boulder condo fascination?”

In short, I have a Buyer.  She is well qualified, flexible with closing date and a joy to work with.  No, I’m not kidding! It’s all true.

My Buyer has been eyeing The Arete Boulder for a while now.  We have viewed all comparably priced single family homes as well as the other secure downtown (and not-so-downtown) condo Boulder buildings:

We have also seen the non-secure buildings… condos along both the east and west ends of Pearl.   Places like 820 Pearl Street (call me about this one… it has a story!) 800 Pearl Street and The Pearl Street Compound.

The Arete Boulder is the one for her.  Like me (and you too), she appreciates the fantastic location.

On the same block as the St Julian Hotel – also a favorite place for my Buyer to stay – The Arete Boulder offers top notch security.   There are multiple barriers to entry, just to park a car in the resident level of the underground parking garage. Upon entering the garage via the alley on the north side of The Arete Boulder, you first pass under the raised barrier arm.  Public parking for Flatirons Bank is the first level.  As  you go down another level, there is a garage door that the resident opens using a key fob.  Only residents can access this level and in order to enter the building from the parking levels, the resident also needs a key fob to work the elevator/doors.

Even better… The key fob associated with a unit on the 2nd floor will only allow the elevator to open on the second floor and the same for all the other condos.  There is no “wandering the halls” and checking the place out.

The Arete Boulder is known for it’s location.  What may be less known is what the units are like inside.  Over the last week or two, I have had the pleasure and privilege to see no less than 8 units.  Three of which are listed for sale on the MLS, five more were shown by the owners, on request.  I would say that three out of the five that are technically “not for sale” could be procured fairly quickly… and the other two, well everyone has a “make me move” price and if they were the right condo for my buyer, I’m sure we could negotiate something that would be a win-win.  :-)

Inside, I found wide, quiet hallways.  Dark wood paneling and high ceilings.  The building was clean, classy and modern with a solid construction feel.  On occasion someone passed us at the elevator, perhaps on their way to dine on Pearl St, hurrying to a work appointment or simply going to walk the dog.  People were friendly and composed.  My buyer felt akin and comfortable here.  So did I!

The condos themselves vary wildly.  Some face north (mostly the odd numbered units) and others face south (mostly the even numbered units).  The south facing units take in more natural light at the Arete Boulder, but also a bit more traffic noise as you open doors to the balconies that overlook Canyon Blvd.  The kitchen may be front and center, or at one end.  If 2 or more bedrooms, they may be beside each other  or separated by bathrooms or living space.  Some bedrooms have a balcony, some don’t even have windows that can be opened.

In short, you cannot possibly know what is going to work for you until you get there.  Space and functional space can be very different animals.  Natural light versus traffic noise needs to be experienced.  But without fail, you will be impressed by the finishes.   High end counters and tile work, contemporary and distinguished lighting, luxurious bathrooms and those high ceilings and heavy doors… Mmmm….  Eye candy for this Realtor!

In saying all this, you know there has to be something I can do to estimate market value of a condo at the Arete Boulder.  That’s why my Buyer chose me, right?  Yes!

I decided that $/square foot was a great analysis for a building where finishes were comparable and location was comparable.  Since the price of The Arete Boulder units has not dramatically changed since they were finished and sold in 2010-2012, my analysis uses ALL the sold data I could dig up.  Then I broke it down into 2 data sets.  Those on the north side of the building vs those on the south.  The end units need to be evaluated on their own merits… #211 is east facing and I lumped it in with the north facing units…. Unit 201 is west facing and has a view, so I lumped it in with the south facing (even numbered) units.  You get the picture?

The Arete Boulder Analysis


The Arete Boulder Analysis

Let’s take a quick look at these charts and note a couple of things:

1.  The odd numbered units that have sold (mainly the north facing units with less natural light and likely no view to the Flatirons) seem to be  smaller.   Ranging from 1000 to 2200 square feet.  The larger units sold range from 1500 to 37oo square feet and are mainly on the south side of the building.

2.  The trend lines on the charts would need to be extrapolated in order to really compare the $/SF between the odd and even numbered units.  A better use of these charts is to plot a unit currently for sale and see where it falls on the trend line.  This was the exact reason I created these for my Buyer.   We took the square footage of The Arete Boulder units 402, 211 and 201 and plotted them to gauge asking price.

Unit P-402 at the Arete Boulder  is on the high end with an asking price of $4.3m.  It sold for just over $4,050,000 in August of 2012. Yes, it’s the penthouse, with ample balcony space, amazing views and lots of sunlight… but in my opinion, it is still overpriced, especially since it doesn’t show spectacularly.  Will it have appraisal issues if it got an offer at $4.3m?  Probably not, so don’t put it under contract at asking price and expect to renegotiate based on the appraisal. In fact, a Buyer of this caliber may not even require an appraisal, but in the event that one is requested, the appraiser may agree that if someone is willing and able to pay this price, it is now the market value.

Unit 201 is located at the end of the building on the west side.  Asking $1.59m for just under 2000 square feet and featuring 3 balconies, the largest with views to the Flatirons (but not straight out the windows, more to the side).  It overlooks the loading bay area of the St Julian Hotel – not bad and fairly low traffic but not ideal either.   I think this unit is actually priced in line with previous sales that face south/have views… but if you compare it to other odd numbered sales (many of which overlook the back alley) it will seem a bit high.  Hence the importance of gathering first hand data… previewing units, understanding the differences that are not square footage based.

Unit 211 at the Arete Boulder is currently for sale for $1,095,000.  It last sold in January 2012 for $1.2m.  The Seller has already moved to his new place – bigger, but still in the same area of downtown Boulder.  Do I hear you say, motivated? At just over 1600 square feet, with 2 beds and 2 baths, facing the east end of the building (decent light but more traffic noise and no view except over 11th Street, how is this unit priced?  About right!  It shows really well and has a pleasing layout… if you don’t mind the master bath just off the dining/kitchen area.  To be honest it was not something that struck me or would bother me, but it was a downside for two female Buyers with whom I have discussed this unit.   Apparently being able to greet guests from the tub if the bathroom door is opened, is not ideal. Go figure!

Final word…

If you are looking to buy or sell at The Arete Boulder… or anywhere in downtown Boulder… I can help!

I have pounded the pavements, done the analysis and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know (and keeping up) with the Arete Boulder market and it’s downtown surroundings.   My job is my pleasure.

Living downtown is a lifestyle choice.  Convenient, hip and sophisticated.  Let me help you take your low maintenance lifestyle to the next level of luxury.

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