While Boulder County home sales improved month-over-month in
September again – the fourth consecutive month – average and median house
prices continued to demonstrate volatility.
Boulder communities had 244 single-family homes sell in
September, compared with 227 in September 2010 – a 7 percent increase – and 335
in August 2011. In the townhome/condominium market, 88 homes sold in September
compared with 72 a year ago – a 22 percent jump – and 118 in August 2011.
The communities of Erie, Longmont and the mountains all saw
drops in average price while those communities as well as Superior and
Louisville also saw median home prices decrease slightly in September. The
mountains saw the biggest drop in both average and median home sale prices,
falling 5.6 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the
Boulder Area Realtor® Association, says prices are showing “little bigger
swings but nothing too extreme” in the single-family market.
The townhome/condominium market’s prices are much less
reliable, with Erie, Louisville and Superior seeing average price decreases in
the double-digit range, and Erie and Louisville experiencing similar decreases
in their median sale prices.
“Three key things playing in the market right now: economic
uncertainty, relatively high unemployment and tight lending,” Hotard says. “In
the Boulder and Broomfield county markets, the good news here has been we’ve
seen solid improvement in unemployment numbers.”
Boulder County’s unemployment rate was 5. 9 percent in September,
and Broomfield County’s stood at 6.7 percent – both well below the national
average of 9.1 percent – while Colorado’s unemployment rate came in at 8.3 percent.
Hotard says it’s easier to find financing and federal tax
credits are currently available for multifamily rental housing, fueling the
increase in apartment construction. “That’s where the game is at the moment in
terms of housing finance,” he says. “You really do have to look at your local
market to get a sense of what’s going on.”
And the Boulder-Broomfield area, in particular, managed to
weather the downturn in much better shape than most parts of the country. The
biggest challenge here has been sales volume, which has been showing solid
improvement since June, he says.
Hotard notes that Colorado’s economic recovery isn’t
necessarily tied to the nation’s, but anything that happens on a national level
will filter down to the state and local market, whether good or bad.
And incoming businesses providing jobs in the high-tech
industry and electronic device manufacturing along the Front Range – one with
3,500 jobs – show that Colorado and its qualified labor force are still
attractive to companies.
Hotard says that although homes sales in the last 12 months
still lag behind the previous 12 months in both the single-family and attached
markets, 2011 sales may yet exceed those of 2010.
“We’re going to need some strong sales going through the last three months of the year, but we’ve still got a shot at beating last year,” he says.