If March’s sales are any indication, the Boulder-area real estate market is showing signs of life once again.
Boulder-area single-family home sales for the month hit 270, a 27 percent increase compared with the 212 units that sold in March 2011. And 88 townhomes and condominiums sold in March compared with 75 sales a year ago, an increase of 17 percent.
“I believe this is the best month we’ve had in a couple of years,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor Association. “I think you’re seeing signs that credit is easing a bit.”
For the first three months of 2012, 622 single-family homes sold compared with the 515 homes that sold in the first quarter of 2011, a 21 percent increase. The Boulder-area condo/townhome market saw about an 8 percent increase quarter-to-quarter, with 206 condos/townhomes selling in the first quarter of 2012 compared with the 191 units that sold in 2011.
However, the credit market hasn’t improved enough to really get real estate moving, and the lack of inventory is restraining the market, as well, Hotard says.
He adds that he expects inventory to increase in the next couple of months, and he is hearing from area Realtors that they are seeing more listing activity.
“Busy Realtors are happy Realtors,” Hotard says.
Regional job growth – though not rapid or impressive – is consistent, with new businesses locating in the area, and both residential and commercial construction activity are picking up, he says.
“If we can sustain this through the middle of the summer, we’re going to end up having a pretty good year,” Hotard says.
While the average and median sales prices increased in virtually every Boulder-area community, the month-over-month prices continue to lag with decreases in the majority of Boulder-area markets in March compared with March 2011.
Hotard says the price statistics are “slightly misleading,” as “the market hasn’t changed much as far as pricing. It’s actually showing the strength of our real estate market. We’re enjoying stable property values even through this recession.”
He points out that the Boulder-area market has also had three consecutive quarters of positive data.
“We’re on the verge of calling this a trend,” he says with a chuckle, adding he remains cautious. “We may have turned the corner and I think we will continue to see improvement moving forward. I’m encouraged.”