2016: Experts predict continued demand, rising prices

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Thursday, December 3rd, 2015 at 6:44pm.

More than 200 professionals in the Boulder-area real estate industry heard national and local experts predict "happy times" and on-going challenges for 2016 at the eighth annual Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference in November, sponsored by REMAX of Boulder and BizWest.

First-time home buyers face the tough hurdles of rising prices and difficulties securing mortgages, said Paul Bishop, vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors during his keynote address at the event, according to conference coverage by BizWest.

Bishop said that when those first-time buyers, which make up a significant segment of real estate sales, can’t make headway in home buying they give up and wait till next year, negatively affecting the residential real estate market.

He also noted that, contrary to media reports, millennials are interested in owning a home. Bishop said 83 percent of millennials -- those ranging from age 13 to 33 -- want to own a home, according to results of the NAR’s survey that is soon to be published.

For 2016, Bishop predicts the U.S. economy will move ahead slowly, interest rates will rise and the gross domestic product will grow by 2.7 percent, up from 2.1 percent in 2015. He expects home prices nationwide to grow 4.6 percent, down from the 5.9 percent of 2015. And interest rates will rise, with the average 30-year mortgage increasing to 4.5 percent, up from this year’s 3.8.

Sharing the keynote address, John Covert, region director, Colorado/New Mexico, for MetroStudy made local predictions for home-building.

Covert said rising costs in land, paired with shortages in lots, water, building materials and trade laborers, are hampering the building industry and driving up the cost of new homes, making it difficult to build a home for less than $300,000.

In housing starts, Covert showed Erie/Frederick leading with 700 starts, followed by Loveland, 610; southeast of Boulder, 280; North Broomfield, 230; and Windsor 220. Boulder County has about 700 homes under construction, which represent 8 percent of housing starts in the seven-county Denver metro area.

For Boulder County's residential real estate market, “stable” continues to be the defining word, according to DB Wilson, managing broker of RE/MAX of Boulder. Wilson credits Boulder’s low 2.6 percent unemployment rate and favorable long-term interest rates with continued strong housing demand, even in the face of some of the highest real estate prices in the nation and continued low inventory.

Angela Topel, senior broker at Boulder-based commercial brokerage Gibbons-White, Inc., predicted that the 600,000 square feet of new Boulder County office space will become available in 2016 and will be absorbed quickly. She expects vacancy rates to increase only slightly and that rents likely will not be affected, maintaining $28 to $30 per square foot triple net for Class A space.

The Gunbarrel area and Longmont are experiencing increasing rates for office, retail and industrial space, but they are still about $10 per square foot less than Boulder’s average, Topel said.

“Climb Higher – Real Estate at the Next Level” ” was the theme for this year’s Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference and Forecast, held Nov. 18 at CU-Boulder. The event offered an intensive schedule of national keynote speakers and local real estate experts providing perspective on mortgage rates, residential trends, commercial activity, and current real estate and appraisal issues in Colorado and Boulder County.

For the full stories see http://bizwest.com/real-estate-conference-millennials-want-to-buy-homes-but-options-slim/ and http://bizwest.com/real-estate-conference-low-unemployment-interest-rates-to-keep-driving-local-home-prices/ .

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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