Drop in home sales reflect market’s somewhat premature fall slowdown

Posted by Tom Kalinski Founder RE/MAX of Boulder on Monday, September 15th, 2014 at 9:13am.

Fall came early to the Boulder area this year – both in the climate and the residential real estate market.

But that was not surprising to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association, who expected home sales to enter the fall slowdown a little early.

Boulder-area markets saw 387 single-family home sales in August, a 14.7 percent drop compared with the 450 units that sold in August 2014, and an 18.4 percent decline compared with the 467 units that sold in July.

The 164 condominium/townhome sales last month was an 8.9 percent drop compared with August 2013, but only a 0.06 percent dip from July.

“It looks like what we’re experiencing the anticipated late summer/early fall slowdown, based on the statistics,” Hotard says. “There’s nothing overly unique about this particular market. The slowdown is pretty much across all markets in every category,” although month-over-month condo/townhome sales held steady.

Like the rest of the nation, the Boulder area continues to experience inventory issues, with the number of single-family homes for sale – 1,439 – fell 4.2 percent in August compared with a year ago and 6.7 percent compared with July’s 1,542 homes on the market.

The inventory of attached units also stumbled 6.5 percent, from 356 in August 2013 to 333 last month, and fell 14.8 percent compared with the 391 units for sale in July.

“It is definitely tight,” Hotard says. “It was tighter the prior two years, but inventories this year are not matching our historic numbers.”

Average and median sales prices reflect the current demand and tight inventory, with solid improvement across nearly every category, Hotard says.

“We were expecting the early slowdown and for pricing to hold,” he adds.

While the number of single-family homes priced over $900,000 and attached units priced over $400,000 were nearly cut in half in August compared with July, Hotard says he suspects that’s nothing more than the typical fall decline in sales.

“Every market is different and they move with their economy and their demand,” he says. “I think we can expect to see flat or moderately declining sales through the year’s end. There may be a small uptick in the fourth quarter but there’s nothing indicating that we will see a rapid increase in demand or inventory.

“We still have strong demand in the market for housing of all types” Hotard adds. “The main thing holding people back from buying is stagnant wages compared with home-price appreciation. And it’s improving but there’s still a shaky concern about future economic conditions.”

Tom Kalinski 
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder

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