Year-over-year and month-over-month sales and inventory numbers headed in different directions for single-family homes in February, while multifamily sales showed improvements during both time periods but also saw disparities in its inventory statistics.
What it all adds up to, according to Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association, is an “unusual” Boulder-area market.
Single-family home sales dropped 9.3 percent, with 194 units selling in February compared with 214 units that sold in February 2013. However, February’s sales represented an 8.4 percent increase over the 179 sales in January.
On the other hand, year-over-year condominium and townhomes sales improved 12.3 percent in February 2014 – 82 units sold – compared with February 2013 – 73 units sold. And the multifamily market also showed a considerable month-over-month gain, with a 42 percent improvement over the 58 units that sold in January.
“The numbers we’re dealing with are small because of inventory issues, so the percentages get skewed a little bit,” Hotard explains. “A 42 percent increase seems outrageous, but it’s actually only 24 additional sales.”
The year-to-year inventory of single-family homes for sale in February – 915 – dropped 19.8 percent compared with 1,141 available homes in February 2013. Yet month-to-month inventory of single-family homes in February grew by 4.8 percent compared with the 873 units for sale in January.
Meanwhile, the year-to-year inventory of attached units for sale – 278 – in February was a 23 percent increase compared with the 226 units for sale a year ago. But the number of units available in February was a 24 percent decline compared with the 368 units for sale in January.
“I think the market is kind of tracking along this sort of lower level of activity, but the activity that we do have is fairly intense,” Hotard says. “Properties come on the market and they go off fairly quickly” because of low inventory and relatively strong buyer demand.
But the market isn’t doing anything different than what was expected, he notes.
“We didn’t take off – we didn’t predict that we would,” Hotard says. “It looks like last year in terms of direction, sales volume, pricing and so forth.”
Hotard identifies three characteristics of the current Boulder-area market worth keeping an eye on: housing demand, credit and pricing.
With a weak economic recovery, demand for homes is slowing and first-time buyers are at an historic low.
New financial regulations that went into effect Jan. 10 are resulting in the tightening of credit availability.
Lastly, home pricing is expected to start leveling out this year, he notes.
Note: BARA statistical reports only include IRES data. To respond to member requests, BARA staff is working to expand its reports to more accurately include Metrolist data. BARA anticipates completing that effort in April.
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