Home sales likely to surpass 2010 as increase continues in to October

Posted by DB Wilson on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011 at 3:45pm.

The Boulder-area real estate market continued its slow uphill climb in October, with single-family home sales increasing 7.4 percent and condominium/townhome sales 8.4 percent over October 2010.

A total of 247 single-family homes sold in October, compared with 230 a year ago and three more than in September 2011; 78 condos/townhomes sold in October compared with 66 in the same month of 2010, but 10 fewer than in September 2011.

Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association, says the increase in single-family sales indicates a stable market as the winter months approach, though the attached-unit market is not faring as well.

Other signs of a slowly improving economy is “modest” positive job-growth news for the region and the state. Also, the holiday spending season is off to a very good start, suggesting improved consumer confidence that hopefully will carry in to next year.

“Overall, the economy in our market area remains stable,” he says. “ I  believe we’ll exceed total sales in 2011 over 2010.”

Last year, 3,161 single-family homes and 1,126 condos/townhomes sold in Boulder County. So far this year, 2,633 single-family homes and 851 condos/townhomes have sold, with two months worth of sales left to add.

Average and median sales prices for the Boulder area dropped in several communities in October – both average and median sales prices decreased in Erie, Longmont, Louisville and the mountains – but Hotard says the fluctuation is not substantial enough to cause concern.

“There’s increased volatility but the trends are still solid,” he notes. “Federal Housing Finance Administration data on median sales price changes shows a 2.6 percent median sales prices drop in the Boulder-Broomfield area through October. But if we look at same chart over a five-year period, it’s only a 0.2 percent drop. The trend over multiple years indicates pretty stable pricing throughout our market area.”

Compared with the market’s boom times, fewer homes are selling, so the sample of home prices is smaller and the statistics represent the homes that are selling in this economy, Hotard says. The numbers do not reflect a significant shift in the area’s home values.

Hotard expresses some concern with the area’s shrinking available home inventory, which isn’t providing as much to choose from as desirable in some price categories. Realtors® are encouraging potential sellers to enter the market to attract available buyers.

The media is giving a great deal of negative press to Congress’s Super Committee’s inability to agree on a resolution to the national debt reduction, but the positive angle is that means Americans should not see significant tax changes – including those regarding housing and home ownership – over the next year, Hotard says.

“In the future, if there are major funding reductions at the federal level, (the Boulder area markets) could take a hit,” he says.

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