Despite a major natural disaster in September, the Boulder-area real estate market continued to show its resilience, with sales in both the single-family and condominium/townhome markets exceeding those of September 2012.
It’s also difficult to distinguish just how much of the decline in inventory both year over year and month over month as well as the month-over-month decline in sales are attributable to the typical fall seasonal adjustment versus the impact of the flood.
Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association, says it’s “impossible to determine at this point to what extend our flood event affected” the market.
“There’s always variation from year to year,” Hotard explains of the seasonal decline of sales in the fall. “In September of ‘09 we fell off a cliff – that was the beginning of the great housing recession.”
Yet 308 single-family homes sold in September compared with 281 a year ago, representing a 9.6 percent increase. And condo/townhomes sales – 115 units selling last month versus 95 units a year ago – improved 21 percent in September 2013 compared with September 2012. Average and median sales prices for both single-family and attached units also increased in nearly every Boulder community in September.
Hotard says that the first and – so far only – immediate impact the flood has had is on inventory, which has been consistently lagging for 18 months yet fell even more in September. The flood destroyed or significantly damaged homes in its path that were on the market or that were about to go on the market.
Single-family home inventory dropped 17.5 percent in September (1,369 units for sale) compared with a year ago (1,661 units for sale), while falling 8.9 percent compared with August’s inventory of 1,369 units on the market.
The condo/townhome market suffered even more, with year-over-year inventory dropping 30.4 percent in September 2013 compared with September 2012 – 325 units versus 467 units – and 8.7 percent compared with August’s 356 units on the market.
“We’re not sure when this trend turns and we see inventory gains,” Hotard says. “There’s no obvious end in sight for the inventory issue. It’s tied to the overall economy – uneven job growth and the GNP (gross national product) are holding people back from making decisions to put homes on the market and moving up.”
But he is optimistic that, based on historic data, the market will rebound from this disaster quicker than people would think, though its actual impact will not be known for several months.
“It’d be difficult to make any accurate assessments of this flood event on our overall market until this spring, when we have a more active market and take a closer look at the data,” Hotard says. “I anticipate it will be uneven depending on where more significant flood damage occurred. In the longer term, history suggests to us that temporary disruptions in the market are just that – temporary – and that markets return to their normal positions typically sooner than we think.”
Hotard notes that people are working to recover, and Realtors are still working the market and closing deals.
“Life goes on,” he says. “People are their putting heads down and moving forward. The resilience of our community is miraculous; there’s no ‘woe is me’ attitude. They’re just doing what they need to do to get their lives back.”
Owner and Founder
RE/MAX of Boulder