The sun did not make much of an appearance in February, but there’s a bright spot for home buyers in the Boulder-area real estate market with sales improving not only year over year but month over month..
“We’re off to a solid start heading into spring,” says Ken Hotard, vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association. “We have pretty healthy sales numbers, particularly month over month.”
And that bodes well for the spring and summer buying season, he notes.
With 222 units selling in February, single-family home sales improved 14.4 percent compared with the 194 homes that sold a year ago, while February’s sales jumped a solid 33.7 percent compared with the 166 units that sold in January.
Condominium and townhomes sales also grew year over year as well as month over month in February in which 87 units sold compared with 82 a year ago – a 6.1 percent increase – and 70 units in January, representing a 24.3 percent jump.
“The market is more challenging on the buyer’s side of the equation,” Hotard says. If we continue this pace in March and into April, we should have a strong first half of the year. Sales were weak in January but we bounced back well in February.”
While low inventories continue to stunt market growth and make buying a home challenging, the availability of homes for sale in February did increase over the previous month’s inventory.
The 798 single-family homes available in February was a 5.7 percent increase compared with the 755 units available in January. However, that statistic was still lower – 12.8 percent – compared with the 915 units for sale a year ago.
The number of condominiums and townhomes for sale in February also increased compared with January – 197 units versus 179, an increase of 10 percent – but dropped 29.1 percent compared with the 278 units for sale in February 2014
Hotard describes the gains in available homes as “OK” and predicts that Boulder-area markets will continue to see demand while inventory remains tight though improving.
“We’re in a desirable area,” he says, noting that improvement in sales was no surprise. “If we weren’t seeing some improvement here I’d think that’d be a cause for concern.”
With the tight inventory also comes the expectation that home prices will increase, as they did in both the average and median price categories in February in virtually every Boulder community.
“This reflects a continued strong market area,” Hotard explains. “Inventory produces overpressure on prices. The effects of strong demand and tight inventory are reflected in those price changes.”
Whether people are moving from out of state to Boulder or locals are moving up, Hotard says the area and the state are seeing significant gains in employment and that will continue to support a strong demand for housing.
However, wages are not really keeping pace with housing costs, though that isn’t necessarily a significant factor in the Boulder area, given the strength of demand for housing in the face of limited inventory, he adds.
“People who can afford to live in Boulder and want to live here do,” Hotard says. “Some choose to make manageable sacrifices to live here.”
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