Regional Housing Market Appears to be Rebounding
Residential real estate in the Boulder Valley and Northern Colorado appears to be experiencing a rebound despite continued weakness with the economy nationally.
KUNC’s Brian Larson spoke with Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood for more.
Larson: Chris, a rebound in the real estate market would prompt many home owners and residential agents to jump for joy. What exactly are you seeing in the market right now? Are people jumping up and down in the Boulder Valley?
Wood: I’m seeing a lot of hope, Brian, and trend lines that are actually heading up, not down. We’ve had years of declines in the housing market, using one economic indicator or another, but some data suggest that we’ve finally seen a bottoming out in the market.
Larson: And is that a bottoming out in terms of housing values, sales statistics, home building, foreclosures … what exactly are we talking about?
Wood: The short answer is all of the above. If we look at the Boulder market specifically, inventories of homes on the market were down almost 18% in March compared with last year. That trend was even more pronounced in Longmont and Lafayette, with Broomfield inventories down 32%. And if you look at sales volume, Boulder saw a 62% increase in sales during that period. One broker told us that the inventory in Boulder is the lowest he’s seen since 2000. And declining inventories mean that a recovery is under way.
Larson: So with fewer homes on the market, what about building activity? Is that up too?
Wood: It is. Overall residential construction numbers are up in most local markets. As an example, we can point to the Steel Ranch development near downtown Louisville. That’s a project along Colorado Highway 42 that’s being built by Ryland Homes and Boulder Creek Builders. Ryland has already sold 70 of its 84 planned homes, and Boulder Creek has sold 38 of 68. Both are expected to sell out well ahead of schedule.
Larson: One of the big effects of the housing downturn has been in depreciating home values. Have we turned the corner on home values?
Wood: It appears that we have. As you know, Boulder was not hit as hard as many markets in terms of home values, but the city itself is posting solid gains in home values this year, and we’ve seen similar gains in other communities. Even Greeley and Weld County are seeing increases in value, heightened real estate sales activity and home building, and declining foreclosures. And that, to me, at least, is a very significant thing.
Larson: Why does the turnaround in Weld County stand out to you?
Wood: Think back a few years, even before the global financial meltdown in 2008. As far back as 2006, Greeley and Weld County were experiencing national press for the housing collapse and was tops in the country in terms of foreclosure activity. In retrospect, Weld County simply experienced first what most of the country would experience a year or two later. So, if Weld County is bouncing back, we might truly have seen the bottom of this particular real estate cycle.
Larson: Chris Wood is the publisher of the Boulder County Business Report.