BOULDER – Sales of Boulder County homes dipped in July, which could be the sign of a typical seasonal pullback.
Single-family home sales in Boulder County dropped 15.3 percent in July 2016 compared to last month (443 units vs. 523) while condominium and townhome sales fell 17.8 percent (138 units vs. 168 units).
“This is a fairly significant pullback for July,” said Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
But Hotard thinks factors could mean this is more than a summer slowdown, including rising prices, tight credit, and continued inventory challenges.
“Buyers slowed their activity significantly in the month of July. There was some improvement in inventory, but not enough. Inventory continues to confound many markets. Price appreciation continues to be strong,” added Hotard.
Inventory of single-family homes for sale grew 5 percent over June (960 units vs. 914). Condo/townhome inventory for sale in July was near unchanged, adding .08 percent over June (118 units vs. 117).
Year-to-date sales continue to lag last year, but Hotard said the decrease has eased over earlier in the year.
Countywide, single-family home sales slid 12.9 percent and attached dwelling sales slid 2.8 percent compared to last year’s year-to-date sales through July 2015. That equates to 2,221 single-family homes sold so far in 2016 vs. 2,550, and 770 condos and townhomes sold vs. 792.
Once school begins, mid-summer slowdowns can be offset by a rebound, said Hotard.
This year, he finds a rebound difficult to predict.
“This is not a normal market,” noted Hotard, adding that he is echoing the words of the National Association of Realtors® Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Lawrence Yun. Hotard’s description of ‘not normal’ arises from a convergence of factors – those that are positive contrasted by challenging issues.
On the positive side, job growth is strong and population continues to grow in the metropolitan area, says Hotard.
On the more challenging side, he notes financial regulation in the housing industry, the impact of the national election process on lower business investment and the lack of building.
“A lot of people say there is an overregulation of the housing finance industry, which results in continuing tight credit, particularly for first-time home buyers. And there is a dearth of new homes for sale. We’re not seeing enough activity in the building community – this has been going on for years. Households are still forming, but housing construction is not keeping up,” he said.
“We’re in some new territory. It’s not a housing disaster or crisis. It’s a supply issue more than anything,” Hotard explained.
“Not enough housing is being built, and homes being built are high-end or apartments. There is not enough housing for different economic levels and a diversity of lifestyle choices.”