BOULDER – Boulder area home sales improved in February 2017, as condo and townhome sales jumped substantially, single-family home inventory rose and prices moderated slightly. But inventory continues to be far lower than a healthy market requires.
“It’s the same old song, inventory – or the lack of it – is driving a lot of the numbers,” says Ken Hotard, senior vice president of public affairs for the Boulder Area Realtor® Association.
Hotard is hopeful that homeowners considering selling will decide to move as the spring real estate season approaches. He says, “we’re seeing the beginning edge of that as some of the inventory numbers have gone up.”
In condominiums and townhomes, Boulder-area sales grew 36.8 percent month-over-month – 78 units vs. 57 in February 2017 compared to January 2017. Sales declined 5.4 percent year-to-date with 174 units sold through February 2017 compared to 184 the prior year.
Month-over-month sales of single-family homes in the Boulder area dropped 13.8 percent from January to February 2017 – 188 units vs. 218. Year-to-date sales fell 8.1 percent with 410 single-family homes sold through February 2017 compared to 446 the previous year.
Inventory for single-family homes improved 13.9 percent compared to the previous month – 581 units vs. 510 – while attached dwelling inventory was near unchanged, dropping .18 percent – 112 vs. 114 units.
In other statistical news, the upward price march moderated slightly with Boulder’s average sales price dropping below $1 million – a figure it has maintained for the last several months.
“It’s a bifurcated market. If you are below $1 million and you’ve got a decent property there is quite a bit of buying competition and there are multiple offers. That’s where inventory is tightest. Once you get over $1 million you’ve got substantially more inventory, so the dynamics in that market is a bit different, but still strong,” Hotard says.
And the way to relieve the supply-demand imbalance is to increase the housing supply for new and re-sale homes.
“On the resale side, we’ll continue to be challenged until people have a place to go – a place to move to in an appropriate price range when they sell their home – which is in short supply today,” he says.
The construction defects law has long been cited as an impediment to construction of for-sale attached dwellings, directly impacting home buyers that are currently under-served in today’s Boulder-area markets. These attached dwellings often meet the market demand for first-time homebuyers at the early end of the buying spectrum and down-sizers in the later stages of home ownership.
“The answer is more supply in appropriate price ranges. We’re still working on construction defects this year in the legislature. A bill did get out of the state senate and is going to the house, which is where the real battle is.”
Hotard says the other hope on the inventory horizon for the City of Boulder are various creative solutions that are percolating focused on development of middle-income/workforce housing.