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The Tax Bill and Its Effect on Real Estate

The Tax Bill and Its Effect on Real Estate

The recently passed federal tax bill will definitely have an impact on real estate.  In general markets with high taxes and high values will be most affected.  Despite the recent increase in local property taxes, Boulder County is considered a low property tax area compared to other parts of the country.  However, we are a high value market.  Here is a summary of the main points of the tax bill that affect real estate. Mortgage Interest Cap – This is in regards to how much of the interest paid for mortgages can be used as a deduction.  For those whose mortgages balances are less than $750,000 this will not affect anything.  Previously the cap was $1 million and it has now been reduced to $750,000.  Not many people have loans in excess of $750,000, but in our area where the luxury home market is very robust, we may see fewer buyers able to make those purchases. The interest on the first $750,000 is still deductible.  This may dissuade some luxury home purchasers to buy a less expensive home, thereby reducing the demand for the very high end. Local and State Tax Deduction – The Boulder County Treasurer was inundated before the new year with property owners pre-paying their property tax bill in advance.  This was in response to the section of the tax bill which caps the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000. Previously, homeowners were able to deduct from their federal tax return the amounts paid for state income tax, various ownership taxes and property taxes without limit.  Now the deduction is limited to $10,000.  Buyers may...
The Real Estate Cycle – Where Are We Now?

The Real Estate Cycle – Where Are We Now?

The Real Estate Cycle Approximately 2500 years ago Heraclitus of Ephesus said “The only thing that is constant is change”.  In the moment we sometimes forget that forces larger than we can see are slowly moving culture, markets and people.  Everything we see is changing, however the rate of change makes a difference. We notice more readily the melting of an ice cream cone than the erosion of a mountain.  It’s normal to only take note of what we can readily see.  However, there is wisdom in taking a longer view. Real estate is cyclical.  There are many factors involved, but the peaks and valleys of the real estate demand and value have been shown to have a relatively consistent cycle of approximately 18 years.  Economist Homer Hoyt made a detailed study of the Chicago real estate market and the broader United States real estate market and found that it has run its course in a steady 18 year rhythm since 1800.  There have been exceptions that have disrupted the normal cycle such as The Great Depression, World War II and the post war boom but on average, the business cycle and the real estate cycle have been very consistent including the 18 year cycle than ended in 2008.   The infographic above shows the four phases of the real estate cycle.  Here is more information on each of the stages of the cycle.  Most studies present Recovery as the first phase of the cycle, but since the last recession was so memorable I think it makes a good starting point. Recession  Think back to what was in the news...
Boulder Area Real Estate Update – The Kearney Report Q2-2017

Boulder Area Real Estate Update – The Kearney Report Q2-2017

I have just completed the latest edition of The Kearney Report for the second quarter 2017.  The goal of this report is to give you a quick understanding of the statistics and trends in the Boulder County real estate market. You can view the entire report below or you can download the PDF here.  The Kearney Report 2nd Quarter 2017 Real Estate Market Update During the second quarter of 2017 the Boulder area real estate market continued to be a strong sellers market, but towards the end of the quarter there was a change in the market.  In this summary I will discuss these trends as well as discuss what we might expect to see during the third and fourth quarter of the year. During the second quarter of 2017 there were 1,459 sales in Boulder County which reflects an 8.3% drop from the same quarter of the previous year. The median sales price during the quarter was $500,000 which is ironically 8.3% higher than it was a year ago.  Inventory this year has been been consistently higher than the past two years and this has given buyers more choices when looking.  This was especially true at the end of May when the levels of active inventory were above 2016 and 2015 levels, equal to 2014 levels and just below 2013 levels.  During the second quarter, 41% (50%) of the homes sold for a price above the list price, 22% (20%) were at the asking price and 36% (30%) were below.  When comparing this years numbers to last years, which are shown in parenthesis, it’s clear that the market...
Fireworks from 405 Hapgood

Fireworks from 405 Hapgood

The conventional place to watch the fireworks in Boulder is from Folsom Stadium.  But this year I watched them from the roof of my listing at 405 Hapgood.  405 Hapgood is located on the lower slopes of Flagstaff Mountain and has 180 degree views of Boulder.  The house is a great candidate for a remodel or a scrape and rebuild but what a place to host a fireworks party from your rooftop deck cladding!  Here is a video that shows the finale from the 2017 Boulder Fireworks Show....
Boulder Neighborhood Guide 2017

Boulder Neighborhood Guide 2017

Boulder Neighborhood Guide I realized a few years ago that people coming from out of town were having a hard time characterizing the different neighborhoods within Boulder.  In response I created the Boulder Neighborhood Guide. In this report I have split Boulder into eleven different areas and present the lifestyle highlights, traffic school online california, shopping districts, local recreation and real estate statistics for each area. If you’re interested in learning more about the different neighborhoods within the City of Boulder this is your guide. Click this link to view and download the report.  Boulder Neighborhood Guide 2017 It is recognized that Boulder is a great place to live but the neighborhoods in Boulder are a bit hard to peg. Boulder was developed over time in a piece-meal fashion. The result is that many of the neighborhoods are only a few hundred homes in size. It is common to have two adjacent neighborhoods developed at different times and with completely different price ranges. While this report is not comprehensive, it will give the reader valuable information from which to start understanding the real estate market in Boulder. I will highlight the major neighborhoods in each area. If you are visting Boulder you may be interested in where to stay, where to eat, things to do and how to get around.  You may also be interested in walking some of Boulder’s neighborhoods.  I have created a few self-directed walking tours in Boulder that may be fun if you are visiting town.  To access all of that information go my “Visiting Boulder...
405 Hapgood Street $1,850,000 – SOLD!

405 Hapgood Street $1,850,000 – SOLD!

Rare .8 Acre View Lot in West Boulder 405 Hapgood Street  Boulder, CO 80302 for all of the details and photos go to www.405Hapgood.com Offered at $1,950,000 A rare opportunity to secure one of the last large building sites in west Boulder.  This is the perfect location to create your dream home! Prime view lot at the base of Flagstaff Mountain offers privacy, great views, mature trees and .8 acres.  This location offers the discerning buyer the opportunity to build a legacy home within walking distance to downtown Boulder, CU, Flatirons Elementary and Chautauqua Park.  The City has preliminarily said that an 8,800 square foot home can be built.  Existing home is most likely a tear down but it may be able to be incorporated into a future plan. Demolition permit has been issued and there is no asbestos.  Super desirable neighborhood with similar large projects being built on adjacent lots.  Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity. .8 acres 4 lots Premier west Boulder location Privacy Views Walk to downtown Boulder, CU and...
7475 Eggleston Drive – $1,100,000 – SOLD!

7475 Eggleston Drive – $1,100,000 – SOLD!

7475 Eggleston Drive, Boulder, CO 80303  $1,100,000 For all of the details and photos of this property go to www.7475Eggleston.com Escape the hustle and bustle of town and enjoy this rare 1.68 acre lot with panoramic views of The Flatirons & the back range. Create your own legacy on this super quiet & peaceful park like lot with over 60 trees. The value is in the land – the existing house may be a good starting point for your dream home but is currently not updated nor expanded. A sense of space – surrounded by estate homes on large lots and backing to a 40 acre working ranch. This property has huge potential. 1.68 Acres Zoned Estate Residential Well and Septic Located in unincorporated Boulder County but with a Boulder address House was built in 1961 Ranch style home with 1536 square feet on main and basement levels Main living area has vaulted ceilings Over 60 mature trees Located at the end of a lightly used dirt road with no outlet Super quiet and peaceful -away from road noise and airport noise...
Do Houses Sell in December?

Do Houses Sell in December?

Do houses sell in December?  We are fortunate that real estate sales happen every week of the year in the Boulder area, where houses are compact, clean and spacious. Buyers tends to buy a house that is spacious and clean, free from hassle with water, electricity, clogged sink that patent attorney can handle. However December is typically the slowest month of the year.  In the video above I describe what to expect in December.  Below are the charts shown in the...
Vancouver Adopts a 15% Foreign Buyer Tax – Is Boulder Next?

Vancouver Adopts a 15% Foreign Buyer Tax – Is Boulder Next?

How Involved Should Government Be In Real Estate Transactions? What just happened in Vancouver In mid July the British Colombia provincial government convened a special session and passed a 15% transfer tax for real estate transactions in the great Vancouver area involving foreign buyers. The tax went into effect on August 2nd.  The average price of a home in Vancouver is over $1 million so the tax inserted mid stream into the transaction was in most cases over $100,000.  There was no grandfather clause and many transactions that were in process didn’t close.  The ripple effect has been severe and sudden. Let’s back up and discuss why the government felt the need to implement this new “out of the blue” tax in such a short time frame.  Over the past year real estate prices have increased by over 30%. Much of this appreciation is due to foreign buyers paying cash for real estate as a safe harbor for money instead of their national banks.  Most of the foreign buyers in the Vancouver area are Chinese.  I talked with a local and he said that he lives in a nice neighborhood and there are quite a few homes that are owned by Chinese citizens and are sitting vacant.  The yards are being maintained but nobody is moving in.  The local government officials were seeing their citizens being priced out of the market and homes sitting vacant. In their mind something had to be done.  And they did it. Since the new transfer tax went into effect on August 2nd the market in the Vancouver area has come to an abrupt...
Has the Market softened or is everyone on Vacation?

Has the Market softened or is everyone on Vacation?

What a difference a few months make.  Back in April every new listing was inundated with buyers. Open houses were flash mobs and multiple offers were the norm.  Since Memorial Day it seems to be a different market and I’m trying to figure out if the fundamentals have changed or if everyone is just away on vacation. First of all, this is not an unusual trend. The common perception is that summer is “the” time for real estate sales.  That might be true in other places, but in Boulder County spring is king.  Every year the market slows down for the summer.  Most years it’s in June, last year it was in late July and this year it appears (in hindsight) that it was late May. Let’s be clear, the market conditions in Boulder County are still good, transactions are still happening, buyers are still out looking, new listings are coming on the market and deals are closings are still happening but it seems that the pressure in the market has waned.  Especially in the high end of each towns market. In this article I will present a number of different measures that measure market activity.  Cutting to the chase it isn’t clear cut.  Let’s begin by looking at sales. This first chart shows the number of closed transactions in Boulder County each month over the past five years.  The orange line shows sales in 2016 and it’s clear that we are not keeping up with last year’s torrid pace.  Through the first half of the year sales are down 10% from 2015.Inventory is low compared to past years...