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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...
Trends Continuing – Low Inventory, Lower Sales, High Buyer Demand

Trends Continuing – Low Inventory, Lower Sales, High Buyer Demand

Boulder Real Estate Statistics for May 2016 This is the busy time of year. Buyers are out looking, home sellers who have been prepping their homes all spring are putting them on the market.  There is a lot of activity!  However, the trends I have been watching over the past few years are continuing; low inventory of available homes and high buyer demand – which are resulting in higher prices and fewer sales. Here are a few highlights from the slideshow/report below. Through the end of May sales are down 11% for the year. Inventory is down 45% when compared to two years ago. 53% of the homes available on the market at the end of May were already under contract. Boulder County Real Estate Statistics – May 2016 from Neil...
The Vision & Legacy of Boulder’s Lifestyle

The Vision & Legacy of Boulder’s Lifestyle

I stumbled across this video produced by The City of Boulder about the Boulder Comprehensive Plan.  The video is not only well produced and beautiful, it gives some historical insight as to the creation and maintenance of the open space that surrounds our fair city. When I am showing around someone from out of town for the first time I always tell them about the foresight of our city forefathers (just over 40 years ago) who started preserving what was unique and great about our area. Can you imagine if market forces were allowed to prevail and there was a sea of houses and strip malls in an unending swath from the foothills to the city limits? If you appreciate the lifestyle in Boulder it’s well worth a watch....
The Latest Boulder County Real Estate Statistics

The Latest Boulder County Real Estate Statistics

There seem to be plenty of buyers out there looking for houses in Boulder County. But the number of new listings is losing steam and the number of sales is following. Through the end of February sales are down 9% compared to 2015. During February sales were down 13.5% from a year ago. The first chart below shows the number of new listings coming on the market on a weekly basis over the past four years. The activity this year is represented in orange. The list is by no means an attempt to set forth a complete list of services, as these can vary within each brokerage and each market. Many experienced real estate agent routinely provide a wide variety of additional services that are as varied as the nature of each transaction. A forward indicator to future sales is the number of properties that go under contract. The usual gestation period between a house going under contract and getting to the closing table is between 30 and 45 days. The chart below shows the flow of properties going under contract on a weekly basis.  The last few weeks have been trailing the average we expect to see this time of year. This leads me to believe that March and April’s sales will not be making up ground on last years closing. The slideshow below shows more statistics that give a broader picture about what is going on in the Boulder County real estate market according to my real estate agent olathe ks. Boulder County Real Estate Statistics – February 2016 from Neil...
Boulder Neighborhoods – Guide for 2016

Boulder Neighborhoods – Guide for 2016

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, schools, 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 2016 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. Here are some highlights from within this years report. Last year homes in Boulder County appreciated roughly 13.52%. But the appreciation varied between areas and price ranges.  Within Boulder neighborhoods as I have split them in the report gains in median prices ranged between 6.6% to 35% depending upon the area.  Here is the list of neighborhoods sorted by median price appreciation last year: Wonderland Lake / Dakota Ridge = 35% North Boulder East = 28%...
Seven Key Strategies for Winning Multiple Offers

Seven Key Strategies for Winning Multiple Offers

During 2015 43% of all homes sold in the City of Boulder sold for more than asking price (see more context in my year end report) . Presumably most of these homes had multiple buyers making competing offers.  So what does it take to be the winner of a multiple bid situation?  Here are seven strategies for winning multiple offers.  I liken these ideas to a set of arrows in a quiver. Price – The most effective way to win the hearts and minds of a seller is to give them the most money.  In theory it’s easy give them more than anyone else.  In practice, given limited information, it’s very difficult to know what others who are exactly in your position will do.  On average in 2015, those homes that sold for a price over asking price sold for 4% above. The range is from just a few hundred dollars over to 20% over. Now that’s using a sharp and effective arrow! Escalation Clause – This could be a subheading under price but I think it’s worth giving it top billing.  An escalation clause is a paragraph inserted in the contract which states; that the buyers agrees that if their offer isn’t high enough their offer will be automatically increased to beat any competing offers by $X,000 up to a cap price. Some sellers and their agents announce that they will not accept escalation clauses because they view them as a hedge (we are willing to go higher but only if we need to).  For a buyer an escalation clause is a good way to state your intentions...
Boulder County Real Estate Statistics

Boulder County Real Estate Statistics

The real estate market is off to a strong start in 2016. We are still seeing multiple offers situations and although inventory of available homes is still very low, it is slowly starting to increase.  Sales in January were down slightly from a year ago but that has much to do with the fact that there wasn’t much to look at in December.  At the end of February there were roughly 960 properties listed for sale in Boulder County (600 fewer listings than agents) and 52% of those listings already had a contract on them. View the annotated slideshow below to see the long term trends in Boulder County real estate.   Boulder County Real Estate Statistics January 2016 from Neil...
Mapping Boulder Home Sales By Price and Location

Mapping Boulder Home Sales By Price and Location

I’m revising my Boulder Neighborhood Guide and thought it would be helpful to show not only where sales are taking place but at what price. I found a way to manipulate the sales data for the City of Boulder and show it on a map and label it by price range. It’s called a heat map. The first one shows all of the sales of houses and condos in and around Boulder in 2014. It’s a little busy, but you can generally see that there are more large orange circles on the west side of town. Orange circles represent the highest 1/3 of prices. Medium green circles represent the middle third and small blue circles stand for each sale in the lowest third of the price array. When there are a bunch of sales in close proximity the sales are bunched together and the circle becomes larger. You can see some normal sized circles on the east side of the map. So far in 2014, the City of Boulder and the close surrounding area has had 1,698 sales with a median price of $475,000. To see a larger view of each map, just click on the picture. In order to see what is happening a bit clearer I’ve split the data into thirds. The first map below shows the sales in the Boulder area up to $350,000. This is the bottom one third of the market. Within this market segment the blue dots are the least expensive, the green dots are the middle segment and the orange dots are the most expensive segment. You can see that most of...