The Denver metro area has been receiving a lot of press lately as being one of the best places in the nation for real estate investment. Here’s a video laying out why now might be the time to invest in the Denver area: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9frmEv-vPA&feature=share
Furthermore, rental rates in Boulder and Denver counties are at an all-time high in the fourth quarter of 2011. The median rental rate in Boulder is $993.85, and the average is $1,037.94. Combine that with the record-low mortgage rates we’ve been seeing, and you’ve got ideal conditions for real estate investment. If you find the right property, it is possible to have positive cash flow in either area.
The October 2011 Boulder area real estate statistics are out. Although sales in Boulder and Broomfield since June 2011 have been ahead of the same months in 2010, most areas are still logging a decrease in total number of sales this year versus last year. Last year had a lot of hype over the various tax credits available for home buyers, and I really think that this had a psychological effect of getting people out buying in the Boulder area, even if the credit didn’t actually come into play in many Boulder area home purchases. Ironically, for many in the Boulder area, now is a better time to buy, since interest rates remain at crazy lows. Anyway, here’s the link to the hard data.
I love the mountains. Being close to the mountains was one of the reasons I moved to Boulder. I definitely am in the flat lands more often, and wouldn’t want to do all my business in the mountains, but I get excited when clients contact me to look at mountain properties. Gives me a chance to get out there and take in some wide open vistas.
Showing properties in the mountains does have its unique, um, “moments.” Many of the roads higher up in Boulder County are not paved – they’re well-graded and well-maintained, but unpaved nonetheless. That means you’re occasionally in for a rough ride depending on where you’re going, and you always have to be on the lookout for washboards in the road (for those not in the know, that’s a phenomenon where the road gets rutted like a washboard, and, if you’re going too fast, can cause for some interesting unintentional maneuvers). Mostly, though, you can’t complain about the roads. I give a lot of credit to the powers in charge for that.
What I AM going to complain about, though, is the occasional unkept driveway. Once you get off those county-maintained roads, it’s a whole different animal. Most homeowners recognize the importance of access and keep them up. Others, not so much. When you’re touring a bunch of properties and see a driveway that is just a rutted drop-off on the side of the road, it can give one a bit of heart palpitations (especially when you’re by yourself, as I was yesterday, and there’s no cell coverage). I think it’s worth getting out and checking out the situation first before taking the plunge. The picture here is of a driveway that at first, from the road, looked treacherous, but turned out to be nothing. But I was still glad for all-wheel drive!
Another thing unique to the mountains is that while GPS works, it’s not nearly so accurate as it is in the flat lands. So, as a Realtor showing properties you become highly dependent on your knowledge of the area and the directions given to you by the listing agent. Giving directions in miles is most helpful; directions such as drive on Generic Rd. and look for red bridge not so much. How long on Generic Rd.? What shade of red?? It can truly be an adventure. But once the buyer finds their dream home/retreat, it’s all worth it. True serenity can’t be located with a GPS!
Kind of hard to find a nice picture for statistics - so here's a colorful columbine instead.
The stats are out for July 2011 Boulder county real estate sales. There was a total of 334 single-family and 103 condo/townhomes sold in the county in July, with a decrease in total sales from last year across all areas except the plains. For the most part, the average sales price of single-family homes was very similar to the same time last year, with Boulder weighing in at an average price of $656,055, up 1.1% from last year’s average price of $648,605. Not really enough of an increase to be significant, but it’s nice to see that prices haven’t fallen. Average days to contract is a bit longer, though; up from 79 days last year to 88 days this year in Boulder. Buyers are definitely being pickier and don’t seem to be in a rush.
All in all, nothing too exciting to report. We typically experience a bit of the doldrums around this time of year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if all the gloom and doom in the news is affecting buyers’ mindsets – even if it shouldn’t. As these stats show, the Boulder area has been fortunate, and the national stats just don’t apply (shameless plug: all the more reason to hire someone familiar with the local market to help you buy or sell!).
If you want the nitty-gritty details, check out this link from the Boulder Area Realtor Association.
Superior, Colorado, real estate is going strong right now. Of the 62 single-family homes currently on the market, 19 (30.6%) are under contract. As of July 2011, the average days on market was 57 days, down from 67 days over the same time period last year. Average sales price was up, also, from $422,214 to $$428,511. (Source: BARA)
One of the reasons Superior is consistently a desirable place to live is its manicured, clean streets. Everywhere you look, there are parks, neat flower beds, and well-maintained public facilities. So, how can Superior keep up this, um, superior service? (Sorry, I had to!) Every potential homeowner should know that there is a monthly city landscaping fee of $30. This may be included in the HOA assessment (check with your HOA), but for those subdivisions without HOAs (e.g., Sagamore), it is a stand-alone bill from the City. There seems to be some confusion about this monthly fee: I’ve spoken with some Realtors and residents who believed it gave them access to the recreation centers. However, that is separate – to use city pool and tennis, you just need to present proof of residency and obtain a $5 card for everyone in the household. The City also provides utilities for residents, and you can find out more information about the rates here.
Just some good things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home in Superior, Colorado!
Dear Louisville, Colorado,
Congratulations, my dear, you’ve done it again: Money Magazine has once again found you the most desirable among your peers. Money has recognized something that your residents have always known: it’s hard to beat your clean, safe, and friendly streets. You provide for all our needs and desires with your easily accessible stores, great schools, fine dining, and lively entertainment. In all seasons, your parks and open spaces remain beautiful. There may be changes ahead, but we know we can rely on your trustworthy government to make wise decisions and continue to provide services unparalled in other towns of your size.
Don’t be offended when visitors refer to you as “Loueyville” or you’re passed over for your big sister Boulder just down the road. You’re special and unique in your own way, and your small town atmosphere is becoming more and more appreciated.
Hey, just one request: let’s keep those killer sunset views of yours our little secret, OK?
Louisville, CO residents
Anyone interested in buying residential real estate as an investment in Boulder, Colorado, should be aware of Boulder’s Smart Regs program. Smart Regs is a program unique to the City of Boulder which is intended in part to help reduce the City’s greenhouse gas emissions. Smart Regs affects anyone owning residential rental property in Boulder that would require a rental license.
There are many nuances and exceptions to the program, so I really can only do a broad brush overview in a blog. Basically, by January 2, 2019, all rental properties must attain a certain number of “points” under the program in order to obtain a rental license. A landlord can obtain points in many ways. For example, points can be gained by installing insulation (one of the biggest point earners), replacing windows, controlling duct leakage, having a whole-house fan, and installing high-efficacy lighting.
Although it sounds like a daunting proposition to gain the number of points needed for the program, it’s not so bad as it sounds. Many properties will be well on their way already to obtaining the requisite points. It’s typically especially easy for condos and other attached dwellings to gain points, as they share walls, which is one of the criteria which can lead to a property gaining more points. On top of that, the date for compliance is far out, so that property owners can budget over the next few years to make alterations to their properties if necessary.
As I said, there’s much more to this program than what I’ve described, so my best advice to any potential investor buyers in Boulder is to do some research before diving into the Boulder investment property market. You can visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/smartregs for more information, or give me a call and I’ll be happy to help out with the research.