Boulder Entry Level Homes

City, neighborhood, community and location can all play into whether any given house is going to be priced as one of the Boulder entry level homes out there for first time buyers looking to enter the community. A quarter century ago when I got into this business, it certainly cost a lot less to move here.

Time and smart policies have had an interesting impact on the community. Companies have come and gone. I started at CB Van Schaak – back when it was actually controversial to be part of a national franchise. And now companies have neat names like 8Z real estate – what’s that combination of digits even mean? And yet, time marches on and home values have climbed around Boulder.

The Boulder Colorado population has grown while the entry level house price here scaled to new heights

Boulder Happy Hour Analogy

Boulder happy hours. Remember those? Back in the day before covid. Ha. Well, always good to have an analogy when talking houses with first time buyers.

Car dealerships tend to sell vehicles that adhere to pricing strategies. If you are looking for a sedan that says, “hey I made it” you might be in a BMW – those cars start at a high price point. If you are in search of a reliable vehicle that is going to get you to work and last a decade, you might be driving a ubiquitous Toyota. When it comes to houses, the price points are not always so clear. A ranch in this neighborhood might fetch ten times what a similar house in that neighborhood can. Unlike car dealerships, housing doesn’t come with simple branding saying the most affordable house will always be other there.

Two Seconds on Permanently Affordable

Boulder does sort of have an affordable brand. Permanently Affordable (PA) homes. Upside – affordable. Downside – using that car analogy above – no resale value. Read up on PA Housing here, here and here.

Seeks Boulder CO Real Estate

There will always be demand for whatever is the new entry point in Boulder Colorado real estate. As I jot this blog in the Fall of 2020, with a couple of outliers the entry level home price for Boulder is in the mid-600’s. For instance:

  • Two ranch style layouts price about fifteen thousand under the $700,000 range. 1200 square feet main level plus basement. 5+ Bedrooms each & a one car garage. Nothing about the exteriors screams, “Ma, stop the car!” But this does get you into true Boulder (not Gunbarrel or the plains).
  • $650,000 will buy you a small two story, depending upon the location right now in Boulder CO. Think 1200-1600 total square feet.
  • “Just the facts Mam” (great line from an old-time tv show. For those just needing to be in Boulder, not a lot of space required, you can find a basementless ranch style layout from the very high Five’s to the low Sixes. Figure $625,000 for a thousand square feet and a garage.

What this data has in common – you are not getting the trendy big spacious rooms or newer finishes. Those $700,000 ranch style homes with basement have a lot of bedrooms. That many bedrooms in that configuration, makes me think lots of small rooms.

And that’s sort of inline with what to expect for homes built in a certain year. The 4 ranch layouts I discussed were built in the mid to early sixties. Back then, less efficient furnaces and windows led to smaller rooms. Also, the new construction average home size back in 1960 was a fraction of what it is today.

Angel Abston and realtor Bob Gordon exchanging keys to the home at 6640 e mississippi #9 Denver colorado following the closing

Million Dollar Market Has Evolved

Not too long ago, I was blogging about whether or not there was a seven figure sale in town. Seriously – I’ve only been writing my blog since 2013. Back then, sales over a million dollars were a big deal. Today, not so much. Home buyers in this market should be prepared to see Boulder homes for sale north of a million. Two thirds of the residential market is north of a million.

One hundred and two under a million versus two hundred and three Boulder houses for sale over a million bucks, as of the writing of this post.

Or put another way, there are two million dollar plus properties likely to come up in your Boulder property search for every house under a million when searching on location, style, schools and personal preferences. And those Boulder entry level homes make up a tiny fraction of the sub-$1M group. About a half dozen houses priced under $700,000.

Sellers Market Meets Boulder Entry Level Homes

While the thinking might go – Sellers Market Plus Entry Level equals crazy offers, the reality on the ground is different. In October, out of nine true sales in town, eight sold for less than full price. That doesn’t really sound like a Sellers Market at all. Why? Spitballing here, but the most likely reason is that as the market reaches an ever higher pitch, owners of Boulder entry level homes are pricing them ever higher. These prices might even be over what is achievable. And thus sellers settling for less.

If the trend continues, and inventory increases, it could foretell a change in the market. But one month’s data is difficult to parse. Check back soon for more updates.

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