Wild Fires Ravaging Colorado
The big news has to be the fires raging around Boulder county. We are experiencing heretofore unseen levels of wild fires. Entire subdivisions and towns have been emptied as part of mandatory evacuations.
To see the city of Boulder order the evacuation of Lake of the Pines was stunning. To hear that all of Estes Park, the beloved mountain community next to Rocky Mountain National Park was emptied was simply unbelievable.
The fires ravaging Colorado are terrible and fierce. If you live along The Front Range, you have seen the smoke – or more likely coughed while trying to be outdoors. There have been some terribly bad air quality days this Fall. The recent snowfall is a blessing. Hopefully it is giving the firefighters a small edge in battling the Lefthand Canyon fire and the Calwood Fire — currently seventy-six percent contained.
Home Mortgage Interest Rates
Nationally we continue to see incredibly low home mortgage interest rates. This is just simply incredible. I’m not even sure today’s home buyers understand what an incredible moment this is for the real estate marketplace. You can get a rate around three percent, no points, on a thirty year mortgage. Of course, that’s if you can find a home or more importantly win the negotiating battle to get under contract.
Competition for entry level and value priced homes remains fierce along the Front Range.
Hot Colorado Market
First it was Boulder Colorado. Then Denver Colorado. Next up came the Fort Collins marketplace and now we are seeing Colorado Springs. Each has taken its turn as one of – or the top #1 – residential real estate market in the United States.
Colorado has a desirable lifestyle. Love it or leave, marijuana is legal – so its not a criminal act to buy some at a local shop. We have the Great Outdoors, from skiing in the winter to hiking in the summertime. When I first moved to Boulder CO in the early nineties, I heard a popular refrain:
I moved here for the winters, I stayed here for the summers.
Boulder Colorado (and Denver CO to the South) have jobs. There is a booming Tech community. Google has recently built a world class state of the art campus populated by fifteen hundred high paying jobs. Twitter, gaming websites, Linked In also have a presence. I’ve blogged previously on the seven verticals driving our economy in Boulder. And there is the flagship University of Colorado at Boulder campus.
Also driving technology are the government labs. NIST with its atomic clock sits at the base of the Foothills while NCAR blends into the landscape sitting atop the close in mountains overlooking the city. And spread around town are a myriad of labs and facilities with three and for letter acronyms driving science and discovery.
Bottom line: Boulder is a destination for our nation’s best and brightest. And the real estate market is going sky high to keep up with the demand.
Low Housing Inventory Collides With High Buyer Demand
To say we have these things – lots of home buyers, few houses, is one thing. Take it in perspective. Since late summer, 2020, Boulder has had 2/3rds the inventory of homes for sale that it did last year. That’s a thirty five percent decrease.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has been contributing to ever higher demand. Many of us, cooped up in our homes are discovering we need additional space for home schooling children via zoom, working out in lieu of going to the gym and creating a second home office space as the community embraces isolation to keep risks down.
There is even talk around Boulder of new restrictions to keep everyone safe – as we saw back in March. This sort of talk is going to add more pressure for families seeking a little more breathing room in the already fired up Boulder housing market.
One of the most telling stats I’ve seen lately is that showings on houses is up 8 percent year over year. Think about it. In this time of covid-19, homes are getting showed a little under 10% more often. Combine that with the dearth of inventory (remember, 35% fewer homes for sale) and you have the ingredients for a red hot sellers market.
My personal experience has been showing four houses a weekend to some home buyers. Looking in Arvada and Westminster, at entry level prices – $350-450K. Over several weekends, we saw a range of houses – dumps, family homes, ranch layouts, quiet streets to busy. And every one of those houses was under contract within seventy hours of being listed. That’s a tight market.