Sales off 50% in Boulder - 1Q09

by Osman Parvez

In case you missed it, there was a piece on Boulder market conditions in yesterday's Daily Camera.
The number of homes sold in Boulder in the first quarter of 2009 was down by a whopping 50 percent compared to the same period last year, and the city is far from alone in its poor statistics.
I was interviewed for the article.

To clarify...

1. Mortgage Rates - Yes, I believe rates are still trending downward and will continue to do so, possibly bottoming around 4%. But that alone shouldn't drive your purchase decision. If rates drop substantially from where you purchased, you can refinance (check for restrictions when you shop). This will cost you a few grand in closing fees, but over the life of the mortgage it could save you many, many times that amount.

2. House Prices - Primary home markets like Boulder (not vacation markets) are supported by the local job market. We've been lucky in Boulder because the job market has held up relatively well during this recession. There have been job losses, but unemployment is still well below the national average. At some point, the economy will bottom and employment will begin to increase. When that happens, real estate markets will follow.

The trouble is that in all business cycles, it's virtually impossible to time the bottom or the top. What I said to the reporter was... if you have confidence that your income is not going away (I specifically said 5+ years of visibility), now might be a good time to shop for a home.

We've been helping our clients negotiate great deals on houses, particularly at the mid to high range. Going forward, prices might drop in value a bit more (at certain segments) and rates might drop a bit too. But you can't time the absolute bottom of the market and for a buyer, high inventory is currently giving you lots of options. Selection of the best houses might be more advantageous to a buyer than hoping to time the bottom. In most market cycles, it's usually better to buy before a correction takes hold.

In the article, I was positioned as being bearish on the market. I'm not.

In a nutshell, I think this is a good time for savvy buyers with long term visibility. Through careful targeting of property and tough negotiation, we can help you get a very good deal on property in Boulder.

For sellers, we can help you avoid the seller's walk of shame by providing a deep analysis of market conditions and instituting a very effective, highly customized marketing campaign. This will help you get the most value for your real estate.

If you'd like to reach me to discuss your real estate situation, email me at or call 303.746.6896.

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The ideas and strategies described in this blog are the opinion of the writer and subject to business, economic, and competitive uncertainties.   We strongly recommend conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate. 


  1. "Sales off 50% in Boulder - 1Q09"

    "In the article, I was positioned as being bearish on the market. I'm not."

    Good lord Osman, don't you see the inconsistency in the above two statements?

    If anyone should be bearish it's YOU! I want some of what you're smok'n!

    Best to all, from your friendly neighborhood Bear committee.

  2. The bear committee certainly keeps the comment thread interesting. Keep 'em coming!

  3. I understand how you can be both "bearsih" and bullish. Depending on which statistics you're looking, you can get widely different views on the market.

  4. RE Agents can never be bearish. A bearish/bullish REAgent is a bear in realtor's clothing. This mindset is critical for survival - how can you sell a negatively appreciating asset if you don't drink the bullish koolaid (even a thimble-full)? The "bearish committee" has another name, reality. Osman, you read the econo blogs and obviously stay informed on economic issues. How, with a straight face, can you suggest that now is a good time to buy? Isn't it likely that in 5 yrs you may own a house worth exactly what you pay for it today (I have friends who bought in Boulder in the last 4-5 yrs in that situation now). A 10yr outlook for return on investment is the new window for buying, unless you find a great great deal. Renting is far cheaper in Boulder than owning.


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This document contains forward-looking statements. You are strongly cautioned that investment results are subject to business, economic and other uncertainties. There are no guarantees associated with any forecast and the opinions stated here are subject to change at any time. Always consult your financial advisor before making an investment decision.