Staying Hot with a Cooling Market [Boulder Fresh Listings]

At my Rotary meeting last week, another Realtor asked if I was starting to see my business slow down. I told him that the market was definitely cooler this spring but House Einstein was having a very busy season. Our best yet. 

Helping buyers and sellers understand local market conditions has always been a big part of our mission. If you ask a typical Realtor about market conditions, you'll likely hear more about their personal business activity rather than the market as a whole. Or you'll hear about market conditions for the entire County, not conditions for the city much less down to the neighborhood or street level. 

If you're buying or selling real estate, you need relevant and timely market data to make a smart decision. There are no short-cuts and there are no excuses. Before we begin this week's fresh listings, let's take a look at recent, relevant, and actionable data on market conditions. 

After years of low inventory, the Boulder market started transitioning last fall. Beginning around September, change was in the air. Inventory started building and last month, it hit 21.7% above average for detached dwellings in Boulder. 

Not only is inventory increasing, but as the pie charts above show, the composition has changed. In May of last year, about 2/3 of the City of Boulder market was under contract. Today, it's about 1/2.   

Meanwhile, sales volume for the past two months has been slightly above average. April was +6.1% above average and cumulative volume for the last three months was +5%, compared to the previous year. 

Rising inventory means better selection for buyers, but the market is starting to signal resilience. In my book, it's just enough data to call it a trend. 

What does this analysis mean for buyers and sellers?  

You may have better selection and more leverage in negotiation than during the past several years, it could be short-lived. If you're lucky enough to find a house worth buying (and most, frankly are not) and the price is well supported by recent comparable sales, don't kick a gift-horse in the mouth. Pull the trigger. 

This late spring and early summer market in Boulder will be the most competitive in many years. It's worth investing some capital to fix cosmetic defects and address deferred maintenance before listing. It's also important to price your listing right, with a detailed analysis of the most relevant sold comps and intelligent placement among active competitors. Don't plan on setting an asking price based on wishful thinking. That's rolling the dice. Although it could swing back in your favor, the market is far less forgiving this year. 

Still with me? Ready to see some houses? Hop into the Realtor-mobile...

The following are important, notable sales and the best listings to hit the market in Boulder this week.  

For private showings and discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. My goal is to help you make a smarter real estate decision.

Sold Listings of Note 
2580 Kohler Drive | $2.7M | Pics and Details
On the market for more than year, the seller held firm on their price and eventually it sold for only 1.8% below asking. It's notable because it shows value of the large, modern, turn-key, newly constructed luxury homes in Table Mesa. Though it it lacks a view and is located on busier street, this home has surpassed the sniff test even in this cooler market. It also illustrates what happens when you're deeply confident, and right, about the value of your real estate. 

Note: Council is likely going to pass some sort of ban on large homes in Boulder. For a variety of reasons, we do not support that ban. The effect of squeezing the balloon will result in driving up the value of homes like this one because they will not be able to construct one, even if you have a large lot. That increase comes at the expense of everyone else who loses the opportunity, whether they exercise it or not.  
1965 Stony Hill Rd | $2.25M | Pics and Details
One of our favorite spots in South Boulder, a quiet cul-de-sac with trail access to spectacular open space. The lots on the south side are preferred because they feature stunning views over Boulder, in addition to the Foothills. Lots on the north side continue to benefit from the exclusivity of the location and have partial mountain views. This four bed, five bath was constructed in 1975 and was recently updated with traditional finishes. It was overpriced when it initially hit the market in December. The seller chased the market with price reductions and it eventually sold at $2.2M; 9.7% below last asking and 25% below the original asking price of $3.0M. 

Pro tip: Estate sales = motivated sellers, but wishful thinking is still a bad pricing strategy. Still, if you assume the seller didn’t spend much on improvements during their 19 year ownership period, they netted a 4.7% unlevered IRR. Not too shabby for an asset you can live inside. 

3335 Heidelberg Dr | $1.38M | Pics and Details

A well appointed family house with a classic layout includes the following: all bedrooms on the upper level, an open and inviting main level living, dining, and entertaining. Our sellers updated it during their ownership tenure and prepped it carefully for sale. We priced and marketed it with a detailed analysis of the competition as well as an understanding of the deal environment for comparable sales in Table Mesa. 

Deal notes: We negotiated with multiple offers and it was under contract after the first weekend. Communication throughout the transaction was transparent and straight forward. Buyer requests on inspection were reasonable, which meant our sellers were reasonable too. It sold for $30K over asking. It was a pleasure to represent the sellers on the sale of this beautiful home, our third transaction with these clients as well as to work with the buyer’s agent, Brian DelaneyWe also tip our hats to Neil Kearney for coordinating with us on pricing his functionally similar, albeit, much more dated listing up the street. 

220 32nd St | $672K | Pics and Details
A basic three bedroom, two bath with about ~1,000 SF and a 1 car garage. Lot size is typical. Updates included removing the wall to open up the floor plan, a new kitchen including center island, remodeled bath, and decent quality finishes. The location is a little close to Ash, a busy through street, but not bad. Basic ranches start around $650K. Do the math and this was good deal. 

I'll update our Martin Acres index for basic ranches sometime soon, but for now this is a good comp for ranches this summer. As a rule of thumb, add about 10% for the same house on the west side of Broadway (but not on a busy street or subject to Broadway, i.e. not on Toedtli). Subtract about 5% for the Baseline neighborhood. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

Fresh Listings
5063 Idylwild Trl | $1.3M | Pics and Details
If you’re looking for a large, functional ranch style house in a Golf Course community near Boulder, consider the Country Club neighborhood in Gunbarrel. Most of the homes that tend to come up for sale here are dated, but 5063 Idywild is an exception. It has made its arrival to the market with tasteful, up to date finishes. The finished square footage features three bedrooms on the main, three on the lower level and four baths. It backs to the course itself, which provides a sense of spaciousness and views. Outdoor living spaces are attractive. 

Due diligence: Even if you’re not a golfer, golf course homes tend to do well over the long run. The course and activities at the club enrich the neighborhood. Membership is not included. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

582 Locust Pl | $1.2M | Pics and Details
Look past the vertical listing photos to the facts: It’s west of Broadway, with easy access to trails into Wonderland Lake Open Space. The home also features five functional bedrooms, four baths, and 2,700 F. SQFT - tolerable for most buyers. 

Due diligence: It appears one of the bedrooms may have its own exterior entrance but is not likely a licensed ADU. Don’t forget to check for traffic tolerance, it’s on the corner. The photos suggest updates have been minimal during the sellers nine year ownership. Assuming no additional apex, that’s a 6.4% IRR at the asking price.

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

768 Cottage Ln | $995K | Pics and Details
These adorable, small beautiful houses back to Wonderland Lake Open Space. They are rarely available and usually fly off the market. To point, it’s already under contract. You snooze you lose. Showings began on Wednesday and it was under contract before the weekend, likely above asking.    

Pro-tip: The fastest way to get current listings is to be on instant listing alerts from an experienced, full time, local Realtor. If you’re not sure about your agent, ask them how many deals they did in Boulder last year. ~400 agents closed only one deal last year. Meanwhile, 80% of the transactions within the city were handled by only 25 agents. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

3010 14th St | $995K | Pics and Details
As we’ve written about before, buyers have been bidding up this little pocket of Boulder. Basic ranches with full basements are a perfect platform for an additional remodel project. Take drive around the area and you’ll find many in the neighborhood. 

If you’re not attached to location, you can buy a very similar house in South Boulder at ~75% or less of the asking price. South Boulder homes have historically traded at a discount to North Boulder although we expect that differential to decline over time. Even Martin Acres is now filled with gorgeous $1M pop-tops (check out our map) although most won’t have the vaulted ceiling. If you OK living in South Boulder, you might prefer to wait for a turn-key option at the same price. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

3802 Lakebriar Dr | $899K | Pics and Details
It’s a large duplex, West of Broadway, in exclusive Spring Valley. Every finish in this house is begging for an update but if the bones are solid, it’ll be worth the investment for the exclusive location and relatively low maintenance lifestyle. 

Due diligence: HOA dues are only $750 per year, which means you’re probably on the hook for everything on the exterior. Check the rules and regs carefully, meet a few of the neighbors, and review the financial statements. Ask about a reserve study and don’t forget to read the minutes. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

256 S Jefferson Ave | $635K | Pics and Details
A small but still functional family bi-level in a great location in Louisville. Four bedrooms, two baths, and a two car garage means it will work for a lot of potential buyers (or tenants). The real cherry on top is that it backs to Dutch Creek Park open space and you’re still in strolling distance to downtown Louisville. 

Pro-tip: Development in Louisville is not nearly as restrictive as in Boulder. For a tour of recent higher-end bi-level and tri-level remodels, contact your friendly House Einstein agent. Also, the rumors appear to be true. Louisville Street Faire is BACK.

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

7445 Mount Sherman Rd | $600K | Pics and Details
Your mailbox will say Longmont, but this home is actually located between Gunbarrel and Niwot. Your kids will be in exceptional NIwot area schools. The house features four bedrooms, three baths, and almost 3,000 SF. It's also situated on a decent size lot. 

Due diligence: Transmission lines are about 250’ from the house to the east, blocked by a row of houses. Some buyers have concerns with EMF from this type of power line. Worth noting, but likely of minimal concern. 

For private showings and a discussion of market conditions, valuation, and negotiation strategy, call Osman at 303.746.6896. 

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Ready to buy or sell? Schedule an appointment 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. 

Cover image: Caju Gomes

Please Note

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.