Weekend Reading - December 7, 2021.

Phew, last week was busy. I completely forgot to include Weekend Reading in the latest newsletterIf you're tracking the real estate market, here are a few articles worth your time to consider:

My Take: Ever since I launched into real estate in Colorado in 2005, I've been worried about the impact of climate change on the sustainability of our local environment and how that subsequently will impact the real estate market. As House Einstein expands into Summit County, I'm now paying even more attention. 

In short, I believe we're likely to experience more climate volatility, drought, and wildfire in coming years. That means we may have extremely poor snow conditions one year, followed by epic winter sports conditions the following year. High volatility will make it more difficult to attract visitors. The communities that have invested for decades in resources to support year-round outdoor activity will do better than resort markets that are more reliant on the ski season.  

My Take: The Fed is signaling higher rates as early as next Spring. Like a publicly traded company managing earning expectations, the Fed has played this game for nearly as long as I can remember. The market hates surprises, especially downside surprises. It seems more preoccupied with managing those economic expectations than controlling inflation. Last spring, they were calling it transitory inflation. They've officially dropped that stance. Meanwhile, the OECD isn't telling us anything the market hasn't been predicting for about a year. 

The question House Einstein's buyers and sellers want to know is how potentially rising rates will impact demand and prices. Given that we've been in an extreme supply side crunch for a decade, which only got worse with Covid, I actually welcome a cooling period. I expect the impact should be minimal on nominal prices for the best locations, and more impactful for weaker markets.  

Note: I don't have a crystal ball. See the CYA disclaimer below. 

My Take:  I'm including this mostly because it's fun (and maybe horrifying) to think about a Matrix-like world where we get more fulfillment and meaning from our online experiences than what happens in real life.  

Oh wait, maybe we're already there.  

Obviously, you can't live inside an imaginary house or raise your children inside one. If virtual real estate becomes a real thing, the biggest beneficiaries will the corporations that create these imaginary realms. Why make the effort to live a truly impassioned and authentic life, when you can implant a Neuralink and live inside your own West World? 

It's a scary thought. Unplug while you can. 

West Pearl is one of the most desirable locations in Boulder. It's nestled up against the People's Crossing (i.e. Pioneer Park), has bike path access to Eben G. Fine, and most importantly just steps from Boulder's best restaurants, bars, and shops. On the far west end, there's a Section 8 housing development called Glen Willow. Nicely renovated in 2020 with CHFA bonds, the development consists of 34 low income housing units managed by Boulder Housing Partners, the Housing Authority for the City of Boulder.

As the article notes, supposedly the radiation contaminated soil on site was cleaned up (although really just dumped to a different site on Valmont Butte, creating a future problem). To date, we've had clients perform all sorts of environmental tests when it comes to real estate but none have brought along a Geiger counter. Given the history of the site, we'll be advising all of our W. Pearl buyers to consider doing so in the future. 

It's also a sad fact that many historic low income projects were brown-field redevelopments, with little environmental assessments done prior to breaking ground. Today, the standards are much higher but that doesn't erase the horrific legacy. 

Most of our clients purchasing at the upper end of the market are utilizing cash. Typically, they liquidate funds from investment accounts. To take advantage of low rates, most will utilize a mortgage just after closing. Sometimes buyers will try to sneak in a loan before closing. 

While, I have not personally seen anything that appears to be money laundering in our markets, I have heard stories from my Realtor colleagues in other markets - particularly high profile locations - where well heeled, often international buyers swoop in on private jets to acquire lifestyle properties. The source of the cash is somewhat nebulous. They also strangely don't seem to care about the price that much. They're mostly concerned with the flash of the property and the importance of parking cash in an inflation hedged asset, far from their home country.  

For the rest of us, the result will be more paperwork and more cost. At the same time, it's probably necessary. What the Treasury wants, it will probably get.

Osman Parvez  is the Founder and Employing Broker of House Einstein. Originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York, he lives in Boulder with his wife and their Labrador Retriever. He has been a Realtor since 2005.

Osman is the primary author of the House Einstein blog with over 1,200 published articles about Boulder real estate. His work has also appeared in many other blogs about Boulder as well as mainstream newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and Daily Camera. For more information, click HERE.

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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. House Einstein strongly recommends conducting rigorous due diligence and obtaining professional advice before buying or selling real estate.  

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.