Boulder, CO Real Estate Market Trends & Analysis [Updated 2021]

Jump To Another Year In The Boulder Real Estate Market:

Boulder, Colorado is frequently recognized as one of the best places to live concerning health, well-being, quality of life, education, and art. However, in a more recent turn of events, Boulder has established itself among the best of something else: real estate markets. In fact, most of Colorado is experiencing a real estate boom, and Boulder is no exception. Having benefited from its close proximity to Denver, the progress made by the Boulder real estate market appears to be real.

It is worth noting, however, that expectations should be tempered. While the future still appears bright, real estate in Boulder will be impacted by the pandemic. Due to the Coronavirus, activity declined for a short period of time. However, the setback appears to have been temporary. What was once a genuine concern, the Coronavirus may have actually opened a window of opportunity for anyone participating in the market. Buyers, sellers, and investors may all find some indicators to their liking.

Boulder Real Estate Market 2021 Overview

  • Median Home Value: $844,515

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: +6.3%

  • Median Home Value (1-Year Forecast): N/A

  • Median Rent Price: $2,500

  • Price-To-Rent Ratio: 28.15

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (latest estimate by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

  • Population: 326,196 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Median Household Income: $83,019 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Percentage Of Vacant Homes: 6.47%

  • Foreclosure Rate: 1 in every 4,983 (2.0%)

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Boulder real estate

2021 Boulder Real Estate Investing

The Boulder real estate market was the beneficiary of several years of unprecedented economic growth. Few markets across the country, for that matter, have had a better decade than Boulder. Nearly 10 years’ worth of year-over-year appreciation has elevated home prices to their highest point ever. Even the Coronavirus, which was introduced last year, could only hold appreciation rates in check for a few weeks. While the pandemic did temper price increases temporarily, the Fed’s safety measures to drop interest rates resulted in a dramatic increase in demand. Prospective buyers came out in droves to take advantage of lower borrowing costs, and the resulting competition increased prices seemingly overnight.

Boulder real estate market trends saw competition simultaneously increase home values and lower profit margins for investors who wanted to flip properties. As a result, real estate investors in Boulder have turned to rental properties. Historically low interest rates solved two growing problems: Lower borrowing costs helped offset the city’s high prices and increased monthly cash flow from properties put into service.

Low inventory levels have increased home prices and competition in Boulder, and the introduction of the Coronavirus will only compound the issue. Moving forward, it will be harder to find affordable housing for sale. Many people will be forced to rent—even those intent on buying soon will be relegated to renters as long as inventory remains tight. As a result, rental property investors should see demand for living spaces increase, and perhaps even the amount they can charge in rent.

Investors looking to flip and rehab properties, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily out of luck. While today’s high prices make it hard to find deals with attractive profit margins, there’s a good chance we’ll see an influx of foreclosures hit the market after the dust has settled from the Coronavirus. Now isn’t necessarily the optimal time to make acquisitions, but it could be a great opportunity to line up funding and resources. The chances of more foreclosures hitting the market sooner rather than later are increasing, and those who prepare now could find themselves in a great position to make acquisitions when the time comes.

2021 Foreclosure Statistics In Boulder

According to RealtyTrac, a nationally trusted real estate information company, the Boulder real estate market is home to a relatively high amount of foreclosures. With a foreclosure rate of 2.0%, one in every 4,983 homes is considered default, auction, or bank-owned. To put things into perspective, the foreclosure rate in the United States is 0.8%. At that rate, one in every 12,001 homes is considered distressed.

The Boulder real estate investing community should pay special considerations to the city’s auctions. At the very least, they are currently home to the highest distributions of foreclosed properties. Therefore, an investor looking to secure a deal below market value may greatly increase their odds of finding attractive profit margins by simply attending a local auction. For a better idea of where to look, however, investors should go to the neighborhoods with the highest distributions of distressed homes:

  • Nederland: 1 in every 1,961 homes is currently distressed

  • Erie: 1 in every 2,204 homes is currently distressed

  • Lyons: 1 in every 2,581 homes is currently distressed

  • Lafayette: 1 in every 4,112 homes is currently distressed

  • Longmont: 1 in every 7,755 homes is currently distressed

Looking for auctions in the neighborhoods with the highest distributions of foreclosures will greatly increase investors’ odds of finding a deal with good profit margins.

It should be noted, however, that the Coronavirus will most likely impact foreclosures moving forward. While government programs and mortgage forbearance initiatives will keep people in their homes for the foreseeable future, they are more of a temporary fix than a solution.

The Boulder housing market will most likely see an influx of foreclosures over the course of the next 12 months. In turn, local investors may want to start lining up financing now to capitalize on the potential increase of foreclosures in the future.

2021 Median Home Prices In Boulder

The Boulder real estate market has benefited immensely from several years of economic expansion and a wave of out-of-town buyers. Due to increasing demand and the city’s proximity to Denver, Boulder now has a median home value of $844,515. It is worth noting, however, that real estate in Boulder wasn’t always this expensive. While consistently higher than the national average, the median home value in Boulder was approximately $462,000 about nine years ago. Since then (May 2012), when the recovery started to take hold, the median home value in Boulder increased by 82.7%. To put things into perspective, the median home value in the United States has increased slightly more than 50.0% over the same period of time.

A great deal of Boulder’s price increases can be found in the following neighborhoods, which have appreciated the most over the last 20 years (according to NeighborhoodScout):

  • Broadway St / Forest Ave

  • Darley Ave / S Foothills Hwy

  • Table Mesa Dr / S Lashley Ln

  • Moorhead Ave / Martin Dr

  • Gunbarrel

  • Flagstaff Rd / Bison Dr

  • Broadway St / Spruce St

  • N 95th St / Lookout Rd

  • Eldorado Springs

  • Iris Ave / Folsom St

It is important to note that while prices in Boulder have increased at a much faster pace than the national average for the better part of a decade, the last 12 months saw the tables start to turn. Again, prices in Boulder have appreciated to a tipping point; they were bound to retrace a bit.

Boulder Housing Market: 2020 Summary

  • Median Home Value: $770,097

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: +0.9%

  • Median Home Value (1-Year Forecast): +5.9%

  • Median Rent Price: $2,500

  • Price-To-Rent Ratio: 25.66

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (latest estimate by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics)

  • Population: 326,196 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Median Household Income: $78,642 (latest estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Percentage Of Vacant Homes: 6.47%

  • Foreclosure Rate: 1 in every 4,983 (2.0%)

Boulder Real Estate Investing 2020

The arrival of the Coronavirus impacted every real estate market across the country. Quarantine orders issued in every state all but shut down every real estate market, and Boulder was no exception. As fear and uncertainty began to resonate on a national level, nobody was willing to participate in a marketplace with more questions than answers. To top things off, unemployment soared, and people stopped spending. All things considered, the housing market came to a standstill in the first part of 2020.

Forecasts predicted the worst, but markets across the country proved to be resilient. The setback experienced in Boulder (and across the country) was temporary, as activity returned just a few short weeks later. In addition to pent-up demand, the Fed kept interest rates low and enticing. Buying a home became too attractive not to consider for the millions of Americans who were already looking to purchase before the pandemic. As a result, prices in Boulder increased over the course of 2020.

Home values increased approximately 6.3% over 2020; that’s in addition to the previous decade’s worth of appreciation. Nonetheless, prices reached record highs, and investors were forced to rethink their exit strategies. While the most popular exit strategy had been rehabbing, the new market created in the wake of the Coronavirus began to favor long-term strategies. In particular, building or adding to rental portfolios became the most attractive strategy in 2020. For starters, lower borrowing costs both offset high home prices and increased monthly cash flow from operations. Subsequently, Boulder’s high acquisition costs and low inventory levels prohibited many buyers from buying. Many of those who wanted to buy in 2020 were relegated to the renter pool, which worked out well for rental property investors.

Boulder Housing Market: 2016 Summary

  • Median Home Price: $549,600

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: 18.5%

  • 3-Year Appreciation Rate: 27.5%

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.4%

  • 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 3.7%

  • Population: 103,166

  • Median Household Income: $57,112

Boulder Real Estate Investing 2016

Boulder real estate news was extremely positive in 2016, specifically the first half. Home prices and appreciation rates flourished, growing relative to the previous year and well beyond the national average. Gains in the previous three years extended the trend of positive price growth since the recession, revealing a housing market ripe for investment. Total home equity gains for Boulder real estate during the first-half were among the highest in the country, with homeowners and investors reaping the rewards.

Home prices for Boulder real estate blossomed in 2016, with median home prices reaching $549,600, compared to the national average of $239,167. Moreover, appreciation rates remained on an upward trajectory, as one-year and three-year rates climbed 18.5% and 27.5%, respectively. In fact, the Boulder real estate market was one of the 20 hottest housing markets during the spring selling season at the time. Homes in Boulder sold within 40 days, among the highest in the country.

A collection of factors drove the Boulder housing market in the second quarter, but none more so than the local economy. Low unemployment rates, which remained well below the national average, combined with growth in jobs, helped prop up the city in the first half of 2016. One-year job growth in Boulder reached 3.7% during the second quarter, higher than the 1.9% achieved by the rest of the country.  Furthermore, employment held up and help the local economy become what it is today.

Boulder Housing Market: 2016 Summary

  • Median Home Price: $442,200

  • 1-Year Appreciation Rate: 5.6%

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6%

  • 1-Year Job Growth Rate: 1.7%

  • Population: 96,431

  • Median Household Income: $83,765

Boulder Real Estate Investing 2015

In 2015, the median home value in the Boulder housing market was about $442,200. Even then, Boulder real estate was well ahead of the national average. Rising approximately 5.6% from the previous year, 2015 was when boulder started taking off. In a three-year period leading up to 2015, prices had risen as much as 18.3%.

With an unemployment rate of 3.6%, the city was well below the national average. The city’s unemployment rate reflected an impressive 1.4% improvement over the previous year. The 1-year job growth rate, however, could have been better for the time. Five years ago, it stood at 1.7%, below the national average.

After the economy expanded and equity grew, new housing construction increased almost exponentially. Overall, the level of construction was about 65.8% above its long-term average at the time. Single-family housing permits increased by as much as 18.5% from the previous year; that was nearly six times the national average.

Boulder County Map:

Map of Boulder, CO neighborhoods

Boulder Real Estate Market Summary

The Boulder real estate market has certainly cooled off from the blistering pace it exercised in years past. However, as inventory begins to increase alongside growing demand, it’s reasonable to suspect the local housing market to heat up just in time for summer. As a result, prices should continue to increase for the foreseeable future. Those who get in now may be able to capitalize on both demand and appreciation for the foreseeable future.

Have you thought about investing in the Boulder real estate market? If so, what are you waiting for? We would love to know your thoughts on real estate in Boulder in the comments below.

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