Signs of a More "Normal" Real Estate Market in Boulder
Between higher interest rates and typical seasonal slowing, single-family home sales in the city of Boulder decreased by 10.5% compared to the prior year despite remaining steady month-over-month. Activity in the condo/townhome segment also dropped from 65 sales in August to just 45 in September. That's also 25% below sales figures for 2022.
Taking a closer look, the number of new single-family homes for sale increased from 129 in August to 143 in September. With more inventory and minimal demand, median prices decreased slightly month-over-month, from $1,285,700 to $1,262,500. The good news for sellers (and existing owners) is that prices are up by 4.8% year-over-year.
One interesting statistic is that days on the market actually decreased month-over-month and matched the sales timeline for 2022. This could potentially indicate that 1) the buyers who are out looking are motivated and come prepared with their financing squared away, and 2) sellers are realizing that being willing to negotiate either price or concessions is the key to getting their homes sold in today's market.
In the townhouse/condo market, both new inventory and sales were down in September. The median price also decreased from $535,000 to $500,000 last month—that's also 17.6% below prices in 2022. Momentum picked up, however, with properties selling in 38 days compared to 52 in August.
Looking at Boulder County as a whole, the median single-family home came back up from $797,000 in August to $829,000 last month. That's also 3.6% higher than 2022 prices of $800,000. However, sellers received 98.3% of their asking price as buyers used their negotiation power to secure the right deal, especially on properties that had likely been sitting on the market for some time.
Also across the county, new single-family inventory increased while the number of sold listings decreased month-over-month. Sales were also down 26.5% compared to 2022. Accordingly, September closed with 735 homes still available for sale in Boulder County, that's 3.4 months of inventory and a 36% jump in supply year-over-year.
As the market continues to slow for the winter and upcoming holidays, buyers will likely be able to choose from quite a bit of backstock along with fresh inventory. They may also have the leverage to submit offers below asking price and even request seller concessions.
Of course, budget is a huge factor for any buyer, so it's understandable that some are waiting for interest rates to come back down. The problem with that strategy is that once rates do come down, there could potentially be a rush to buy. Once inventory dwindles, prices are likely to take off.
Digging into county numbers, single-family home activity in Lafayette slowed after an August surge. New inventory and sold listings decreased month-over-month. The median price also decreased from $865,000 in August to $827,495 in September and came in 21.2% below 2022 figures. And days on the market increased again from 46 to 68 days month-over-month.
Next door, Louisville bounced back to life with an increase in new listings and sales. Prices also jumped from $778,750 in August to $835,000 last month. Still, sellers are learning to be patient with days on market increasing by 14 month-over-month.
And finally, in Broomfield County, month-over-month prices decreased, coming in at $733,000. However, that's 8.3% higher than in 2022. That's also with a decrease in new listings and the total number of single-family home sales down by 45.2% year-over-year. September then closed with less inventory than last year, 119 properties still available for sale, and two months of inventory going into October.
As the data showed last month, the Boulder County market has slowed and become more balanced—which is also known as a normal market. Getting a deal done takes compromise and a real estate agent versed in negotiations. Whether you're buying or selling, it's important to work with an experienced and highly knowledgeable professional who can provide a nuanced strategy to help you achieve your goals.
What Goes Into Pricing Your Home Just Right
If you're thinking about selling your Boulder home, the first step is to adjust your expectations for today's market. You likely won't sell your home in three days and for the price that your neighbor sold for in 2021. However, if you've been in your home for a number of years, you're still sitting on a ton of equity.
The key is developing a smart home pricing strategy. This is both an art and a science. You need to look at comparable sales, current market conditions, your neighborhood vibe and other various nuances. If your home is priced too high, buyers could be turned off right out of the gate.
And once a home lingers on the market, buyers will wonder why it’s been on the market so long and might even assume there’s something wrong with it. It can be tough to reverse negative perceptions.
Here's a closer look at the most important factors that your agent will take into consideration when pricing your home.
1. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
Your agent will use a CMA to look at how sales are trending in your area, including current and past sales going back around three to six months. They’ll look at comparables (comps) with features similar to your home such as the number of bedrooms and baths, square footage, lot size, location, age of the home, and of course, the final selling price.
While finding comps exactly like yours may not be possible, your agent will be able to provide you with an initial price range. Together, you can then talk about other factors that will allow your agent to zero in on the best possible price to attract the most potential buyers when your home goes on the market.
2. What Sets Your Neighborhood Apart
A buyer can typically change things they don’t like about a house—knock down a wall or put up some shiplap—but they can’t move it to a different location. So, work with your PorchLight agent to list out everything that gives your neighborhood an advantage. Are you close to light rail, entertainment, parks and trails, freeways, even a Trader Joe’s? What are the schools like and are they within walking distance from your home? Is your neighborhood up and coming with new restaurants opening and amenities being offered? Are there great views?
3. Updates, Upgrades, Age & Condition
When touring your home, potential buyers will likely appreciate shiny new kitchen cabinets and updated bathrooms. However, a savvy home hunter might investigate the age of your water heater and ask about your roof, especially since we have such intense hail storms here. And as soon as a buyer discovers one issue, they may begin to wonder what else might be wrong with the home.
If you want to spruce things up before selling, you can discuss your options with your PorchLight agent. As market and neighborhood experts, they will guide you through what changes or updates are worth addressing. They may suggest a new furnace and painting your cabinets instead of doing a full kitchen overhaul. It might also just be best to fix simple things and catch up on basic home maintenance. So, be sure to talk it out.
Final Tip: Detach from Emotional Attachments
Once it’s time to sell, the best thing to do is to try and approach things from the perspective of a buyer. Your agent, and perhaps a PorchLight staging expert, may recommend anything from decluttering and cleaning to maintenance fixes and rearranging your furniture. While this isn’t a reflection of you or your personal style, their advice will ensure that the look of your home aligns with the asking price. If usable square footage can be visually maximized by taking out bulky furniture, or potential buyers see the home as move-in ready, a faster sale will make the process worth it.