The top headline in the Boulder Daily Camera this morning was:

“Boulder County home values see first annual drop in 21 years

Boulder median price falls $40,000 since last October”

The top headline was technically correct but the sub-headline was very misleading and did not correspond with the first statement.  Here’s the deal.  According the FHFA the government agency that tracks home values, Boulder County’s home stock lost an average of .056%  over the past year.  True, this was the first time since 1988 our fine county has seen red figures, but at just over 1/2% this corresponds to just over $3,200 based on an average price last year of $573,000.  This percentage still ranks us well above the national average of -3.76% over the past year and ranks us 80th out of 297 metropolitan areas they track.

So where does the $40,000 drop come from?  The Boulder Area Realtor Association releases statistics each month and last October the median price of sales that occurred during October was $573,000.  During October of this year the sales mix just happened to have a median price in the within the city of $533,500.  Taking one month of data and drawing broad conclusions is not a good way to go about reporting statistics.  During the same month sales were up 11% from the previous year, but it would be preposterous to say that “sales are up 11% since last October”.

I’m not saying that some sectors in the Boulder area real estate market are not losing value.  The high end especially is under price pressure.  I’m just saying that letting the public believe that home values have dropped $40,000 based on 1/12 of the data needed to make an informed reporting is just not correct.

Below is a chart that shows historical data from FHFA.gov and compares Boulder County appreciation to the Nations.

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