Overview of the luxury condo market it downtown Boulder

During 2002 and 2003 One Boulder Plaza changed the landscape of downtown Boulder by inventing a new category in the local real estate market.  That first successful project merged the Downtown Boulder location and luxury finishes.  The result was a paradigm shift to what a buyer would pay for a square foot of residential living space.  As sales mounted and a new buyers were attracted to the area other developers became encouraged and decided to continue the concept.  Soon new projects were built and early on the local and national real estate market (as well as the financing) were robust enough to provide buyers for the newest and best projects.  Competition has been tough with buyers preferring to choose their finishes and buy “new” rather than pay a similar price for a resale.

Since 2007 the combination of difficult credit conditions, an economic slump, stock market losses and out of state real estate losses have hit the local luxury market severely.  Here is a graph showing all properties sold in Boulder County over $1,000,000 which were listed in the MLS since 1997.

As you can see the number of sales has dropped significantly since the peak year of 2007.  However, sales in this category are not dead.  During 2009, 78 condo properties sold in Boulder area above $500,000.  Sixteen of those sales were over $1,000,000.  The average price per square foot for properties in the downtown area under $900,000 was $503 and $697 for properties over $1,000,000.

I think going forward the strength of this market going forward depends upon outside forces such as; the strength of the housing market in general both locally and nationally, the ability of the luxury market to withstand a high inventory position while not losing too much value and the availability credit for buyers.

Market Data

Since January 1, 2009 there have been 16 sales of condo units in Boulder Colorado over $1,000,000.  To view a detailed spreadsheet showing all of the sales, the price per square foot of each unit and the sold date, click here.  I welcome you to delve into the details but here are the details.  The sales ranged from $1,000,000 to $5,317,000 for Jared Polis’s custom built penthouse unit at the Walnut.  The average price per finished square foot for the entire bunch was $697.  This is about $100 higher than it would be if we threw out the sales over $2 million.

Currently, there are 25 condos listed in Boulder over $1 million.  This number understates the true market a bit because there are some properties listed for sale that are not in the MLS.  Most notablyThe Arete has just five properties listed for sale while I think the true number available is close to double that.

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