Now this feels like spring!  The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and houses are selling.  Sales of single family homes in March were up 41% and sales of attached dwellings were up 37% compared with the same month last year.  For the first quarter, total sales in Boulder County were up just about 25% from Q1 2009.  This is great news, much needed and a boost to the industry and the collective confidence of the community of would be home buyers and home sellers.  Of course the tax credit has boosted the results quite a bit.

Prices continue to be a mixed bag.  Overall, the median prices for homes in the area are down a few percentage points, but the number can vary widely depending upon area and price range.  Homes in the entry level price ranges for each of our local areas tend to be doing well; lots of activity and prices holding steady.  Homes in the upper price ranges have not widely participated in the recent rally.  Many owners of homes in the luxury segment have had to make drastic price reductions in order to garner interest from prospective buyers.

Here are a few interesting statistics that show the disparity between price ranges in our local market.  All statistics are from IRES and include property throughout Boulder County.

Price Range Inventory in Months
$0 – $250,000 7.5
$250,001 – $500,000 8.1
$500,001 – $750,000 12.1
$750,001 – $1,000,000 21.2
$1,000,001 – $1,500,000 29.0
$1,500,001 and above 39.4

Inventory in months is also known as absorption rate.  It is a measure that compares the number of homes on the market in any given segment to how quickly those homes have been recently selling.  This table shows a clear correlation between price and absorption rate.  As price range increases you would expect it to take longer for a home to sell.

First Quarter Sales        
2008 2009 2010 1 year change
$0 – $250,000 316 228 275 21%
$250,001 – $400,000 255 178 199 12%
$400,001 – $800,000 212 122 200 64%
$800,001 – $1.2 MM 37 20 20 0%
Greater than $1.2 MM 29 15 11 -27%
Combined 849 563 705 25%


As mentioned above, total sales in Boulder County increased roughly 25% during the first quarter (compared with Q1 2009).  An easy assumption would be that sales have improved across all price ranges.  So far this year this is not the case.  The largest increases in sales were seen between $400,000 and $800,000 where an improvement of 64% was recorded.  Between $800,000 and $1.2 million there was no change and for homes above $1.2 million there was actually a decrease of 27% in the number of sales during the first quarter.  Clearly the recovery has not yet reached the top end.


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