The thing about statistics is that the only good data looks backward. Any forward looking statistic is just a prediction, a forecast, a guess. As I have written about recently, the real estate market in the Boulder area is full of buyers right now. Unfortunately for the buyers, there are not that many listings to choose from. As I write this nearly 1/3 of homes listed for sale already have been matched with a buyer. Real Estate is basically a complex supply and demand problem. Right now the supply isn’t enough to meet the demand. If that persists then the prices should increase.
Over the past few years the number of sales has declined. In other words, the number of ready, willing and able buyers has declined. As demand falls, all things being equal, prices should fall. Luckily for us, the supply of homes has declined as well lessening the effect on home prices. Over the past few years median prices have fallen in Boulder County. Not nearly as severe as most other areas but there has been a small correction.
One of the best data sources for home appreciation numbers is FHFA.gov. This governmental agency tracks home values across the country using conventional loan data. It then produces a report which ranks each area against the other 306 areas it tracks. According to FHFA, Boulder County homes over the past year (ending December 31, 2011) have lost .75% in value. Not even a 1% decline. This ranks 57th nationally. Top 20%. Not bad.
For the fourth quarter our appreciation was a positive .63%. This ranked 98th nationally. The good news here is that even as our appreciation improved it ranked worse. This means that there is a broad recovery happening around the United States.
Note1: Fort Collins/Loveland ranked 6th nationally with a 1.49% increase for the year.
Note 2: The five year combined appreciation for Boulder County is + 1.56%.
Chart 1: Comparison of Boulder County home appreciation to U.S. average.
Chart 2: National ranking of Boulder’s appreciation. (lower is better)