The housing market, so it’s been said, caused the Great Recession and may lead the nation out of the COVID recession.

That’s certainly the case in the Boulder Valley, where valuations and demand for housing have increased, even as many sectors of the greater economy have suffered, according to Todd Gullette, managing broker of Re/Max of Boulder, who delivered the residential real estate forecast at BizWest’s virtual Boulder Valley Real Estate Conference Thursday.

Citing data from the Federal Housing and Finance Agency through the second quarter of 2020, Gullette said Boulder has maintained its position as the market with the highest residential real estate appreciation since 1991 at 425%. Other Colorado communities were also listed by FHFA in the top 10 for residential appreciation: Fort Collins/Loveland at 360.5% and Greeley at 321.78%.

“Even during periods of economic pause, we see periods of appreciation,” Gullette said.

Except for the very start of the pandemic, showings per listing were recorded at above 2019 levels, an indicator of housing demand.

While sales in 2020 through the third quarter are above 2019 levels in the same time frame, inventory is well below 2019 at about 50% of the previous year’s levels, he said.

Inventory is down, he suggested, because in the early part of 2020 before the pandemic and shutdowns hit there were large numbers of sales, which depleted some of the inventory. Then, potential sellers took a step back as shutdowns began, he said.

Boulder County is well within the definition of a seller’s market this year, with only 2.3 months worth of inventory, compared with 3.3 months a year earlier. A seller’s market is typically reflected when inventory is below four or five months of inventory. In Boulder County, only 695 single-family homes were on the market at the end of the third quarter. Comparatively, in 2006, there were 2,560 homes for sale at that point of the year.

The average price of single-family homes sold in Boulder County was about $780,000, up 3.5% from a year prior. In the city of Boulder, that average price jumped to $1.25 million.

Attached or multi-family homes sold at an average price of $480,700, up 8.3%, in Boulder County. The average price for attached homes in the city of Boulder was $575,700 through the third quarter.

In Broomfield County, the average sales price for single-family homes was $638,000, up 6.3%, Gullette said. Broomfield’s inventory was at 2.3 months of supply, down from 2.5 months, he said.

Gullette said that future sales will depend to a certain degree on what happens with potential pandemic shutdowns as the virus continues to worsen in the region and state. “I assume (showings) will go down, but we’re also entering a seasonal slowdown in home sales,” he said.

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