Boulder County Home Prices Up or Down?

If you believe what you read and hear in the media, you could conclude that home values are up, or down… really, everyone is reporting different data, and many times it’s to simply “sell papers”. I have a friend in the Newlands neighborhood who just contacted me this morning to tell me the county sent notice her property value had increased many thousands of dollars.

I think there’s something amiss here. Consensus among real estate professionals in Boulder is that even areas like the Mapleton Hill Neighborhood, Table Mesa Neighborhood, and the Old North Boulder Neighborhood are essentially even/flat and have been so for many months. A recent local news article reported that home values between mid 2008 and mid 2010 are down according the the Boulder County assessor.

If that’s so, then why have I had about 20 calls and emails from my friends and clients asking me if I can help them with their county real estate tax assessment? These calls are because my friends are concerned about paying higher taxes, based on higher values reported and assessed by the county.

So which is right?

Call, text, or email me today! … I’d seriously enjoy having the opportunity to talk to you about your plans if you’re moving, or if you know someone who is considering a move, and needs some straight answers.

Well, I’ve consistently reviewed and discussed this with many fellow Realtors because from our point of view, working day in, and day out in the industry, Boulder county values have been relatively flat, or unchanged in the last year or so.

What we have seen is a strong surge upwards in the number of sales overall.

As an interesting observation, the numbers are down (total homes sold) when we compare March and April of 2011 versus March and April of 2010, and we generally attribute that to the tax advantages in place which expired about this time last year. That compressed the market, which means many purchases which might have happened in the summer, in a more spread-out time frame, happened earlier to tax advantage of the tax break.

Another salient point is that if we consider the price per square foot of sold homes over the last year or two, these numbers have remained relatively stable. However, some media reports sensationalize this statistic incorrectly and report that values are down since in some areas the average and/or median price of sold homes is lower than it was previously.

What’s really going on is that buyers are purchasing lower-priced homes, but the value/cost is relatively stable and unchanged. I’ll soon report the sales statistics again, such as number of homes sold, median and average prices, and days on the market, but I want you to consider that this is only one element to consider.

Oh, and back to that business of a local newspaper article reporting home values down, based on the county appraisals, and reappraisals… ask yourself this: when was the last time the county actually came into your home, or anyone’s home for that matter, and did a ‘real’ appraisal of the type you might get when acquiring financing for a purchase or a refi?

The appraisal process the County used is generally automated and in many cases way off base in terms of true market value. So, don’t look to that number as an indication of the value of a home when you’re thinking about buying, and if your valuation from the county came in higher than it was in 2009, I recommend you call your favorite Realtor and ask for some help in substantiating what the true market value is for your home.

Then appeal that valuation with the county ASAP.

Thinking about buying a new home, getting ready to sell, or know someone who plans to move? I think we should talk.

Call, Text, or Email me. I will listen carefully to you.

You may also find my neighborhood profiles, and Boulder business profiles informative and useful. They’re both great ways to learn more about what’s going on in Boulder. Call, Text, or Email me today!

Zachary Epps, GRI, ABR, REALTOR®, Eco-Broker®, full-time RE/MAX professional, and author of the Boulder Real Estate and Neighborhood Guide, The Boulder Condo Guide, and The Home Buyer’s Handbook.

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