Commercial, residential markets gain momentum

BOULDER — Boulder’s and Broomfield’s commercial and residential real-estate markets had a pretty good 2012 and look set to enter 2013 with some momentum.

Lynda Gibbons, president and managing broker of commercial real-estate brokerage firm Gibbons-White Inc., said vacancy rates are down and rents are climbing for office space in Boulder and Broomfield, with rents reaching $30 per square foot in downtown Boulder. The downtown vacancy rate is about 6 percent, Gibbons said.

In the city of Boulder, office rents are $21.50 per square foot with an 8 percent vacancy rate, and the average rent for Boulder County is $20.50 per square foot. In Broomfield, the vacancy rate is 14 percent, and the average rent is $27.50 per square foot.

For flex space in the city of Boulder, the average rent is $10 per square foot, while it’s $9.25 in Boulder County and $9 in Broomfield.

In the multifamily housing market, growth is expected to continue. Apartment projects in the planning stages for Gunbarrel and along 28th Street near the University of Colorado are going through the planning process.

One of the few clouds seen in2012 might have a silver lining, Gibbons said. Phillips 66 announced it was not going to build a research and training center in Louisville and put its land up for sale. That was a setback, but with 10 corporate-campus relocations in north Denver taking place in 2012, it might not be on the market for long.

“It wouldn’t be preposterous to assume that gets snapped up pretty quickly,” Gibbons said, adding, “or so we can hope.”

D.B. Wilson, manager of Re/Max of Boulder Inc. said Boulder County’s is once again a residential seller’s market, and all trends point to a strong future.

Local data shows prices and the number of sales are up, while time on market is down. Statistics from the Federal Housing Finance Agency also show that home prices are up in the Boulder area and have recovered to pre-recession levels. Nationally, a 1.8 percent increase in home prices from the first to second quarter of 2012 is the biggest quarter-to-quarter increase since 2005, according to the FHFA.

“What’s encouraging about this,” Wilson said, “is that every category is going the way you’d want it to go…. “I think the market is going to continue to strengthen.”

The only problem is a lack of homes to sell despite the demand. “We actually need inventory. It’s the one concern I have. Buyers are getting frustrated,” Wilson said.

Despite the lack of inventory, buyers seem to have gotten choosier. Some properties stay on the market longer than average, he said, but that is usually because of a miscalculation on the part of the owner and his or her agent.

“Even though there’s very little inventory, you still have to price it right and show it really well,” Wilson said. “The buyers just won’t bite if you don’t.”

Real-estate agents also should keep in mind the record low interest rate. The National Association of Realtors believes rates could rise by about one point in 2013. The change would be about a $50,000 difference for borrowers, Wilson said.

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