'No entry level housing options': Report paints grim picture of Boulder County affordability

There's no affordable homes left in Boulder County. Looking to head east to the Carbon Valley? There's nothing left there, either.

That's according to a new affordability study out of Longmont, a joint effort of Amy Aschenbrenner, CEO of the Longmont Association of Realtors, and Kyle Snyder of Land Title Guarantee Company.

In the last three years, the number of single family homes for sale under $250,000 has dropped 72 percent, and the number of attached dwellings for less than $150,000 declined by 87 percent.

"Those are gigantic numbers," Snyder said. "If you have an inventory of something and then you take 87 percent of it away — that's all of it."

The report extends past Boulder County and into Weld and Larimer counties, covering Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, Erie, Loveland, Berthoud, Firestone, Frederick, Mead and Dacono.

Not one of the 12 towns has an average home price under $250,000, the study's threshold for entry-level affordability. Dacono is the closest, with a $265,363 average cost.

....For attached dwellings, only Mead was under the $150,000 threshold, with a $128,633 average — data that came from three sales last year.

"Our conclusion from the information presented here is that there are no entry level housing options," reads the report. "The lines we drew in the sand as reasonably priced in both categories will soon be obsolete."

Nationally, the median purchase price for first-time buyers was $170,000 in 2016, according to the National Association of Realtors. (The figure does not distinguish between attached and detached dwellings.)

Affordability has dipped nationwide, NAR found, in the nation as a whole and more than half the states, including Colorado.

...There is only one possible fix, Snyder argues: reforming the state's construction defect law that developers say is preventing them from building condominiums.

"The piece of the puzzle that's missing is the condos; it's clear," he said. "It's not a guessing game any longer."

Local legislative workarounds have been pursued, and the Longmont City Council has discussed its own measure. A reform effort was killed just this week in the Colorado House, the Denver Business Journal reported.

Without the addition of lower-priced condos to the local market, Snyder predicts prices will go nowhere but up.

"The bidding wars, the short days on market — I don't think it's going to slow down," he said. "The demand is just too high." Read the story: Daily Times Call, by Shay Castle

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