Last month we talked about what a high-end home was. After looking at the data for Boulder County for the last 16 years, I came up with the answer that the top 3% of the market was the high-end. In the raw data, there was a hitch in many years when you reached that 3% level, a jump larger than other increments that implied there was something different as you moved from the top 4% to the top 3%. After looking at all of that data, I was also left with the curiosity to see how those price levels played out across the individual cities in the County. As usual, some time with my head buried in Excel and I have some answers and some further questions. Here are the breakdowns for the individual Cities in the County for 2017 Sales using IRES only data, the chart of Single Family homes first, Attached homes second and combined third.
You can see that I’ve highlighted in yellow the sales price for each city that would have put that home into the top 3% of all 2017 sales for both single family and attached. The first thing I realized when I looked at this city by city data is that the hitch in my data at the 3% level has disappeared. When comparing prices within each city, apples to apples, there typically is just a smooth transition between the different price percentiles. An interesting result and one that throws out my assertion that there was something special about that 3% level.
Another thing that jumped out of the data is that we live in an expensive area, I know, shocking news. The Median Price for a home in the State of Colorado is $363,386 and for the nation as a whole, $213,146. The most affordable City within Boulder County is Longmont with a Median Price higher than the state median and far higher than the national median. 40% of City of Boulder sales were over $1M in 2017 and surprisingly to me, over 6% of City of Louisville sales were over $1M.
The more I contemplated this data, I also came to the realization that comparing City to City also has issues. We know of many areas where a City line is drawn, and on the other side of the City line is a subdivision composed of homes in a much different price point that gets included into a different area. Think of Portico (Suburban Plains) versus SW Longmont, Boulder Country Club versus the rest of Gunbarrel (the City of Boulder parts and the Suburban Plains parts), and White Hawk Ranch (Suburban Plains) versus the City of Lafayette. One other area of question, the Suburban Mountains. I would bet without looking that most of the high-end sales in that area were for the very close in to Boulder properties and not the homes up by Allenspark. I’m sure there are other similar areas as well scattered throughout the County. So how do you account for those differences? Should those areas be lumped in with the nearby Cities or not? This is really more of comment on the Area/Subarea structure of the MLS data. Possibly something that worked well in the past but today it may just be causing more confusion.
I’ve had a couple of weeks of thinking I’d answered something about the high-end, but further reflection tells me my definition doesn’t work. I’ll have to keep contemplating this question.