This is generally my happy time of the year with lots of numbers and data to look at. This will be the first of several articles talking about how the 2022 Boulder County real estate market played out. As is usual, these stats are IRES data only and may miss sales only attributed in REColorado and any sales not reported to an MLS system. Due to the duplication problems between the MLS systems, I still don’t feel comfortable including any REColorado data. I remain hopeful that someday we’ll have figured out a way to easily report all sales for our area.
The 2022 market changed so dramatically during the year it actually felt like two different years or markets. These numbers are for the entire year and may miss some of the nuance of the changed market after mortgage rates jumped in spring 2022. The highest-level observation I can make is the dramatic drop in total sales, down almost 27% from 2021.
After coming out of the Great recession in 2012, we’ve bounced around 4,800 annual sales for 10 years (green line above). 2022 definitely broke that trend. The drop on the chart is impressive and interestingly, shows our 2022 sales levels were below the levels we saw during the Great Recession (orange line above). I have not seen a level of sales this low since I started in the business. What may be even more amazing with such low sales, the market feels generally slow but stable and maybe even has popped in activity for the first several weeks of January 2023.
This dichotomy, lowest sales in 25 years, but a slow but stable market can be attributed to the other side of the supply and demand equation. Our Available Inventory in Boulder County is off the historic lows, but just barely. As of Monday, January 23rd, we only had 234 single family homes available for sale across the entire County. Compare that to the 1,653 we had for sale in the same week back in 2006. Our inventory is so low, it is masking the effects the low annual sales we saw above.
This is the battle I’ll be watching in 2023. Who returns to the market in force this year. Will it be buyers, sellers, both or neither? Our supply and demand remain relatively balanced, just at levels a fraction of past patterns. If more supply arrives in relation to demand, prices may drop. If more demand arrives in relation to supply, prices may strengthen. I think the most likely scenario will be a constantly shifting balance point between these two forces across different prices points and areas. Localized events like layoffs or new development may have an outsized effect this year in the areas those happen in. It will be interesting to watch, and I’ll remain vigilant. Be well all!