Boulder, a mid-sized city tucked away in Colorado’s foothills, is known more by its stereotypes than beautiful scenery. But while the rest of the country paints it as a granola-slinging hippie hotspot and breeding ground for trust fund babies, Boulderites are enjoying a housing market that has been virtually unscathed by economic turmoil. So who’s laughing now?
Most homeowners received quite a shock when the value of their homes plummeted along with the stock market. Some areas were undeniably worse than others, but Boulder, on the other hand, only endured a drop that was a measly 56-hundredths-of-a-percent. And that was the first drop that the community had experienced in a ghastly 32 years.
While the jury is still out on what makes this town’s housing market so indestructible, there are a few well-educated guesses: job stability and a tendency to under-build. Boulder is home to a few expansive government agencies, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which provide far more job security than most of the country is able to come by. In addition, the University of Colorado adds greatly to resident employment options.
The under-building, however, is where things have begun to get a little sticky. In 2009, the housing inventory in Boulder reached a 10-year low, which in turn has meant transactions have been down by 34 percent. Homeowners are fully aware that if they sell, then their options for buying are slim to none, thus they stay put and keep the market stagnant.
But while families may be perturbed that they can’t find a home in this community, Boulder is still far better off than many other towns in the country. So for now, their laid back approach to life seems to have paid off. Ten-fold.