Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How's the Market in Lafayette, CO? [Analyze This]

by Osman Parvez

Here's an update on market conditions in Lafayette.  I'll dedicate this one to my friend Lucas, who recently started searching for the right house.

This research, plus a whole lot more, is also in the latest House Einstein Report.   Sign up HERE

Here's a fun fact about Lafayette.   Mary and Lafayette Miller, the town's first residents, only lived on their homestead for three years before moving to Boulder.    It was after Lafayette Miller died that Mary moved back to the family farm.  Six years later,  coal was discovered and a decade after that, Mary created the town of Lafayette by designating 150 acres.    

Lafayette Colorado Market Conditions
The following is an analysis of real estate market conditions in Lafayette, CO. It utilizes data from arms-length, Realtor assisted transactions through the end of October.  This is the most current data available.     

INVENTORY



72 houses were on the market during October.    This represents a 6.5% drop from last but a slight 1.4% rise from the previous month.


SALES VOLUME



28 homes sold during the month, about 12% more than September and 8% more than a year ago.   Although Lafayette didn't receive as much flood damage as Boulder and Longmont, it's possible that some September closings were pushed into October.   That doesn't explain last year's October pop, however. 




Small markets can be volatile, which is why it's important to look at trends for longer than a single month.    The chart above shows cumulative sales volume for the twelve month period ending in October... going back nine years.    

As you can see, the market has been showing steady signs of increasing sales volume since 2009.      In general, real estate cyclical upswings see rising sales volume.     Although high, it remains slightly below the peak in 2005. 


ABSORPTION



Buyers absorbed 39% of the available inventory during October, a record high for the month.   Like other regional markets, unusually high absorption is a long standing trend.   It's caused by low inventory (supply) and/or high sales volume (demand).    

DAYS ON MARKET



If nothing else, this average days to offer chart shows just how different the market was two years ago.  Check out the scale difference between 2011 and this year.   It's shocking, really.  

For closings which occurred during October, properties were available for an average of 38 days before receiving an acceptable offer.    Two years ago, it was 84 days.  


INVENTORY and SALES VOLUME vs. LONG TERM AVERAGE



This is my favorite chart of the bunch.   At a glance, you can see relative change in supply (inventory) and demand (sales volume) compared to the long term average for each month.  

Over the last twelve months, month after month, inventory has been sparse and yet buyers are finding homes.   Sales have been running at rapid pace, from 10% to over 60% above the average.   Inventory is tracking about 40% below average.     

Not pretty, unless you're a seller. 

TAKE HOME LESSON
Current market conditions require extraordinary measures.    Buyers should see not just listed inventory, but ask an experienced buyer's agent about strategies to find unlisted homes.  See fresh listings, immediately.    Although it doesn't benefit the seller, most listings are only available for a few days after hitting the MLS. 

Sellers are advised to continue to price ahead of the trend.   Have your listing agent carefully evaluate the comps, and if possible, compare your home to actively available competition before pricing.  

Crystal ball?     It's economics 101.   What does low supply and high demand usually equal?     Higher prices.  Don't be surprised when it happens.   

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Like this analysis?    Subscribe to my research.       Want to meet me in person?    Attend a Boulder Real Estate Meetup.    Ready to buy or sell?  Call me at 303.746.6896.  

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