The Boulder Benchmark

The Boulder Benchmark

If records are made to be broken, then certainly trends are made to go out of fashion. Except, it seems, in the case of residential real estate along the northern Front Range.

After 14 years, the “Boulder Benchmark” continues to run true to form. As much as housing prices are growing in the Fort Collins and Greeley areas, buyers in Boulder keep paying a princely premium for comparable houses.

In 2010, The Group Inc. Real Estate started reporting the sales prices of comparable homes in Boulder, Fort Collins, and Greeley. As The Group co-founder Larry Kendall explained “Basically, we look at homes built around the same time – late 1950s to early 1960s – constructed by the same homebuilder, and all of similar size – roughly 1,000 square feet, not including basements.” Here’s a look at the latest price spread between the three communities for homes sold in 2023: •

Boulder: 1,156-square-foot home in Martin Acres subdivision (2,196 s.f. with basement), sold in March 2023 for $925,000. $800 per s.f. without basement, $421 per s.f. with basement. •

Fort Collins: 981-square-foot home (1,962 s.f. with basement) in South College Heights subdivision, sold in August 2023 for $599,000. $611 per s.f. without basement, $305 per s.f. with basement. •

Greeley: 1,026-square-foot home (2,062 s.f. with basement) in Greeley Farr subdivision, sold in March 2023 for $375,000. $365 per s.f. without basement, $183 per s.f. with basement.

Besides the expected finding that Boulder prices are much higher, the more interesting observation is how Boulder prices consistently run about 8-10 years ahead of Fort Collins prices. For example, the Benchmark price for Boulder in 2010 was about $385,000, when the Fort Collins price was about $203,000. In 2020, the Boulder price had increased to $783,000, while the Fort Collins price reached $435,00. If you’re interested to see how Fort Collins home prices may shake out by 2030, keep the 2020 Benchmark price for Boulder on a sticky note.

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