Bioscience labs, residential real estate is hot in Boulder Valley

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Unlike the Great Recession of 2008, real estate brokers, investors and lenders have survived the COVID-19 pandemic relatively unscathed and are now thriving in many cases.

The residential real estate market, along with life science labs and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, is particularly strong in the Boulder Valley region, industry leaders said on Tuesday during a roundtable by the CEO of BizWest Real Estate.

A million dollar floor?

In terms of housing stock, historically low stocks have kept house prices high for several months.

Todd Gullett, managing broker for Re / Max of Boulder, doubts the average price of a Boulder home will fall below $ 1 million for the foreseeable future.

“Inventory is becoming an ongoing problem,” he said. “… We cannot build from this.”

Housing Helpers Managing Broker Stephanie Yannonn agreed that local prices are likely to remain astronomical.

Due to rising construction costs, “builders cannot build [new homes] much lower. “

Parts of the Boulder Valley – Longmont, for example – remain much more accessible than Boulder, but “we’ll see how long that will last,” said the president of Burden Inc. Keith Burden.

Cautious optimism about the future of offices

When the pandemic raged and most workers were at home, some speculated that the traditional corporate office might die. This prediction now seems somewhat premature, at least locally.

“There is a lot of cautious optimism in our office,” said Chris Jacobs, co-founder of Element Properties.

“There’s a lot of retraining going on in the office space market,” but according to Vista Commercial Advisors Inc. Chris Jensen, this sector remains strong enough.

Users who previously needed 6,000 square feet are trying to figure out if they can get by with 3,000 square feet, he said.

Colorado Group co-owner Carla Brown said tenants are also looking for something different from the traditional square closed-door spaces and private offices. New users value collaboration space and flexibility.

Biological objects in fashion

“Flexible industrial spaces, especially those that can support life science users, are all the rage right now,” said President WW Reynolds Cos. Jeff Wingert. “Hope it’s not just a whim.”

Homeowners may be tempted to start converting more traditional industrial spaces into biosciences, but Jacobs warned that “this game requires an incredible amount of due diligence and planning, as well as an incredible amount of capital.”

While the retail and restaurant sectors were hit hard across the country, business failures were limited at the local level, according to Tebo Properties founder Stephen Tebo.

“Thank God, government programs, otherwise we would probably have lost a few more restaurants,” he said.

The attention of institutional investors on the coast

Historically, the Boulder Valley real estate market has been dominated by local players. The situation is starting to change as more and more institutional investors appear in the city with full coffers.

“It’s really hard for them,” said Beau Gamble, a broker for Dean Callan & Co. Inc., about family homeowners competing with solid private equity and real estate investment trusts that view the Boulder area as a “safe market to be in.”

Family offices and private buyers looking for more expensive investments and owner-users are more likely to engage in OTC deals due to the growing presence of institutional players, Brown said.

The roundtable on Tuesday brought together sponsor representatives Aaron Speer of the Bank of Colorado, George Berg of Berg, Hill, Greenleaf and Ruscitti LP, and Jeremy Wilson and Justin Dodge of Plante Moran.

© LLC “BizWest Media”, 2021



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