Housing Stock Basics


There are many factors that impact the process of locating the right home for a buyer, but one of the most important is the simple reality of what types of homes exist in the area we’re searching and where. For example, it might make perfect sense for a family to want to find a home near Pearl Street Mall in Boulder or Main Street in Louisville, because they like the ambiance of these neighborhoods. But this family may also want a home built after 1978 when the use of lead based paint was prohibited in residential structures. Both criteria make a lot of sense, but there is a problem.  There are almost no homes built in these areas post 1978.  A buyer who prefers homes built since 2000 will run into the same kind of problem anywhere in Louisville, where only a few hundred new homes  been built since 2000.  In planning the search for your ideal home, it can be very helpful to know what kinds of homes actually exist in your target market.

We’ve pulled together the data in this section of the web site to help buyers gain some systematic perspective on these issues. To fully understand the information contained in these charts and maps, you’ll need to scroll down toward the bottom of this section and read our comments on the housing stock data.

Comparing Communities

In the section we’ve called Comparing Communities, we’ve put together summary data comparing the percentages of single family homes vs. condos/townhomes in each community as well as the relative number of homes of various ages and sizes in each community. If you’re looking for a home with more than 3,000 square feet (not including basement), for example, you’ll see in these charts that this size home constitutes less than 10% of the housing stock in communities like Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, Longmont, Arvada, and Westminster, but in Erie and Superior these homes constitute 13-17% of the housing stock. Similarly, if you prefer homes build prior to 1950, you’ll see that roughly 8-15% of the housing in Boulder, Louisville, Longmont, and Lafayette was built during this period and that 5% or so was built prior to 1920. In contrast, almost none of this age housing exists in the other communities we cover.

The Housing Stock in Each Community

In the section we’ve called Housing in Each Community, we’ve compiled detailed charts and maps on the housing stock in each of the communities in our area. The charts in this section are based on the same data as those in Comparing Communities, but they present the data on each community in much greater detail. First, they will give you a picture not only of the percentage of homes in each community that are of a given age or size, but they will also show the actual of numbers of homes meeting certain age/size criteria that exist in that particular community. For example, if you’re primarily interested in homes under 1600 square feet built prior to 1920, a quick glance at these charts will tell you that there are about 550 of these homes in Boulder, 300 in Louisville, and 750 in Longmont.

The maps in the Housing in Each Communitysection are based on the same data as these charts, but they display the data by location. By using these maps, if you decide that you’re interested in pre-1920 homes in Longmont, you can see where in town they are located see to what extent they are intermixed in these neighborhoods with homes of different ages and different sizes. In a very real sense, these maps literally provide a picture of the historical development of the various communities we cover as reflected in the construction of the housing in those communities

Comments on the Housing Stock Data

As indicated on each of the charts these data were gathered and summarized in February of 2007. The data was generated by downloading data on houses as well as condos and townhomes from the tax records data provided through the Metrolist MLS system. Properties classed as condos and townhomes in the tax records were combined  into our category of “condos.” Data on the square footage of these properties  (not including basement square footage) and their age were also downloaded and  used to create counts of properties in our various categories. Once  categorized, these properties were then mapped using ESRI’s BusinessMap software, or counted and charted using Microsoft Excel.

Our various size categories are based on the following square footage ranges. Again, these  square footage counts do not include the square footage of basements or  garages. On the maps, these categories are differentiated by using icons of  different sizes.

  • Smallest:  Less than 900 square feet
  • Small: 901-1600 square feet
  • Medium: 1601-2300 square feet
  • Large: 2301-3000 square feet
  • Largest: More than 3000 square feet

Our age categories are fairly self explanatory, with the possible exception of the “<1919” and “2000+”  labels we’ve used. The label “<1919” indicates homes that were built in the year 1919 or earlier. The label “2000+” indicates  homes that were built in the year 2000 or later.

Houses and Condos are  located on the maps using different  icons, with size and age differentiated by the size and color of the icon.  While thousands of properties were located on these maps — almost 40,000 in  the case of Arvada for example– the size of the icons we’ve used and the scale of the maps do not allow the icons representing all of these properties to appear on the maps. Still, these maps provide a good guide to the size and age of most of  the homes found in the various communities and neighborhoods represented.

Communitues Covered

The following communities are covered in these maps and statistics:

  • Boulder
  • Gunbarrel
  • Louisville
  • Lafayette
  • Superior
  • Longmont
  • Erie
  • Arvada
  • Broomfield
  • Westminster