When Andy Bush went to market with the Walnut, a condo complex in Boulder, Colorado, he figured the buyers would be young single professionals and empty nesters. Instead many of the development’s first takers fit a different demo—the second home buyer eyeing retirement.
They come from New York, Kansas City, the San Francisco Bay area. They like the laid back, college town, mountain vibe of Boulder, but also its proximity to Denver, the sports and cultural institutions, the international airport.
Boulder ain’t cheap: One bedrooms at the Walnut start at $500,000. Larger units go up to $5 million. But the idea is that in these leaner, less frivolous times when people are working longer and part time into their golden years, they are less likely to choose more remote second home markets such as Vail or Big Sky, Montana.
Bush hopes to do more of such projects in creative class cities such as Austin and Charleston, which he calls the “new retirement communities.”
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.