Why are there so few Boulder County rural properties?

BY KAREN LIBIN, KL REALTY   When people who live in town decide they want more space and look to buy a rural Boulder County property, they are always a bit surprised by how little inventory there is, especially for farms. Driving around quaint country roads, there looks to be so much land. So why so few properties? There are several reasons:
• The actual amount of privately owned rural property in Boulder County is fairly limited. It seems when you are peddling your bike down a country lane that there is a lot, but looks are deceiving. A lot of that land is not privately owned or will never be developed. How much of Boulder County land do you think is Public Lands, Private Open Space and privately-owned land with conservation easements? Maybe a tenth? Try closer to two-thirds. That’s right. So lots of those acres you pass by while cruising on your bike will never be on the market.
• Boulder County has very tight regulations on subdividing, the minimum size is 35 acres. This certainly maintains a non-dense, open country feeling, but it also stops new rural properties from being added.
• The actual number of farms/rural properties (over 35 acres) is pretty small; there are only about 350. And unlike city properties, they don’t turn over very often, especially the large ones where farming is the owner’s actual livelihood. These properties often stay within a family for generations. (This being said, large tax increases are, sadly, forcing some of these families to sell.)
• We are experiencing a good local economy. During strong financial periods, people buy horses and horse farms. They are luxury purchases.
• In the past 15 years we have seen the growth of the slow-food movement, the production of artisanal foods and an increased interest in gardening/farming. Basically, farming is “in.” Additionally, locally more people want acreage to grow hops for the craft beer industry.
• The continuous increase in the area’s population also adds to the demand of our finite supply of properties. Like the rest of Boulder County real estate, we only seeing this getting more competitive as time goes on.

One comment on “Why are there so few Boulder County rural properties?

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