Where, exactly, does the Boulder market rank nationally in terms of the housing market?

As Jeff Thomas notes in this edition of Distinctive Homes of the Boulder Valley, the Boulder Metropolitan Statistical Area — essentially, Boulder County — has made steady progress in terms of housing price appreciation. That's according to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Boulder MSA ranks 53rd nationwide in terms of the annual percentage change in housing prices for the second quarter, with one-year appreciation of 1.47 percent. During the past five years, the Boulder MSA recorded appreciation of 0.7 percent — not bad for a period that saw one of the biggest housing-market collapses in U.S. history.

Elsewhere in Colorado, the Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA ranked 26th nationally, with appreciation of 2.44 percent in the second quarter, and depreciation of 4.96 percent over the past five years.

The Colorado Springs market came in at No. 153 nationwide, with depreciation of 0.43 percent in the past year and 11.57 percent over five years, while Pueblo came in at No. 251 nationally, with one-year depreciation of 2.84 percent and five-year depreciation of 12.85 percent.

Looking north, the Fort Collins-Loveland MSA — essentially, Larimer County — came in just behind Boulder for the second quarter, with annual appreciation of 1.44 percent, but with five-year depreciation of 1.84 percent. The Greeley MSA — Weld County — showed a strong rebound, coming in at No. 32 nationally for the second quarter, with annual appreciation of 2.05 percent, compared with depreciation of 10.28 percent over five years.

Farther west, the Grand Junction MSA continues to experience housing-price troubles, coming in at No. 250 nationally and annual depreciation of 2.74 percent in the second quarter. Grand Junction housing prices have declined by 23.04 percent during the past five years.

Statewide, Colorado saw housing appreciation of 4 percent during the second quarter compared with the same period a year ago, according to FHFA.

(Incidentally, the Cheyenne, Wyoming, MSA recorded one-year growth in housing prices of 3.35 percent, coming in at No. 16 nationwide. During the past five years, Cheyenne recorded appreciation of 4.45 percent.

Those are a lot of numbers, but they tell a powerful story. First, Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties have become strong housing markets once again, along with the larger Denver-Aurora-Broomfield MSA to the south. Southern Colorado, including Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and the Grand Junction market still are experiencing serious housing troubles.

But a lack of significant overbuilding in Boulder County has helped our market maintain a remarkable strong housing sector, capable of producing increases in value even during a period that encompassed the Great Recession. In Larimer and Weld counties, where overbuilding was a definite problem, the recovery is well under way, largely because Northern Colorado experienced the housing collapse before the rest of the country. (And growth in the energy sector has helped spur a housing revival.)

Local residential real estate agents now speak with more confidence than they've displayed in several years. Activity has remained strong in 2012, and most speak of optimism for 2013.

The numbers, at least this year, tell a positive story.

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This marks the year's final edition of the Boulder County Business Report's Distinctive Homes of the Boulder Valley special section, which will return in March 2013. In the meantime, be sure to visit www.distinctivehomesbv.com for all of our content, as well as updates in the intervening months. And drop by our main website, www.bcbr.com, for the breaking business news, economic statistics, industry data and much more.

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Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or cwood@bcbr.com.