It’s difficult to imagine a greater difference than what we see with today’s real estate market in the Boulder Valley compared with that of a couple of years ago. Real estate agents tend to have smiles on their faces, indicating that times are good.

Although pockets of weakness remain, depending on the geographic location within Boulder and Broomfield counties or the price range, the overall residential market is experiencing a nice recovery.

This special section, Distinctive Homes of the Boulder Valley, will continue to highlight that recovery as we venture further into 2013. We launched this publication in 2011 to tell the residential story of the Boulder Valley, focusing on high-end properties and trends. Our audience includes homebuyers and sellers, property owners, agents and ancillary sectors.

But the main focus is on buyers and sellers. This issue includes an article by Jeff Thomas intended to describe new consumer-protection measures implemented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, including requirements affecting appraisals, escrow accounts, qualifications for loan originators and much more.

Heather McWilliams contributed a piece on the Boulder Valley’s residential investment market — a market that offers opportunities for investors of all types and sizes. These investment properties can include condos or single-family dwellings aimed at the student or professional markets.

Among the Boulder Valley’s diverse neighborhoods is the Chautauqua area of Boulder, nestled near a national landmark and beneath the foothills. Thomas provides a profile of this “dreamy little place” with “cool mountain shadows.”

These features and many others reflect the commitment of the Boulder County Business Report to publish thoughtful analysis, interesting features and useful information to those interested in the region’s residential real estate market.

If you have ideas for future articles, please contact me at the phone number or email address below.

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