Boulder County Market Update and El Five Restaurant Review

It has been a great year at Stewart Ward Real Estate, and we wanted to say thank you and send a final newsletter wishing you a wonderful finish to the holidays, and a happy and healthy 2018.

Boulder County Market Update

Early December numbers indicate we may make up some ground and have a brisk start to 2018, but overall 2017 has been a year marked with 30% higher inventory in attached dwellings, 6% overall lower sales volume from 2016, and the beginning of a leveling off in this strong seller’s market of the past 6 years. It appears that 2015 will be recorded as the peak of this cycle, but who knows? Lou Barnes, a famous local mortgage broker and syndicated author for the past 20 years believes we may be in a “semi-permanent seller’s market”, where sales decline a bit year on year every few years to let salaries catch up to home prices. One thing seems clear driving around – Boulder County and North Denver are booming. Slowing appreciation this year is a good thing and the overall appreciation rate will most likely still end up higher than historical Boulder County norms of 5%.  If you’re on the sidelines saving for that 20% down payment, consider your target home value, imagine the same home a year later having appreciated 7% and a rising interest rate environment. Are you better off waiting vs. a 10% down payment? Call me and I will run the numbers for you!

Buyer and Seller Needs

Pocket Listings: I have a 3br, 2011 Duplex in Boulder available now for 820K, a great 4BR home that will come available near old town in Erie in January, and a remodeled mountain home only 10 minutes to Boulder in the low 800’s. Buyer needs: I have active buyers interested in starter investment properties around 300K, Prospect condos and an experienced investor looking to do a renovation or scrape, let me know if you know anyone who has off market property to unload!

EL Five Restaurant Review

Many debutante restaurants have graced Denver’s culinary catwalk in recent years, but few were more hotly anticipated than El Five.  From the Edible Beats family, El Five’s dance card has been full since she opened in May 2017 as the youngest of five daughters that include Root Down, Linger, Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox, and Vital Root.  I recommend taking them all for a spin as each has her distinct personality; a bit quirky yet still pleasing to any suitor looking for a fresh face to spend time with.

El Five’s parking ramp entrance in LoHi makes one wonder if the address is accurate, am I really headed to one of Denver’s hottest spots? Fun happens in the elevator choosing the floor and doubts vanish realizing you are in the penthouse, with panoramic views stretching across the Denver skyline all the way up into the Highlands. The genre is Middle East meets Western high design, plastered with Arabic script and racy Egyptian movie posters from the 1960’s. I was bewildered at first by the magnificent vistas and off beat décor, but by the time my first cocktail arrived I was so cool I would’ve turned down an invite to Jay Z’s birthday party. One edible orchid later and sporting empty drinks with ice cubes branded by hand, we were escorted to Joey, one of the most hilarious servers I have ever met.

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Above all, the food at El Five is beautiful and creative, with its roots in Spain and accented by Lebanon, Turkey, and Morocco. Spanish food is mild and benefits from Western Mediterranean elements, so have one of the funky Paellas and a sampling of small plates. Both the Matzah Ball Soup Dumplings and Tabbouleh Lettuce Wraps stand out, and there is one dish you cannot leave El Five without tasting - the Moroccan Lamb Sausage. Magic happens mixing browned lamb sausage, hummus, feta, lemon and mint. I’ve shared this plate twice now and secretly resented losing bites to others.

El Five is a night out that captures the imagination with its swanky top-of-the building specialness, quirky vibe and beautifully prepared courses.  Perfect for date night or just feeling groovy with friends it is also not that expensive, you could end up with a higher tab at any of the Front Range’s finer restaurants and feel a lot less like Beyonce and JayZ. If you want a table on short notice you are unlikely to get one at any popular time so think ahead and make the effort, it’s worth it!

El Five, 2930 Umatilla St., Denver, 303-524-9193 |

Who do you know that we might be able to help buying or selling residential or commercial real estate? Call 303.704.7774 for a free consultation, we are never too busy for your referrals.