The following analysis of select counties of the Idaho real estate market is provided by Windermere Real Estate Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. We hope that this information may assist you with making better-informed real estate decisions. For further information Idaho’s housing market, please contact us at 208-920-5966 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A MESSAGE FROM MATTHEW GARDNER
Needless to say, any discussion about the U.S. economy, state economy, or housing markets in the first quarter of this year is almost meaningless given events surrounding the COVID-19 virus.
Although you will see below data regarding housing activity in the region, many markets came close to halting transactions in March and many remain in some level of paralysis. As such, drawing conclusions from the data is almost a futile effort. I would say, though, it is my belief that the national and state housing markets were in good shape before the virus hit and will be in good shape again, once we come out on the other side. In a similar fashion, I anticipate the national and regional economies will start to thaw, and that many of the jobs lost will return with relative speed. Of course, all of these statements are wholly dependent on the country seeing a peak in new infections in the relatively near future. I stand by my contention that the housing market will survive the current economic crisis and it is likely we will resume a more normalized pattern of home sales in the second half of the year.
- During the first quarter of 2020, 5,128 homes were sold, representing a solid increase of 12.6% compared to the first quarter of 2019 but down 9.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Read more.
- In Northern Idaho, Shoshone County experienced a significant increase in sales — up 15.5% over the first quarter of 2019. There was a modest increase in Kootenai Country and a very slight contraction in Bonner County. In Southern Idaho, sales rose by double digits in Valley, Canyon, and Ada counties. Blaine and Boise counties showed a modest decline in sales.
- Year-over-year sales growth was positive in two of three of the Northern Idaho counties, and sales rose in all but two Southern Idaho market areas over the same period a year ago.
- Pending sales rose in the quarter, suggesting that closed sales in the second quarter will be positive regardless of COVID-19.
- The average home price in the region rose 11.3% year-over-year to $382,601. Prices were 1.5% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2019.
- In Northern Idaho, Bonner County led the market with the strongest annual price growth, but there were solid gains in all counties. In Southern Idaho, Gem County saw prices rise a very significant 37.5%, and there were double-digit increases in all counties other than Valley.
- Prices rose in all Northern Idaho counties covered by this report compared to the first quarter of 2019, and rose in all but one Southern Idaho county.
- Inventory continues to be an issue, which is driving up home prices. Listing activity was down 7.2% compared to the first quarter of 2019. Listing activity was also down 8.8% compared to the final quarter of 2019.
DAYS ON MARKET
- It took an average of 112 days to sell a home in Northern Idaho, and 92 days in the southern part of the state covered by this report.
- In Northern Idaho, days on market dropped across the board. In Southern Idaho, market time dropped in Boise and Payette counties but rose in the other areas covered by this report.
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped 2 days compared to the first quarter of 2019 but was up 21 days compared to the final quarter of 2019.
- Homes sold the fastest in Boise and Ada counties.
This speedometer reflects the state of the region’s real estate market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors.
Given the current economic environment, I have decided to freeze the needle in place until we see
a restart in the economy. Once we have resumed “normal” economic activity, there will be a period of adjustment with regard to housing. Therefore, it is appropriate to wait until later in the year to offer my opinions about any quantitative impact the pandemic will have on the housing market.
ABOUT MATTHEW GARDNER
As Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, Matthew Gardner is responsible for analyzing and interpreting economic data and its impact on the real estate market on both a local and national level. Matthew has over 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.
In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities, Matthew sits on the Washington State Governors Council of Economic Advisors; chairs the Board of Trustees at the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington; and is an Advisory Board Member at the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington where he also lectures in real estate economics.
Idaho’s economy pretty much collapsed during the Great Recession. Now, it has one of the highest rates of job growth in the nation, largely propelled by the Boise metro area. Out-of-staters are pouring into the bucolic city tucked in the mountains—according to realtor.com data for the third quarter of 2019, 62.4% of viewers of listings in the Boise metro area were out of state.
“It is absolute craziness,” says Rob Inman, a real estate agent at Boise’s Best Real Estate. He estimates that about half of his company’s clients are from out of state; a few years ago, it was more like 20% to 30%.
They’re attracted by the jobs, many in the tech sector, and by Boise’s relative affordability. Californians, especially, are all too eager to leave behind the Golden State’s high taxes and home prices. All this has exacerbated a housing shortage, and developers are racing to keep up with demand.
“I don’t think you can stand and do a 360-degree turn in this town without seeing construction,” Inman says.
Buyers who can spend $300,000 to $400,000 are in the best position—”I can find [those buyers] homes all day long,” he says, especially in suburbs like Meridian where that much money will get you a newly built, three- to five-bedroom home with granite countertops and hardwood floors. (Check out this one!) Closer to the newly revitalized downtown, prices go up, although the housing stock is older (this one from 1939 has gotten some nice upgrades).