Boise Metro Housing Market Monitor
January 2018 Update
Here's what you need to know about buying or selling homes in the Boise Idaho area. I track here the last 10 years of trends and indicators in the Boise housing markets to help you make general decisions on the timing of buying and selling property. Save this to your favorites and check in monthly. Also see my quarterly newsletter.
SW Idaho Homes & Real Estate-
Ada County- Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Kuna, Star
Canyon County- Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton
Happy 2018! Both sales and listings numbers in the Boise area dropped in December- About 20% in Ada and 10% in Canyon county. However, the spring rush is not far away and housing supply is still very, very low. This trend is likely to constrain sales and delay any relief for the shortage. Home prices are sure to continue upward this year in Boise and Idaho in general.
If you are considering buying or investing this year, beating the spring rush could save you thousands. Boise area home prices always jump big in the second quarter. Mortgage rates are still low (under 4% is half the long term average) and expected to climb this year with positive economic conditions.
Rents are rising quickly too! Investors holding rentals should consider an increase in rents this spring to keep up with market rents and values. Sorry Renters- earmark those tax returns for buying a home and call me to make it happen. I just helped a first-time home buyer do it for $1175 out of pocket through Idaho Housing.
Ongoing Shortage of Homes For Sale in Boise Metro
This 10-year history of available homes for sale in Ada & Canyon counties really shows how extreme conditions are right now in the Boise Metro and SW Idaho housing markets. The post-recession trend has been toward fewer available listings each year as population grows. This year's plateau is even lower, again. No surprise- homes in both Ada & Canyon counties are selling fast, with average days on the market of just 35 and 33 days on existing homes sold in normally sluggish December.
These are active listings in Ada & Canyon County, Idaho on the first business day of each month, including all types of single-family homes, both existing & new construction (several hundred are to-be-built or under construction- see my pie charts below).
This chart begins a year after the June 2007 real estate peak, when sellers badly outnumbered buyers and homes stayed on the market longer. The recovery began in 2011 and our market had stabilized by 2014. Since then, fewer and fewer homes have been on the market, as demand has outpaced listings.
This extremely low number of homes actively for sale, is nothing short of a guarantee that Boise area home prices will continue to rise quickly.
Q4 2017 Quarterly Median Home Prices- Ada/Canyon County
The Boise area housing markets were very strong last year! For the fourth quarter, the Ada county median existing home price of $250,000 was down 2.7% from the previous quarter. Don't be alarmed- the median existing home price in Ada County has dropped every 4th quarter since 2005. This is a result of our climate; fewer sales and fewer buyers in the winter. Despite the drop off, the Q4 median is up 10.2% year over year in Ada County!
I cannot resist pointing out to renters that owning the median priced home was worth $25,000 last year in Ada county Idaho. If you had bought at the bottom of the market in 2011 (7 years ago), the value is up 92% and would have added $120,000 to your net worth! Hurts doesn't it? You cannot afford to wait for interest rates to rise- call me today to buy a home.
Canyon County's median existing home price of $176,000 for Q4 is up 0.57% from the previous quarter. Median home prices in Canyon County do not drop every year in Q4, unlike Ada probably due to the lower, more affordable prices. Year over year, the Q4 median is up 15.79% in Canyon County! That is an eye opener.
I use only existing homes to gauge housing prices, as new construction is much more volatile. I also ignore meaningless monthly prices. Quarterlies are much more reliable and indicative of long-term trends in home prices. Be careful... these stats have limited relevance to an individual property, as some segments perform better or worse. Ask me for a free market analysis on your property. I would be happy to estimate sale price and proceeds.
Boise ID Metro- Home Sales
Home sales have followed the typical seasonal trend, but the peaks and valleys are consistently moving upward in these charts.
Homes sales have been in a very solid upward trend since 2008 in Ada County, including the cities of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star & Kuna. Given the still low interest rates, strong local economy, low relative home prices and low cost of living we enjoy in SW Idaho, I don't see this trend changing yet.
Canyon County home sales also improved in 2017 and in a solid upward trend over the last few years. The largest cities of Nampa, Caldwell & Middleton have all seen strong home sales as new people move in and affordability pushes people farther out from Boise. That big dip was the snowpocalypse of 2017.
These charts show all monthly single-family home sales reported in the local MLS, including condos, townhomes, manufactured homes, new construction, short sales and repossessed homes.
Supply & Demand Drives Home Prices
Pending homes (next month's sales) are the best forward-looking indicator of demand. Dividing actives by pendings, we get a supply in months that is very reliably predictive of future trends in home prices. According to NAR, a 5-6 month supply of homes for sale is a balanced housing market where prices are stable or slowly rising and neither buyers nor sellers have a distinct advantage. If you want to know where home prices are going in any local market, look at supply levels.
Here's the local picture of supply & demand with Ada & Canyon counties combined. Once again, NAR's table proves out- with barely a month's supply of homes for sale, prices are up 11% year over year in Ada County. This is why I expect home price appreciation to be very strong again in the Treasure Valley in 2018.
Can we build our way out of the shortage? Yes, but developing new subdivisions for homes to be built does not happen overnight. Also, prices on new construction remain substantially higher than existing; for December the average new home sold for $90,000 more than existing homes in Ada County and $69,000 more in Canyon County.
Ada County, Idaho
Including the cities of Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star and Kuna, here's an overview of the Ada County housing markets looking at trends in supply, demand and inventory levels of homes for sale.
The make-up of homes for sale changes constantly. Regular sellers of existing homes tend to follow seasonal trends with most listings mid year during optimum selling and moving weather. Here's the same data in a line chart showing the recent history.
Regular sellers of existing homes are unmistakably trending downward as demand continues to build and not enough homes are listed in Ada County. The new construction segment continues to strengthen, but not many homes getting finished unsold in and around Boise Idaho. Notice the large up-tick in homes under construction, as builders are working hard to meet demand. There are new subdivisions in the pipeline, but no danger of out-pacing demand soon. With 904 new homes for sale on Jan 1st in Ada County, this represents less than a 1.5-month supply at the current pace of sales, based on 625 under contract.
Foreclosures and short sales are very rare in Ada County now. Home prices in the Boise area have risen consistently for years now, causing few owners to get into trouble while upside down and unable to sell. Don't be fooled by the big websites that show all these pre-foreclosures in the Boise area- very few actually go back to the bank or are even sold short.
The crown jewel of the Treasure Valley in SW Idaho, Boise is the largest housing market and typically leads the way in local real estate trends.
Boise had 373 existing home sales in Dec (Med $244,500 Avg $274,263 Range $24,000 - 759,000 Average days on market 33)
It seems our hidden gem has been discovered. As you can see, inventory cannot get any tighter in Boise. Still almost as many pending homes as for sale.
This charts shows the count of active and pending home listings on the first day of each month for the last 10 years. This includes all types of single-family homes: condo, townhouse, manufactured, stick-built with and without acreage.
Located in the center of the Boise metro area, Meridian is destined to grow simply by location. Meridian is about half the size of Boise, but very similar in price.
Meridian had 172 existing homes sold in Dec (Med $256,750 Avg $291,874 Range $99,000 - $1,040,000 Average days on market 36)
The active listings in Meridian are fewer than a year ago and the pendings higher. The supply/demand balance is just trending tighter.
I would not bet against brisk appreciation in Meridian home values in 2018.
Just northwest of Boise between the Boise River and the foothills, Eagle is the higher-priced community in the Treasure Valley.
Eagle had 43 existing homes sold in Dec (Med $360,000 Avg $417,740 Range $126,450 - 1,100,000 Avg days on market 56)
The number of buyers in the higher price ranges is naturally lower, so the lines in my chart have not crossed for Eagle, but they are closer together than ever.
With only a 1.3-month supply of homes for sale in Eagle (remarkably low historically), look for home prices to go higher in 2018.
Star Idaho is a rising star in the Treasure Valley with river valley/rolling hills topography. Many people (especially retirees) relocating to Idaho are choosing this still-quaint little town for it's lower prices (compared to Eagle), relatively short commute and a great name.
Star had 24 existing home sales in Dec (Med $247,250 Avg $272,294 Range $178,000 - 5475,000 Avg days on market 43)
Star's housing market is tight as can be with active listings drying up and pendings trending higher each year.
By all indications, Star home prices should continue to climb in 2018. Now is the time to buy, before the spring rush and the big Q2 jump in prices.
Kuna has the lowest home prices in Ada County, making it popular for first-time buyers and investors. Located just 10 miles south of Meridian, Kuna has a cute little down town and many starter level homes under 20 years old. Many people are choosing Kuna over longer commute and higher taxes in Canyon county.
Kuna had 36 existing home sales in Dec (Med $199,450 Avg $217,716 Range $144,000 - 700,000 Avg days on market 28)
Looks like a buying opportunity in Kuna as new listings have jumped recently- mostly new homes, and sales have slowed with winter. For buyers- more choices is good. With a 1.8-month supply of homes for sale, still historically low for this time of year, look for home prices in Kuna to continue climbing in the spring.
Canyon County, Idaho
Canyon County covers a large rural area of small towns. I focus on the metro area- Nampa, Caldwell & Middleton. My numbers may not match others' stats for the whole county, but I take the same readings every month, which works for identifying general trends.
Canyon County has a slightly higher percentage of regular sellers as Ada and similarly, very few foreclosed and short sales. New construction is not as strong here- probably because of affordability as incomes are lower here.
New home sales are gaining in Canyon County, but not booming- only 57 sold in December. As of Jan 1st, only 64 completed and unsold new homes awaited buyers in the whole county.
Nampa is the largest city and main traffic hub (Caldwell is county seat) of Canyon County. Home prices have been jumping double-digits here too.
Nampa had 163 existing home sales in Dec (Med $179,000 Avg $209,318 Range $56,000 - 800,000 Avg days on market 32)
Pending homes no longer outnumber those actively for sale in Nampa as the seasonal slow-down kicks in, but that will soon change this spring. Housing supply can't get much lower. This should push Nampa home prices even higher in 2018.
Caldwell is one of the more affordable areas in the Boise metro area. Centrally located and the county seat, this is a growing city.
Caldwell had 78 existing home sales in Dec (Med $161,000 Avg $171,627 Range $50,000 - 440,000 Avg days on market 35)
A few more listings in Caldwell recently, combined with fewer pendings equals a buying opportunity this winter. The resulting supply of homes, based on the pace of sales is only 1.7-months, very low historically, but higher than it has been. Home prices should keep climbing in Caldwell in 2018 with a big jump in Q2.
Middleton is at the far northwestern edge of the Boise metro. Small town but growing with very affordable home prices and many homes with acreage.
Middleton had 26 existing home sales in Dec (Med $205,500 Avg $228,184 Range $139,000 - $535,000 Avg days on market 34)
Middleton home sales are booming right through winter. Housing supply in Middleton is now the lowest in the Treasure Valley, so look for prices to really jump in the spring.
All charts are based on MLS data, deemed reliable but not guaranteed, searching all single-family housing types in the Boise-Nampa Metro, new and existing, including stick-built, homes with acreage, condos, townhouses, manufactured homes on rented lots and with land.
Thanks for your interest. Why settle for just an agent? I am a broker, licensed in Idaho, and Realtor since 1991 specializing in residential real estate for sale including homes, condos, townhouses, manufactured, acreage, land, lots, horse property, luxury and executive homes. I serve Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, Kuna, Nampa, Caldwell, Middleton, Ada County, Canyon County, Treasure Valley and Southwest Idaho.