Boise, Idaho was the No. 1 midsized housing market to watch in 2020, according to Zillow, because of its draw for young professionals, families, and retirees alike. In 2018, Forbes ranked the city No. 1 on its list of America’s Fastest Growing Cities.
The demand is clear — the Boise housing market has just 0.3 months worth of supply, according to Keller Williams Realty Boise, and homes typically stay on the market for just five days. That has led to a sharp increase in the median home price to $390,000, a 16.4% increase compared to this time last year.
Steven Caporale, founder and principal of Accel Realty Partners in Boise, has been in the industry for 25 years and said he’s never seen the housing market look like this.
“In high-demand areas where only one or two properties come on the market, maybe in a month, we’re seeing [buyers paying] upwards of $100,000 to $150,000 over asking price.”
It’s not uncommon to hear that bids on homes are that high, according to Stacie Herrig, a Realtor with Epic Realty in Meridian, Idaho, and sometimes she can see 10 to 20 offers on a home. Especially if a home has acreage, it will “fly off the market.”
Herrig said the demand leads to really quick turn times.
“I’ve talked to an agent and they’re like ‘Oh yeah, I had this coming soon and I already had an offer on it.’ They’ll just write an offer sight unseen,” she said.
In Ada County specifically, where Boise is located, the number of homes for sale dropped from 1,697 last October to just 355 in October 2020, a 79% decline. There’s 0.35 months worth of housing inventory, which is the lowest ever, the report from Keller Williams said. Notably, in 2011, existing home prices in Ada County were at $160,113. Now, in 2020, median existing home prices are at $410, 414.
Chase Craig, a Realtor with Keller Williams, Own Boise, said that a property of his recently had 30 offers, and those offers had a $65,000 gap between them.
A client of Craig’s lost a bid on a separate home that was originally listed for $700,000. They bid $750,000 and again at $775,000, which the seller said would work. Then, a separate bidder offered $830,000, and won.
“If [a home] is under $500,000, it’s going to be multiple offers,” Craig said.
Homebuyers in Craig’s market are mostly from out-of-town. Craig said that the state of the Boise market makes buying homes unaffordable for current residents, because of low wages.
“Affordability for people who are from Idaho and work in Idaho, it’s difficult,” Craig said. “The rates have helped, for sure, but I don’t know what we would do if the rates were higher. I don’t think locals would be able to really play in this market, on a high percentage [rate] at least.”
A lot of homebuyers from Sacramento — a hot market in its own right —are reaching out to Christina Ward, looking for more space as they work from home and school their kids from home. Ward, a Realtor with Keller Williams, Christina and Company, said that her business is up 30.6% year over year, but said this is a trend that’s been building up over the last few years.
“Boise, Idaho, has really become famous for the last couple years, it seems like there’s a big relocation boom to our areas from the California and Washington State areas,” Ward said.
Ward said that she sees multiple offers on most listings, including homes that are in the luxury part of the market.
“Sometimes it’s $5,000 to $20,000 over asking,” Ward said. “But last week, I listed a home for $1.17 million, and the highest comp in the neighborhood was $990,000 so we were pushing the price, and it sold for $1.31 million. The property sold for $320,000 higher than the highest comp.”
Barbara Dopp, a Realtor with Keller Williams, Agents with a Smile, said that a homeowner who built a house in 2017 for $600,000 recently put it back on the market starting at $900,000.
“We had offers up to $1.2 million,” Dopp said.
Dopp said her clients come to Boise for the cost of living, conservative environment and to enjoy the four seasons Idaho has to offer.
Like Ward, Dopp’s business is up year over year as well – last year, she said her business served 180 families and this year it has served 245.
Because existing homes aren’t available, builders are less likely and less willing to build a custom home, unless it’s in the higher price points, Dopp said.
“New construction continues to take more and more of our market,” Dopp said. “New construction used to be maybe 15-20% of the market, trending toward 40% of the market now. Next year, it’ll probably be close to 50%.”
The apartment market in Boise is heating up, too. According to Apartment List, the Boise market ranks No. 1 for rent growth – since March alone, rent has increased 9.1%, putting the median two-bedroom rent at $1,015. Year over year, rent has increased by 10.5%.