One indicator of an improving housing market is declining inventory, and Idaho appears to be faring well on that score. According to analysis by Realtor.com, Boise’s number of total listings fell by just over 39 percent from the end of 2010 until the end of 2011. That’s greater than the national decrease of just over 22 percent.
Fewer homes for sale should lead to rising prices, and so far that logic is borne out in the local market. The median list price in Boise grew by more than 19 percent over the last year. That’s compared to 5 percent growth nationally.
But, as The Wall Street Journal observes, improvement over the last year is cause for only cautious optimism:
[T]here’s a large backlog of potential foreclosures that haven’t yet been taken back and listed by banks…Moreover, some sellers have pulled their homes off the market to wait for a turn in prices, and that “pent up” demand from sellers could keep inventories higher once prices do rise. – The Wall Street Journal
Greg Manship, CEO of Intermountain MLS, a regional listing service, says the percent of distressed homes in the local market has decreased from nearly 60 percent early last year to about 48 percent currently. And he says it’s hard to predict how that number may change. “You just don’t know,” he said, “because you don’t know what the banks are going to do.”
Nevertheless, past president of the Ada County Association of Realtors Laurie Barrera says she’s encouraged. “It’s been very busy, even over the holidays,” she said. “Opportunities are there for buyers, and people are seizing them.”