Bringing the Economy Home

Low Inventory Continues To Drive Up Treasure Valley Home Prices

Tim Boyle / Getty Images

Spring marks the start of the busy season for home-buying and selling. In the Treasure Valley, the housing market mirrors national trends. The story is one of few homes for sale, and high demand.

Mike Turner, an agent with Front Street Brokers in Boise, will tell you: the local housing market was competitive last spring, and it’s even more competitive now.  “A year ago, we had really low inventory,” he says. “Now, shockingly, we have even less inventory!”

Data from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service shows that there were 12 percent fewer homes on the market in Ada County in January and February of this year compared to last. In Canyon County, the gap was just over 10 percent. 

Turner says a lot of people are looking to buy homes priced under $160,000. And that’s the part of the market where supply is awfully tight. “That’s what’s the primary driver of some of this multiple bidding and fighting over properties,” he explains. “That’s where you see most of this action happening is the lower-priced homes.”

Houses are slow to be offered up for sale, Turner says, because a lot of people who bought in the run up to the recession are still underwater. They owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and they don’t want to sell at a loss. That imbalance of supply and demand means prices are on the rise.

Demand for new homes should also help Idaho’s beleaguered construction sector. Last year, the number of construction jobs in the state remained 44 percent below 2007 levels, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.


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