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First-time home buyers face strong headwinds

A house for sale in Boise.

A house for sale in Boise. The number of entry-level homes  for sale in the Treasure Valley has fallen sharply. File photo.

First-time home buyers and those who are looking to move up to a slightly more expensive home will face a tough spring season. That’s according to Zillow, which found that inventory is declining fastest among entry-level and mid-market homes in more than half of the largest U.S. markets, including Boise.

Overall, the number of available homes for sale nationally fell 5.9 percent in March from a year earlier. But supply declined by a disproportionately large 10.4 percent in both the low-end and middle-priced ranges. Inventory ebbed just 1.9 percent in the most-expensive segment.

Boise saw a 38.9 percent drop in home inventory below $160,000 in April from a year earlier. That’s the price range considered entry-level in the Treasure Valley. In the same time period, there was a declined of 48.6 percent in Ada County, 44.6 percent in Nampa and 42 percent in Canyon County overall,  according to Boise Regional Realtors.

“For homes in the $159,999 and below price range, generally considered the first-time home buyer price range, there is less than two months of inventory on hand in both Ada and Canyon County,” BRR President Carey Farmer said in a statement.  “A balanced market is typically between four and  six months of inventory.”

In the last week of April, Boise had 37 homes available below $160,000, far fewer than the 91 available at the same time last year, or the 149 on the market in 2014 and 278 in 2013. Nampa had 89 sub-$160,000 homes available, drops from 160, 289 and 390 in the three prior closing weeks of April, BRR reported.

Homes listed for less than $160,000 right now make up only 5 percent of the overall Boise housing market, a contrast with the 11.7 percent, 16.5 percent and 27.7 percent in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.  This price range only accounted for 23.1 percent of Nampa homes on the market, a considerable shift from 33.7 percent, 49.2 percent and 59.5 percent in the prior years.

About Teya Vitu

Teya Vitu is an Idaho Business Review reporter, covering commercial real estate, construction, transportation and whatever else may intrigue him in the moment. Join me on Twitter at @IBR_TeyaVitu.