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Boise was among six cities to hit record high home prices this winter

A home for sale in Boise this winter.

A home for sale in Boise this winter. Median prices for a single-family home surged in Ada County this winter, according to the Boise Regional Realtors. File photo.

Boise was among only six housing markets in the U.S. to hit record high home prices in the first quarter, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest multi-sourced property database.

Ada County started eclipsing 2007 record home sale prices in July, the typical season that homes command the highest prices in the Treasure Valley. But even in the middle of winter, median prices for a single-family home surged even higher.

Home prices in Ada County hit a record median high of $256,600 in February. Canyon County hit its highest median price for a single-family in March at $175,000, according to statistics from Boise Regional Realtors.

Averaging out the price over the entire first quarter, Ada County also reached a new highest median sales price of $249,000, a 6 percent increase over first quarter 2016, said Breanna Vanstrom, BRR’s chief executive.

“The new median sales price high was caused by two things,” Vanstrom said, “a combination of more existing and new homes selling at higher prices than last year during the first quarter and inventory being down 14.4 percent year-over-year pushing prices up from strong buyer demand.”

Dwindling numbers of homes have been on the market since the beginning of January 2016. Treasure Valley homeowners are holding on to their homes longer, wagering that prices will go higher and also because they are having difficulty finding another home in the tight market.

Boise joined Salem, Ore.; Seattle; Greeley and  Fort Collins, Colo.; and Provo, Utah, as the only cities among the 95 markets that ATTOM analyzed to hit record highs in the January-to-March timeframe.

Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Florida, Washington, Oregon and Colorado were the seven fastest-growing states in 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Home prices are relative, though. A record median price in Boise is likely not even attainable in Seattle, where the median price for a single family home that sold in King County  in March was $599,950, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

But all three Pacific Northwest states are proving to be attractive destinations for relocating Americans, especially retirees, said Wes Flacker, owner of Century 21 Magellan Realty in Boise.

“What we have become for the first time, the Pacific Northwest – Oregon, Washington and Idaho – have become the No. 1 migration states,” Flacker said. “Traditionally, it’s been Californians moving here. However, we are now fielding phone calls from across the country. People are coming from the southern belt. We get calls from Tennessee, the Carolinas and Texas.”

Flacker said retiring baby boomers have a different idea about where to retire than their parents, who flocked to places like Arizona and Florida.

“My generation doesn’t like that kind of lifestyle,” he said. “We want Northwest recreation.”

Flacker predicts Treasure Valley home prices will increase 10 to 15 percent next year to push the median home price near $300,000.

“Most of the land (that) developers bought cheap in the recession has been used up,” Flacker said. “Now land is more expensive.”


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.