Housing, more specifically a lack thereof, including affordable housing, played a significant role in at least several recurring circumstances at times challenging Idaho businesses. From the construction and real estate industries to sectors such as health care and resort communities, housing inventory (both new and existing) for potential buyers was limited for much of the year, — at times due to non-local investment purchases — contributing to rising prices. Supply chain challenges further contributed to climbing associated costs, and then inflation impacted mortgage and relating rates. A number of businesses in the above-mentioned sectors addressed the challenge of some of their employees struggling to find and/or afford housing in their communities by developing their own employee-housing projects.
For instance, Brundage Mountain Resort, Tamarack Resort and Schweitzer Mountain Resort announced employee-housing plans for non-seasonal workers, and Brundage recently opened its renovation project. St. Luke’s Health System bought a building in McCall in April with the intent of providing workforce housing. Special funding for such housing was even taken up by the Legislature.
City governments, including Boise and Rexburg, have been reexamining housing zoning, with Boise engaging in an entire code rewrite and Rexburg looking at making changes to allow for more multifamily housing. Ketchum considered, though ultimately rejected, increasing its Local Option Tax for housing.
And in April, a first-of-its-kind housing conference took place around housing innovation.
As of late, inflation is decreasing and mortgage rates are declining, and, as recently reported by Boise Regional Realtors, the tightness of the market has eased a bit in Ada County, — one of the most sought-after areas — with more inventory options and a decreased median sales price. Home prices are currently falling nationally as well, according to a recent statement from the National Association of Realtors.
Looking ahead, such as during Idaho Business Review’s annual Forum on the Future event, there is optimism for Boise’s approach to adjusting its housing zoning ordinances. There is also an expectation and need for more multifamily housing, which ultimately will serve various demographics.
A number of projects throughout Idaho — from single-family to multifamily — are underway, and some are already announcing finishing phases with new homes available. However, the housing situation throughout Idaho is likely to remain complicated as population growth continues, land options reduce, and inflation persists.