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'The city sells itself': Ada County housing market sees stark difference in year-over-year data

Ada County sellers are getting more for their homes in 2021 than 2020. In Boise, sellers were getting 98.5% of their listing price in 2020. In 2021, they got 104.6%.

BOISE, Idaho — The Ada County housing market is very competitive right now. Homes are rarely selling at their exact asking price with the median Ada County home listed at $450,000. Just one year ago, that number was more than $100,000 less coming in at $342,000. 

The current market is making it more competitive for folks trying to buy a house.

“We started looking at homes and yeah, saw these homes snatched right off the market,” homebuyer Bob Pishue said. “Right away pretty much.”

Pishue and his partner moved to Boise from the Seattle area in September 2020. They now live in a home on the Bench, which they closed on before they saw the house in person.

“Our realtor did a video tour and we put an offer down and unfortunately we didn't get the first one we wanted," he said. "[We didn't get] the second one we wanted but we did get the third one. The asking price was more like the starting point rather than the endpoint.”

Pishue considers himself lucky they were able to find a home in the area. He had to compete with multiple offers on the first two houses he looked at.

On the other side of the housing market, there are folks like Vivian Halbert. Her family has looked for a home for more than a year now and has expanded their search outside of Boise to include both Canyon and Elmore counties.

“There have been four or five places and it's a bidding war and I just can't compete,” she said. “As soon as you look at the place, it's already pending.”

Halbert and her family are currently renting a home in Boise where they’ve lived for a long time. They just can't seem to find the right house for them and their three kids in the Treasure Valley.

“It is very frustrating,” she said. “We're trying to get a bigger place, we only have a three-bedroom right now and we've got three kids and we want each of them to have their own room.”

With a price range between $265,000-$350,000, the family continues to be outbid on home offers.

“Every place that we've looked, it's the same thing unfortunately and it’s getting worse as times have gone on,” Halbert said.

The Ada County housing market is getting more competitive and more expensive for buyers, according to data from Boise Regional Realtors (BRR).

BRR looked at market data from two periods: one period between Jan. 1-Feb. 29, 2020, and the other between Jan. 1-Feb. 28, 2021.

Sellers in every city in Ada County are now getting more for their homes in 2021 than 2020. For example, sellers in Boise were getting an average of 98.5% of their listing price in 2020. In 2021, that amount increased to 104.6%.

Another city that saw a stark difference in just one year’s time is Star. In 2020, sellers were getting an average of 96.5% of the listing price when a home sold. That amount jumped to 105.1% in the first two months of 2021.

BRR also compared the average "paid-over-or-under list,", or how much more or less of the listing price sellers were getting.

“We'll put it on the market for fair market value," BRR President Jeff Wills said. "When there are five or six offers, then people start to get creative saying, ‘Okay well, I want this thing more than this person does so let’s come in 10k over or 5k over."

Sellers in Boise were getting $7,596 less than their listing price in 2020. This has greatly increased in 2021: Boise homeowners got $19,687 more than their listing price on average during the first two months of 2021.

In Garden City, sellers were getting $3,222 less than their listing price on average in 2020. In 2021, however, the market is much more friendly for sellers, as they are receiving an average of $22,951 more than the listing price.

“When there's a commodity that is short of supply, people are willing to do some crazy stuff to get access to it,” Wills said.

While homes were being purchased above their listing price, they are also spending significantly less time on the market. In Boise, an available home was typically on the market for 32 days between Jan. 1-Feb. 29, 2020. During that same time period in 2021, houses were on the market for eight days.

When looking year-over-year, every city in Ada County has seen a stark decrease in the amount of time a home spends on the market. Meridian went from 36 days to seven days; Star went from 46 days to five days; Eagle went from 55 days to 13 days; Garden City went from 17 days to four days, and Kuna went from 30 to 11 days.

“I think the lifestyle is absolutely huge. The people’s ability to fish and float a fresh running river that runs right through the Capital city, I think that's unique in nature,” Wills said. “It’s so easy to sell Boise. People come here and they love it. The city sells itself.”

Wills encourages all homebuyers to expand their search if they’re having trouble finding a home. This means someone could expand the square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms or even location. 

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