December 13, 2006 in Idaho

Idaho home cost growth leads nation

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review
 

POCATELLO, Idaho – Home prices in Idaho rose at a faster rate than in any other state in the latest 12-month reporting period, according to a recently released federal report.

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight said home prices appreciated 17.5 percent in Idaho in the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Utah was second with a 17.4 percent increase.

In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, Utah was tops with a 4.7 percent increase in home-price appreciation. With a 3.0 percent increase for the quarter, Idaho was also behind Wyoming (4.61 percent) and Washington (3.14 percent).

In Pocatello in eastern Idaho, home prices rose a record 14 percent in 2005, but this year have risen only 10 percent, said Mike Johnston, a real estate agent with Home Specialists.

“Nationally there have been several markets that have been going down in value,” Johnston told the Idaho State Journal. “That’s caused people locally to think our local values have gone down also. That’s not true. We’ve been pretty happy with the appreciation that’s happened.”

He said that about 20 percent of home sales in 2005 came from new construction, but that it hasn’t kept up with demand.

“We still have a shortage of homes,” Johnston said. “When I put together a list of homes to show my clients, I still don’t have the inventory.”

Part of the reason is that out-of-state investors have found Pocatello to their liking, said Gilbert Salazar, a real estate agent with Century 21.

“Pocatello is one of the only places where you can find multifamily dwellings at a decent price that will cash flow,” Salazar said. “It seems like in the last 2 1/2 years, the world has found out about Pocatello and how nice it is here.”

He predicts that homes in Bannock County will appreciate about 8 percent.

“We just don’t have the highs and lows the bigger markets have had in the last two years,” Salazar said. “In Arizona, they were on a housing boom for a long time, and now their property values have dropped off dramatically.”

With the increase in home prices, affordable housing has become harder to find.

“Five years ago, it was nothing to pick up a decent home for $85,000 to $90,000,” Salazar said. “Now those homes are in the $125,000 range.”

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