With its continued economic growth and larger homes at more affordable prices, the Idaho housing market is attracting people from across the country. Meridian, Idaho Branch Manager Shawn Graham recently shared his insight and expertise about which areas are thriving and how the state’s economic rebound is impacting the housing market.

Be sure to read Graham’s commentary in the August 2015 issue of Scotsman Guide.

Which housing markets in Idaho are strong right now? Why?

Shawn Graham: The Treasure Valley region is experiencing a growth expansion again — specifically in Ada County — which continues to see increases in home values. In 2014, the average home was valued at $250,000 and this year it is around $262,000. The majority of buyers are looking for homes in the $150,000 to $200,000 price range, but this inventory is becoming harder to find.

The state experienced a particularly extreme boom-and-bust cycle during the housing crisis, which resulted in an oversupply of homes and many out-of-state investors came in to take advantage of the post-recession bargains. The state has since recovered, with Ada County seeing a significant turnaround that’s reflected in its change in housing inventory.

The larger Treasure Valley home builders have been in comeback mode. Two years ago, the area had a six-month inventory of homes priced around $150,000 and now it has decreased to between 30 and 60 days. Meanwhile, small builders are experiencing challenges because individual building lots are harder to come by.

Which Idaho markets are weak? Why?

Graham: Overall, Idaho is experiencing slow but steady economic growth. The weaker areas are currently outside of the Treasure Valley, where cities have lower populations and fewer job opportunities. Those areas are not rebounding as quickly as the bigger communities inside the Valley region.

What are buyers looking for in Idaho?

Graham: Compared to the rest of the country, Idaho offers larger homes and lots at more affordable prices, particularly with out-of-state buyers who have represented about 25% of the market. Home prices here continue to recover as the state returns to a more stable market. We’ve experienced a steady stream of people moving here because of the state’s low crime rate and cost of living, along with its entrepreneurial spirit.

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