Something had to give. The number of new home sales in Boise, Idaho, had dropped for six consecutive years. But the current supply of homes for sale in Ada and Canyon counties had reached some of the lowest totals in close to a decade.
In February 2012, supply and demand finally won out in a big way in the form of new home sales. According to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, new home sales in Ada County increased by more than 78% in February compared to the same time last year. Eighty-two new homes were sold that month compared to 46 in February 2011. Overall, there are 567 new home listings and 231 new home pending listings in Ada County, according to the most recent Intermountain statistics.
New home sales were also up in Canyon County, with a 45% increase in February 2012 compared to the same time last year.
While many Realtors and market experts alike predicted the housing market to rebound in 2012, few saw February's surge in new home sales coming. Most point to Idaho's, and in particular, Boise's, improving economy as the reason for the sudden uptick in new home sales.
Boise's housing market started to bottom out in 2009, according to Metrostudy. Housing starts finally reached an all-time low. But as Idaho's housing market slowly started to recover, so, too, did the economy. February marked the seventh consecutive month that Idaho's unemployment rate declined, coming in at 8% for the month, according to the Department of Labor.
Businesses hired more than 11,000 new workers for the third consecutive month, and employment rose for the eighth consecutive month, coming in at nearly 715,000 in February, according to the Department of Labor.
That's left Idaho residents with more money to spend on their dream home. The average price of a new home in Ada County was $226,751, a slight (3%) increase compared to February 2011. The average price of a new home in Canyon County was $132,087.
Education Funding, Low Crime And Taxes
From picturesque mountains to year-round activities, the improving economy isn't the only reason why more people are buying new homes in Idaho. The state also has the second-lowest cost of living of all western states, its crime rate is the lowest in the West, and Idaho has some of the lowest taxes in the country. The Gem State's high school graduation rates are also among the best in the country, and overall, the state spends close to 64% of its general fund on education.
Those benefits combined with interest rates that remain at near record lows are all contributing factors to why more people are buying new homes in Idaho.
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