'Demand is through the roof': The housing market crisis in Boise

Housing Market .jpg
Posted at 1:19 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 20:54:43-05

BOISE, Idaho — Currently, in Ada County, there are a little over 300 homes and condos for sale. If you want to buy for under $300,000 there are only six available listings.

Greg Langhaim is a realtor for Boise Home Group and also has a YouTube channel about living in Boise where he explores the Treasure Valley's housing market.

Many factors play a role in our current housing market. The first is supply and demand.

"We got so many people coming here with the demand is through the roof, and we just don't have the inventory," Langhaim said. "People are lining up at open houses to get in, they're lining up to see properties that are currently on the market, and we have builders who are just backlogged with inventory and then we have so many clients who are just getting burnt out."

A strong job market is a big attraction to the Boise metro area but so is the quality of life.

"Boise is such an awesome city, it has so much potential, and people are starting to recognize that. We are getting people from the San Francisco area, but we're also getting people from the east coast, people coming from Texas, Tennessee, Arizona; who see Boise and is like, Man this is a great tech city, there are tons of jobs here, unemployment is relatively low. So I don't think it's going to hurt it. I think it's just going to accelerate more and more as we go down this road" Langhaim said.

COVID-19 has also played a role in our current housing market. Low-interest rates to help relieve the financial burden during the pandemic have been a huge interest point when it comes to buying homes.

"A lot of that was spurred due to COVID, and employers are moving to a work-from-home environment, and we're seeing folks that are working for employers in other states, but able to move here and work from home, and I think that's one of the reasons we are seeing the housing market change so much," said Mandi Feely, a mortgage banker.

On the flip side, those who are struggling due to COVID-19 are another factor in our market.

"People have been out of work for a pretty long time, and are remaining out of work, and the cost of housing continues to increase," said Ali Rabe, executive director for Jesse Tree. "We know that the price of rent increased by over 10% in 2020. So while income remains stagnant, or is even decreasing for people. Their cost of living is increasing and more and more people are living paycheck to paycheck, and as we know if anybody is living month to month, any anticipated expense can come up and leave a family to a place where they can't pay their rent."

The City of Boise is already working on several plans to help with not only supply and demand but also affordability. The Grow Our Housing plan includes a financial incentive for developers.

"This incentive program steps in and says if you can lock some of these down at certain income levels that are needed in our community for, in this program, it's 15 years, there will be this financial incentive," said Leon Letson, Grow Our Housing program manager.

"It's not hard to check the numbers and seeing the gap grow between housing cost and what people are still making in this community," Letson said. "It's long been on our radar and it's a major priority of Mayor McLean's."

Everyone we talked to believed the housing market will not crash. Ali Rabe is also a state senator said she is working on legislation to make sure renter's fees remain reasonable. If you need rental assistance, contact Jesse Tree.