Boises local NBC affiliate, KTVB (Channel 7), reported on a handful of recent rankings that put Idahos biggest city among those whose housing markets are making a comeback. The TV station (and one of the recent rankings) use the term boomtown to describe whats going on with Boise real estate.
By definition, Boise isnt a boomtown. At best, Boises housing market might be seeing a boomlet. But even that term is a stretch.
Its true that real estate in Boise is showing improvement. StateImpact has been reporting on that turnaround for the last eight months. But its important to understand whats causing the shift. There arent droves of out-of-towners moving to Boise, as suggested by the word boomtown. The Boise metro area grew 1.8 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to Census data. Idahos total population grew less than a percentage point during that same time period, the smallest annual growth since 1988.
The start of Boises real estate turnaround has to do with supply and demand, says Metrostudy regional director Eric Allen.
Our production in the market has been so low for so long, for the last three to four years, that weve moved through all of the good inventory, Allen says. So if someone wants to buy a new home, they have to build it, because there isnt a lot of inventory to choose from.
KTVB also reported that short sales, or homes in the foreclosure process, are almost nonexistent. Yes, Idahos foreclosure rate has dropped. But nearly a quarter of all houses sold in Idaho in the first four months of this year were in some stage of foreclosure.
Allen says most homebuyers arent interested in the distressed properties that are still on the market in the area. The good ones have been picked over. Whats left, he says, are homes that require a lot of work.
The bigger question might be: Is being a boomtown really a good thing, anyway?
As Allen observes, booms arent stable. The description of a boom market is something that all of a sudden blows up really fast and will have to recover at some point, he says.
Boise isnt blowing up.
Production is picking up, Allen says. Were at a sustainable level. Were selling most of the homes were building right now. I think the trends were seeing are more sustainable than what a boom situation would do for the market.
Emilie Ritter Saunders: email@example.com