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Expect to pay more as Treasure Valley home prices rise again and choices stay scant

This house on the Boise Bench is listed for sale for $250,000, under Ada County's May median sales price of $287,000 . The house,  at 5122 W. Fairmont St., has two bedrooms, one bathroom and 1,523 square feet. It was built in 1947. The Bench is still one of the least expensive neighborhoods in Ada County, but median sales prices have soared 54 percent in the past three years.
This house on the Boise Bench is listed for sale for $250,000, under Ada County's May median sales price of $287,000 . The house, at 5122 W. Fairmont St., has two bedrooms, one bathroom and 1,523 square feet. It was built in 1947. The Bench is still one of the least expensive neighborhoods in Ada County, but median sales prices have soared 54 percent in the past three years. jsowell@idahostatesman.com

A month after home prices fell slightly in Ada and Canyon counties, they pushed up again in May to near-record levels.

The median home sales price in Ada County was $305,000, just below the record $308,950 set in March, the first time it had risen above $300,000, according to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. The median price fell to $295,000 in April before rebounding.

In Canyon County, May's median price rose to $211,000, $945 short of March's record.

For the first time, the value of all residential home sales for the month in Ada County topped $400 million, reflecting the higher prices that are benefiting builders, used-home sellers and real estate agents. The 1,160 homes that sold generated $404.4 million. The previous high was in June 2017, when it reached $371.1 million, according to records compiled by Boise Regional Realtors dating to 2005.

While homes remain scarce,the number ofall homes being sold is approaching the peak of the prerecession boom. More than 4,100 homes have sold in Ada County so far this year, compared with about 4,500 in the same period of 2006 and 3,800 in 2005. The median home price in 2006 was $232,900.

"It just means the amount of economic impact it's having is still really, really high," said Mike Turner, an agent with Front Street Brokers in Boise. "Even though there's low inventory, there's still a lot of sales and action going on."

The biggest challenge is still for first-time buyers. They have been losing bidding wars with other buyers able to offer cash.

"The cash buyers are coming in, and they're purchasing these entry-level homes and often turning them into rentals, or maybe they're moving from another area and have the cash," Turner said. "Finding a house for someone that's like $300,000 is really difficult."

So many buyers are still offering more than asking prices, though not at the $100,000 premium Turner said is becoming more common in even more brutal markets like Portland and Seattle.

Last month, the Ada County Assessor's Office announced that the increase in home prices caused the highest rise in assessed values in 11 years.

Other details from the report:

Used-home prices rise: Ada County: $349,900 for new homes, down from $371,476 in April. $287,000 for used homes, up from $275,000. Canyon County: $249,999 for new homes, up from $248,900; $201,000 for used ones, up from $193,000.

Sales volume rises: 1,160 homes sold in Ada County, up from 1,022 in May 2017. In Canyon County, 499 homes sold, compared with 461 for the same month a year ago.

Listings decline: In Ada County, 1,346 homes were on the market, compared with 1,866 in May 2017. The inventory is 58 percent lower than in May 2006. In Canyon County, there were 543 homes on the market in May, down from 780 in May 2017. That's 60 percent lower than in May 2006.

Highest median prices: Northeast Boise, $499,850; Eagle, $440,000; North Boise, $405,000.

Lowest median prices: West Boise, $245,000; Boise Bench, $237,500; Garden City, $226,825.

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