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These signs suggest the Treasure Valley’s hot home-sales market may finally be cooling

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After months of consistently climbing real estate prices, Ada County home buyers are finally getting some slight relief. Now the question is: Will it last?

The median price for all homes sold in Ada County in September fell 4.7 percent, according to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. The median was $318,990, compared with $334,400 the previous month.

The reasons? One agent says they appear to include overpricing, rising mortgage-interest rates, a reduction in the flow of people moving to the Boise area, and the onset of fall.

“I don’t want to say dramatic, but it’s been a notable shift,” said Rick Gehrke, an agent with RE/MAX Executives in Eagle.

The decline affects both new and used homes. The median price for an existing home dropped to $299,950 in September, down from August’s record $309,200. New homes fell to $367,900, a nearly 5 percent drop from $386,470.

Gehrke said homes sold more slowly in September, averaging 30 days on the market, up from 26 in August. And despite 200 more active listings than the previous month, pending sales dropped by nearly 100.

He attributed part of the shift to the time of year: Some buyers rushed to find a home and settle in the summertime to avoid moving children during the school year. Another factor may be interest rates, which have climbed steadily since July. And prices may finally be getting too high. Land prices in Eagle, for example, rose so quickly that “bare dirt for new purchases has been limited,” Gehrke said.

“I think the reasonably priced lots have kind of dried up, and (landowners) may have to lower prices on land that’s now overpriced,” he said.

He’s that the Valley’s real estate market may be finding stable footing.

“The influx of people seems to have slowed down. We really think prices are going to stabilize,” Gehrke said. “A hot market isn’t good for anyone.”

WalletHub, a personal finance site, developed a list of the best and worst U.S. cities to flip houses. Two Idaho cities, Nampa and Boise, are in the top three.

The same may not be true in Canyon County, however. There, the median price rose 4 percent from $220,000 to $229,900, according to the IMLS. The median existing home fell slightly to $210,500, but new construction set a record at $282,677.

Buyers felt overwhelmed in recent months, Gehrke said, and settled for homes they may not have been happy with.

“I think we’re going to see people take a deep breath and feel more comfortable going and buying a home. They won’t feel pressure to grab something they can get instead of what they really want,” he said.

Other details from the report:

  • Highest median prices:

    Ada - Northeast Boise, $502,800; Eagle, $462,790; North Boise, $441,754.

    Canyon - Middleton, $304,891; Northeast Nampa, $241,285; Northwest Nampa, $214,900.
  • Lowest median prices:

    Ada - Garden City, $209,949; Boise Bench, $248,900; West Boise, $249,950.

    Canyon - South Nampa, $210,000; Northwest Caldwell, $199,900.
Contact reporter Nicole Blanchard at 208-377-6410, or follow her on Twitter: @NMBlanchard
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