Sell your home, please, Valley real estate agents and lenders say as supply stays tight

Homebuyer Sarah Munds

Sarah Munds talks about the emotional ups and downs of placing bids on seven Boise homes before landing her home on the Bench.
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Sarah Munds talks about the emotional ups and downs of placing bids on seven Boise homes before landing her home on the Bench.

The chronic low inventory in the Treasure Valley housing market drove up home prices yet again in April while suppressing home sales, leading real estate agents and mortgage lenders to urge homeowners to sell.

The median home price in Ada County rose to $253,250 in April, according to the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. That’s up more than $3,000 from March and up 5.6 percent from April 2016. Resale homes rose to $238,000, just $1,000 short of last June’s record.

In Canyon County, the median price was $179,000 in April, up $4,000 from March and 12.4 percent from the same time in 2016.

Home sales fell 8.1 percent in April compared to the previous year and 1.8 percent in Canyon County. Total listings in Ada County were down 10.5 percent and in Canyon County down 9.3 percent.

Prices soared until 2006, then plunged as housing crashed and the Great Recession took hold. As home values fell, many Valley homeowners ended up “underwater,” owing more on their mortgages than their homes were worth. Thousands defaulted, and many lost their homes to foreclosure. Prices began climbing again after 2011, but fewer homeowners have put homes on the market than in pre-recession years. That’s one reason for today’s tight market.

“Values have increased, and many who had been underwater since the crash are now in the money because of those increases,” said Dave Woodland, senior loan consultant with Signet Mortgage in Boise. “Mortgage rates continue at very attractive levels. Doing the math might surprise you if you haven’t looked recently.”

The seller’s market is frequently forcing potential home buyers to bid on the first day a home reaches the market, at more than the asking price.

In a news release, Boise Regional Realtors said: “While the National Association of Realtors is looking to builders to help solve the inventory shortage nationwide, locally, we need additional existing inventory to come online.”

Katrina Wehr, 2017 president of the Realtors group, said the rising prices mean most agents are doing good business despite the low inventory. “However, we would prefer to see a more balanced market so there are more opportunities for buyers to find their next home,” she said.

Zach Kyle: 208-377-6464, @ZachKyleNews.