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Treasure Valley residents still aren’t selling their homes. Blame reality TV.

Resale homes were on the market for an average of 29 days before selling in 2017 in Ada County. This home on South Roosevelt Street on the Boise Bench attracted potential buyers during an open house.
Resale homes were on the market for an average of 29 days before selling in 2017 in Ada County. This home on South Roosevelt Street on the Boise Bench attracted potential buyers during an open house. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Talk about an odd housing market.

The number of new homes for sale last month in Ada County outstripped existing homes on the market by the widest margin ever. One reason? Reality TV.

Of the 1,391 homes listed, 854 — more than three in five — were newly built, compared with 537 existing homes, according to Boise Regional Realtors. It was the fifth time in 2017 when new homes exceeded used ones. Until December 2016, that had not happened in the 10 years for which the Realtors have data.

Homeowners everywhere are staying in their homes longer, said Gary Salisbury, president of Boise Regional Realtors and an agent with Equity Northwest Real Estate. The National Association of Realtors said home sellers in 2017 had been in their homes for 10 years on average, compared with six or fewer between 1985 to 2008, when the Great Recession began.

Lots of them are remodeling instead.

“Do-it-yourself TV programs have certainly intrigued us and encouraged us to make updates along the way in our existing homes,” Salisbury said.

Buyers shouldn’t be put off by the small number of used homes on the market, he said.

“Just because we keep saying there’s low inventory, there are homes to be bought in many price ranges and in many areas of town,” Salisbury said.

The total number of homes for sale in December was a record low, and 6.6 percent lower than in December 2016. December is typically a slow home-sales month.

Ada County has four months worth of new homes for sale at the current sale pace. For existing homes, there is less than one month of inventory. A balanced market — where neither buyers nor sellers are favored — typically has four to six months of supply.

The Realtors also said:

▪  Sales prices surged again in 2017. The median price for new homes sold in Ada County was $339,241, up 8.2 percent from 2016. The median for used homes was $247,500, up 8 percent. Canyon County medians were $236,990 for new homes and $172,000 for used.

▪  The few used homes on the market have been selling fast: 29 days on average last year in Ada County, down from 35 in 2016. New homes took 65 days, down from 74. Canyon County figures were similar.

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell

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