Business

This is how the worsening housing problem in 2018 affected the Treasure Valley

This three-bedroom home at 1927 N. Raymond St., off West Fairview Avenue, was one of only two Boise homes listed for sale in mid-March for less than $200,000. The median price for homes that sold in Ada County in February was $297,500, a record. The record was broken as 2018 advanced.
This three-bedroom home at 1927 N. Raymond St., off West Fairview Avenue, was one of only two Boise homes listed for sale in mid-March for less than $200,000. The median price for homes that sold in Ada County in February was $297,500, a record. The record was broken as 2018 advanced. jsowell@idahostatesman.com

The rapidly escalating costs of Treasure Valley housing brought great news in 2018 to home builders, sellers and their agents, but caused serious problems for young people and others seeking to buy or rent places to live — including people who might want to move up from the current homes but can’t afford move-up home prices.

This selection of 10 stories captures the news that stunned longtime Valley residents, examined the human impact and explored some solutions.

The median Ada County house now costs almost $300,000. Chances are you can’t afford it

Affordable houses in Boise and Meridian seem to be fading into history. Ada and Canyon counties combined had just 65 houses for sale for less than $200,000 on a day we checked. Yet $200,000 is roughly what a median-income Ada County family can afford.

Desperate buyers offer more than sellers ask, but still lose as Boise’s home prices skyrocket

BI sales graph

Everyone has a tale of woe: The agent who wrote nine offers for three buyers but only one was accepted. The downsizing homeowner who sold his house and can’t find another to save his life.

Just when you thought Idaho home prices couldn’t climb any higher, they do, by a lot

Persistent trends — the shortage of used-home listings and high demand — sped up the sales pace.

People coming to Boise see house prices and say, ‘Oh my goodness. I had no idea.’

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These two new homes, at 6120 and 6140 W. Primrose St., are being offered for $289,900. They feature two master bedrooms upstairs and another bedroom downstairs, with three bathrooms. They are located on the Boise Bench north of West Fairview Avenue and west of North Curtis Street. The median sales price for the 60 homes sold on the Bench in July was $249,950. John Sowell jsowell@idahostatesman.com

As the year dragged on, it began to feel like “Groundhog Day” whenever the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service released its real estate sales statistics for the previous month. In the 1993 film comedy, Bill Murray’s character, a television weatherman, covers a Groundhog Day celebration, only to be caught in a time warp where the day repeats itself again and again. An agent in August reported average list prices topping $400,000 in Boise and Meridian.

Need to rent an affordable apartment in Boise? It will be harder than you think

It’s hard to miss the panic in Facebook posts, Craigslist ads, letters to the editor: “I can’t find an apartment to save my life. Can you help me? Please?”

This Boise woman’s story: What can happen when your rent goes up and you can’t pay

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Traci Foy, who became homeless when her rent spiked, spends many afternoons at the Downtown public library searching for apartment listings. There are few she can afford, that are near public transportation and close to doctors and case managers. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Says one local housing official: “I’m hearing an increasing amount of despair in the voices that I talk to, people that are losing their housing, they’ve got nowhere to go, some of them are seniors.”

This Beverly Hills firm is buying Boise apartments, renovating them and raising rents

Its latest: the Cottonwoods Apartments in the River Run area of Southeast Boise, east of Parkcenter Boulevard.

These condos fit those who can’t afford Ada County’s median price of over $300,000

Or they might have, had the Garden City Council not rejected a request to rezone a State Street parcel to allow the pocket neighborhood development. Council members responded to safety concerns raised by neighbors.

Want to live in a shipping container? This new Boise company is making container homes

This new Boise company says its container homes offer one answer to the affordable-housing problem, with dwellings that are attractive, comfortable and trendy.

Want a new Boise apartment for $650 a month? These units are planned. Here’s the catch

“I think we’re at a unique point in the developing of Boise housing when we can create these kinds of housing options before a housing crisis slaps us in the face.”

David Staats is business editor of the Idaho Statesman, which he joined in 2004. He has assigned, edited and reported business, politics, government and other Idaho stories since 2006.Get the top Idaho business stories of the week in a free email every Monday morning. Go here, then press the “Select” button under Idaho Business.
Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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