Treasure Valley distressed properties reach post-recession low

Home sale prices are increasing in the Treasure Valley in part because of the decline in distressed properties.

Distressed properties — homes in the process of foreclosure or short sale — made up 59 percent of Ada and Canyon county home sales in January 2011, according to statistics kept by the Ada County Association of Realtors. That dropped to 10 percent in October.

Marc Lebowitz, president of the association, said the decline is partially due to the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Programs that have helped homeowners avoid short-selling their homes for less than they owe on their mortgages.

“This is a combination of the intrinsic strength of our market and some supportive federal policy that have made this picture a lot brighter,” Lebowitz said.

Distressed properties typically sell for far less than market value, Lebowitz said. The reduction in the inventory of distressed homes is one of the reasons median home prices have increased 20.5 percent in Ada County to $214,000 and 19.7 percent in Canyon County to $130,500 since October 2012.

Brad Barker, president of the Boise real estate agency Group One, said the local market has recovered from the recession.

“We have to be approaching or maybe even have reached a normal market now,” Barker said.

Some areas in the country should still be concerned about a “shadow inventory” of distressed properties, meaning homes that are in the process of foreclosure but don’t yet show up in the stats, Barker said. That’s only the case in states that have a judicial foreclosure process, which Idaho does not, he said.

“There isn’t anything hung up in the courts, because we don’t use the courts,” he said.

Zach Kyle: 377-6464