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Boise is the fastest-growing large metro area in the U.S., Forbes says

By all metrics, Boise is booming, according to a new Forbes list of the fastest-growing cities in the country.

Idaho’s capital swept the competition among the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, exceeding 2017 expansion projections “by nearly ever metric that matters,” the business magazine wrote.

And according to Moody’s Analytics, the firm that provides data for Forbes’ annual list, Boise’s growth spurt is likely to continue. Boise ranked 11th on last year’s list.

“(Boise has) the pieces in place. It’s got the location, it’s got low cost, a healthy tech presence,” Moody’s senior economist Adam Kamins told Forbes.

The news follows the U.S. Census Bureau’s announcement that Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the nation (with Ada and Canyon counties accounting for 50 percent of that growth). Additionally, Boise was named the No. 2 spot for young professionals by Forbes in 2017 and earned the No. 11 title on last year’s fastest-growing cities roundup.

Here’s what bumped the Boise metropolitan area to the top this year:

  • Its population grew 3.08 percent in 2017 — the highest percentage growth for any major metro area, Forbes said.
  • Employment in the Treasure Valley grew 3.58 percent, second only to North Port, Florida, at 3.99 percent growth.
  • Home prices, which Forbes said indicate wealth, increased 11.58 percent. That was the fourth-highest in the U.S.

Forbes also took into account wages and overall economic growth in 2017. Boise didn’t quite top those categories but still came in above national averages. Local wages grew by 5.7 percent (sixth in the nation), and Boise’s gross metropolitan product grew by nearly 4 percent (eighth in the nation).

Locals who dig their heels in against the explosive growth may take some comfort in Forbes’ 2018 projections. The rate of growth should taper off, experts say. Most notably, Boise’s climbing home prices are projected to slow considerably (from fourth-highest in the country to a projected spot of 23rd).

In 2018, the city’s population will grow an estimated 2.34 percent, Forbes predicts, and jobs will grow about 2.61 percent. Local economic growth is expected to hold steady at eighth in the nation, or 5.12 percent. Wages should climb 5.7 percent, the fifth-fastest projected increase in the nation.

What’s driving all this growth?

Moody’s analyst Kamins said the tech exodus from pricey cities like San Francisco and Seattle is a likely cause, along with the movement of senior citizens to Idaho.

Boise was followed on Forbes’ list by the Seattle area at No. 2 and Dallas at No. 3. The only other Northwest metro area in the top 10 is Tacoma, Washington, at No. 10. View the full list here.

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