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After 2 months of record-high home prices in the Valley, costs fell. Here's why.

A house off South Curtis Road, at 5917 W. Robertson St., is listed for $249,300, less than the median price of $295,000 for houses that sold in Ada County in April. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house has 2,000 square feet.
A house off South Curtis Road, at 5917 W. Robertson St., is listed for $249,300, less than the median price of $295,000 for houses that sold in Ada County in April. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom house has 2,000 square feet. jsowell@idahostatesman.com

The average home prices in Ada and Canyon counties have taken a dip — if ever so slightly.

After two straight months where median sales prices of homes purchased in Ada County pushed to new heights, April brought a decline of nearly $14,000. The median price of the 856 single-family homes sold during the month dropped to $295,000, down from $308,950.

Buyers were aided by a 28 percent increase in the number of used homes on the market in April, compared to the month before, according to the latest report from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service. There were 636 existing homes for sale in April, up from 498 in March.

Listings for new homes, on the other hand, declined from 645 to 605.

Next door in Canyon County, the median sales price also dropped for the first time in five months. The median price declined from March's record-setting $211,945 to $209,450.

The decrease in sales prices does not reflect a decrease in buyer interest, Boise Regional Realtors said in a release. The 2,026 pending home sales in Ada County — those under contract and going through closing — represent a 13 percent increase from March. Canyon County saw a 4.6 percent increase over the same period.

"We're still seeing strong demand, so even though the average sales price has come down a little bit, demand is still strong," said Phil Mount, an agent with Front Street Brokers and president-elect of the Boise Regional Realtors.

He said he expects to see more existing homes come onto the market for the next few months. Summer is typically the busy season as buyers and sellers look to move while school in out and the weather is nice, he said.

"It will start to taper off in August and September," Mount said.

Another positive sign, Mount said, was that for the first time in six months, used homes made up a larger share of those on the market than new homes.

"That's a nice thing to have happen," he said. "That new construction inventory is what has kept the average sales price going up the last several months."

In April, the median sales price of a new home was $371,476, while the median price of an existing home was nearly $100,000 less, at $275,000.

For the month, there were 636 used homes on the market and 605 new ones. In March, there were 645 new homes for sale and 498 existing ones.

In Canyon County, existing homes outnumbered new ones for the second month in a row in April. There were 312 used homes on the market last month, compared to 193 new ones. There were more new homes listed there between December and February.

The median price in Ada County increased 16 percent between April 2017 to last month. At $295,000, it ranked third out of four cities in neighboring states.

The median price of $405,000 in Portland, up 13.7 percent from a year earlier, set an all-time record. In Salt Lake County, Utah, the median price was $340,000, up 13.3 percent. In Spokane, the median price last month was $231,000, up 15.5 percent.

Used Ada County homes were on the market for an average of 22 days in April, the same as in April 2017. For the first four months of the year, the average was 41 days, down six days from a year earlier. New homes sold in April had been on the market for an average of 65 days, down from 91 days in April 2017.

Canyon County used homes were listed for an average of 20 days in April before they sold, down from 26 days in April 2017. New homes sold after 86 days, down from 100 days for the same period in 2017.

"There are loans available more easily for people with tougher credit situations than a year ago," said Dave Woodland, senior loan consultant with Signet Mortgage in Boise. "There's a lot of lending money available and there are lenders willing to help people who have lesser credit qualifications."

Because of the tight housing market, fewer mortgages are being taken out. And fewer homeowners are refinancing their existing mortgages. That has benefited people with lower credit scores, Woodland said

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @JohnWSowell.
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