Idaho added 15,000 new jobs over the past 12 months, a growth of 2.1%. We have noticed a drop in the annual growth rate compared to 2016 but this is nothing to be concerned about. The state is at full employment and it is natural to see a slowdown in growth at this point in the economic cycle.
In September, the state unemployment rate was 2.8%—a figure not seen since records started being kept in 1976. The labor force continues to expand thanks to the robust economy. I anticipate that Idaho will continue to outperform the U.S. in growth for the balance of the year as well as into 2018.
HOME SALES ACTIVITY
- Third quarter home sales rose by 6.2% compared to the same period last year, with a total of 6,822 homes changing hands.
- Sales rose the fastest in Blaine County, which had a 42.6% increase over the third quarter of 2016. In the north, sales grew the most in Bonner County, which saw a 21.5% increase.
- Year-over-year sales dropped in two of three Northern Idaho counties in this report, but rose in all counties in the Southern Idaho market areas.
- Listing inventory rose modestly in Shoshone County but fell in the two other Northern Idaho markets. Southern Idaho saw a mixed bag, with listings higher in Valley County and marginally up in Payette County while the other three counties saw listing activity decline.
- The average home price in the region rose 11% year-over-year to $300,265.
- Blaine County led the market with the strongest annual price growth. Homes there sold for 25.4% more than a year ago.
- All but two counties in this report saw home prices increase compared to the third quarter of 2016, with two showing double-digit gains.
- Home prices in Shoshone and Payette Counties decreased modestly last quarter, but I do not believe this will be an ongoing trend.
DAYS ON MARKET
- The average number of days it took to sell a home in the region dropped 16 days when compared to the third quarter of 2016.
- It took an average of 105 days to sell a home in Northern Idaho and 75 days in the southern part of the state.
- Homes in all three Northern Idaho counties took less time to sell than they did in the same quarter of 2016, and all the southern counties—other than Valley—saw a drop in the time it took a home to sell.
- Homes sold the fastest in Ada and Canyon Counties, where it took an average of 32 days for a home to sell.
The speedometer reflects the state of the region’s housing market using housing inventory, price gains, home sales, interest rates, and larger economic factors. Consumer confidence in the housing market seems to have returned, causing the markets in this report to perform well overall and for home prices to continue trending upward.
The market remains out of balance with more buyers than sellers. But because of
the mixed data, I have chosen to leave the needle at the same position as last quarter. The Idaho economy, specifically in Ada and Canyon Counties, remains robust and this will allow the housing market to expand further for the foreseeable future.
Matthew Gardner is the Chief Economist for Windermere Real Estate, specializing in residential market analysis, commercial/industrial market analysis, financial analysis, and land use and regional economics. He is the former Principal of Gardner Economics, and has more than 30 years of professional experience both in the U.S. and U.K.