Tremendous growth in the Boise area is putting positive pressure on the real estate market here, and Nick Schlekeway, partner in Amherst Madison Legacy Real Estate, sees the trend continuing for some time to come.
Boise was named one of the top 20 fastest growing cities by Forbes magazine in March 2016, and was listed No. 5 in the top 10 hottest housing markets by Zillow in January. The Boise Metro Housing Market Monitor bears that out. Its May report said 2016 could turn out to be the strongest year ever for Boise-area real estate. Strong demand is forcing higher prices while available inventory continues to shrink.
The Intermountain Multiple Listing Service shows home sales in the first quarter of 2016 are up 12 percent compared with the same period last year, with volume of nearly $500 million showing a roughly 17 percent increase.
Schlekeway attributes Boise’s draw to its uniqueness as a city and the amenities to be found here.
“Development in the valley right now is tremendous,” Schlekeway said, “and we have so many people relocating to Boise, whether it’s for retirement, job relocation or for the lifestyle. It’s amazing all the reasons why people are relocating to the Treasure Valley.”
Home prices have risen 30-40 percent over the past four years, he said, with much of the growth in North and East Boise and the downtown area. Amherst Madison saw 300 percent year-to-year growth in sales in 2015, “and we’re looking for that to continue in 2016,” he said.
“We’re starting to see more condo sales, which is really exciting because that’s a place in our market where we traditionally have not had enough options. That’s starting to change, and it’s all part of the same cycle of development and investing in downtown.”
Five years ago, investors and first-time buyers dominated the market. That demographic has changed significantly.
Schlekeway said he’s seen “a ton of activity” from baby boomers and retirees and clients in their 40s-60s. Folks moving to Boise, and those already here but choosing to downsize, comprise the bulk of what he’s seeing in the housing market.
Regarding the latter, “they’re going for more quality and less size,” Schlekeway said.
He sees current market trends and population growth continuing for the next five-10 years.
The livability and lifestyle of the City of Trees is a huge draw, he believes, with access to amenities more often found in bigger cities. Everything from Boise’s unique climate to low crime rates, cleanliness, growth in new restaurants and job opportunities will continue to attract newcomers looking to call Boise home.
“The job market in Boise is phenomenal, with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country,” Schlekeway said. He cited the resurgence in tech industries in the Boise area as “exciting to watch.”
So, too, are the changes in the market, from traditionally second-home buyers and retirement-home driven trends to those driven by the money and jobs coming into the Boise Valley.
But can another bubble happen in real estate?
“Oversupply always creates undersupply” and vice versa, he said, “and we have a drastic undersupply right now.”
Eventually, he expects a correction in the market, “but I don’t think it’s going to be anything close to what we had in 2007-2009. It’ll be more of a normal, manageable dip.”
But for the long term, Schlekeway said, the growth of the valley will continue, especially with the lifestyle offered here, and the jobs continuing to come in.
“We’re seeing a lot of national and global companies moving resources to the Boise Valley. That’s going to be a real game changer,” he said. “Boise is growing up right now. There are a lot of things we have to offer, and there’s a reason people want to live here. I see that continuing.”
Schlekeway said Amherst Madison represents quality of exceptional service and a new form of marketing and branding that’s gaining a successful foothold here after less than three years.
“That speaks a lot to what people in Boise are looking for,” he said.