Restoring balance to Boise real estate

A new home under construction is shown last month on South Brookridge Way in Boise. Real estate experts say increased inventory is cooling the local real estate market.

BOISE — In August, Boise home prices dropped for the first time in 14 months. New numbers reveal prices of existing homes went back up slightly in September while new homes continued to fall, according to Intermountain Multiple Listing Service.

Ada County median home prices went from $540,000 in July to $530,500 in August, a 1.8 percent decrease. In September, they went back up to $534,950 for a slight 0.9 percent increase.

Canyon County saw a larger 2.8 percent increase. Home prices in Canyon went from $410,500 in August to $422,000 in September.

The market seems to have cooled since Ada’s biggest median home price jump of 2021 in May when homes went up 8.7 percent.

September’s prices still look steep when compared to last year’s numbers. In September 2020, homes were selling at a median price of $408,000 in Ada and $310,000 in Canyon.

In Ada County, existing home prices saw a small increase going from August ($520,000) and September ($525,000). But new homes in actually fell. Newly constructed homes went from $564,873 in August to $549,850 in September.

In Canyon County, existing homes went from $390,000 to $399,444. New homes went from $448,880 to $464,995.

Inventory continues to increase. In January, the supply bottomed out when only 260 homes were listed in Ada County and 160 in Canyon. In September, Ada County saw an 11 percent month-to-month increase with 1,249 available homes, and Canyon County saw a 5.4 percent increase with 780 available homes.

Broker Kristin Scanlon with Sivercreek Realty Group predicts we will see home prices decrease again as existing home prices follow the decline of new home prices heading into winter.

“It’s our market correcting itself,” Scanlon said. “A lot of new builders in our area were pushing the envelope on price. Now I think sellers across the board are getting a little more realistic because inventory has increased. With the inventory increasing, it’s supply and demand. They have more competition so in order to move their inventory before snow flies, they need to adjust and get a little more realistic about their pricing.”

Jennifer Ketcham, a real estate agent with Homes of Idaho, thinks the decrease in construction has also played a role in the decrease of new homes.

“Lumber costs have gone significantly down,” Ketcham said. “OSB (oriented strand board) was $54 a year ago and now it’s $16.”

Scanlon too thinks construction prices are helping prices “balance out.” When supply chains were running short because of the pandemic, many builders slowed construction, which caused the extreme inventory shortages in early 2021. As supplies increased and prices went down, builders began building again. The Treasure Valley is now seeing that inventory hit the market as homes are completed.

“There are huge subdivisions going in left and right,” Scanlon said. “You’ve got all these production builders who are building standing inventory, sometimes 100 units at a time. We’ve seen a lot of them dropping their prices. You used to see primarily price increases all through the early parts of this year. Now you see probably 99 percent of those home price changes are reductions.”

According to Scanlon, this is good for buyers. More options means they have more control.

“It’s a little more balanced,” Scanlon said. “It’s not 100 percent a seller’s market. It’s more realistic for buyers now.”