The purpose of our blog is to educate our readers on the current Boise Idaho real estate market, to inform potential buyers and sellers of the process of buying or selling a home in the Boise area, to provide pertinent home improvement ideas for current homeowners, and to present desired community information for Boise and the surrounding area.  We hope you enjoy the content.  If you have questions or ideas on things you would like us to write about, let us know!

Aug. 20, 2018

An Adoption Story

Miller Adoption Family of 7

How life can change so drastically in just a few days! Two days after posting my last blog, Luke and I were matched through our adoption agency with a 1 month old baby boy. We got the news on Thursday, the 26th, spent Friday planning and packing, flew to Georgia as a family on Saturday, met our son and his sweet birth mom (a very surreal event) on Sunday, and then got to take our little guy with us on Monday. We spent the next 10 days in Georgia, waiting out the revocation period and legal processing. Then, Wednesday, 8/8 (the Biblical number signifying a new beginning) we brought our baby Brooks home to begin life as a Miller. We could not be more in awe of God’s perfection in every detail of this adoption story and of how He knit our lives together with this little boy and his birth mom. He also graciously surrounded us with so many people to pray for us and then astounded us by faithfully answering both the big and the small prayers lifted on our behalf.

We are over the moon in love with our little Brooks and overjoyed with his presence in our family. We are also thankful for the extended circle of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, and church family that adoption has allowed Brooks to be welcomed into. It so sweetly reminds us of our own adoption into God’s family and the inheritance that comes with that. “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir through God” (Galatians 4: 4-7).

Just as Brooks, through his adoption by us, has instantly become an heir to all we have—not by anything he has done but purely out of our love for him—so we, through our adoption by God as a believer in Christ, have become heirs to all the goodness God has to give—not because of anything we have done but purely out of His sacrificial love for us! We rejoice at the opportunity we have been given to welcome Brooks into the Miller clan. And we rejoice in God’s grace of bringing us into His family, redeeming us not with silver or gold but with His own precious blood. He indeed is worthy of all the praise!

If you’d like more details on the adoption or want more pictures of Brooks, we love to share the story and his cuteness.  So, please don’t hesitate to call, text, or email!

Posted in Katie Miller
Aug. 18, 2018

History of Table Rock

 

Located between downtown Boise and the foothills, Table Rock is a prominent local landmark.  Its earliest known use was that of a sacred ceremonial meeting place for the Northern Shoshone Indian tribe. In the early 1990s, the midsection of quarry was sold and opened to rock mining.  Table Rock sandstone became a prized building material used in upscale building projects. 

 

 

The cross on top of Table Rock has a long history of controversy.  In 1956, the Junior Chamber of Commerce (the Jaycees) built the cross on the bluff, which was owned by the Department of Corrections at the time.  In 1970, fearing future legal pressure to remove the cross, the Jaycees asked if they could purchase a 44’x70’ parcel around it.  But, the Department of Corrections deemed it surplus land and gave it to the Idaho Board of Land. In 1971, the Land Board held an auction of the land, and the Jaycees purchased it for $100.  From then on, the cross was considered to be on private property.  Attempts to remove the cross were made by the American Civil Liberties Union in 1994 and by atheist human rights activist Rob Sherman in 1999.  Thanks to community support and private land laws, neither of these actions, nor other smaller actions have prevailed.  At the base of the cross, a bronze plaque rests that reads, “In appreciation of those who by their gifts and services have made possible this cross on Table Rock, this plaque is gratefully inscribed and dedicated. May this cross inspire those who see it to better citizenship, higher ideals and happier living.”

 

 

Table Rock is a popular with hikers and bikers and is a beautiful place to watch the sunset.  Its trail is 3.7 miles long and has an elevation gain of 895 feet. Popular trail routes start behind the Bishop's House (next to the Old Idaho State Penitentiary) and across from Warm Springs Golf Course.   The trail on average takes one hour to hike, ending on top of Table Rock and is open from sunrise to sunset every day of the week.

 

 

Both the Table Rock cross and bluff have become an icon in Boise.  There are several local businesses and organizations named after it, included the new church that I (Katie) have had the joy of being a part of (www.TableRock.Church).   If you have not yet taken the opportunity to hike the bluff, I encourage you to do so.  When you reach the top, make your way to the rocky overlook, sit down on the wide concrete bench, and take in the spectacular views of Boise, the Treasure Valley, the Boise foothills, and the Owyhee Mountains! 

Posted in Local History
Aug. 18, 2018

Boise Real Estate Market Update June 2018

 

As expected, the June market was fast paced and closed out with a new record high median sales price of $324,647, up 27.7% from the same time last year.  It’s important to note this figure is somewhat skewed by new construction which, due to the low inventory of existing homes, is selling at both higher prices and larger volumes than in years past.  If we just look at the median sales price for new construction,  June’s figure was $393,705.  The median resale price for existing homes, however, was only $299,900. Additionally, we saw an 8.7% increase in the number of newly constructed homes sold compared to a 5.8% DECREASE in the number of existing homes sold.  This increased volume of sales in the higher priced arena of new construction combined with the decrease in sales (due to lack of availability) in the lower priced existing homes market, definitely played a major role in pushing  that median sales price beyond the record.
 
The number of days a property has been on the market before it has sold also hit a new record, dropping to only 16 days.  This is down 27.3% compared to the same month last year—demonstrating that what we’re experiencing is not just a seasonal drop but rather the product of our continued housing shortage.  Although the growth in new home sales is a testimony to builders’ increased production,  the market remains unbalanced and highly competitive.  If you’re considering buying a home in this market and would like more counsel on how to best prepare, we hope you will contact us!  We have some good suggestions to help you compete while also protecting you from potentially unwise moves that can be common in our fast-moving market. 

 

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for June 2017 compared to June 2018:

Existing/Resale...

 

  • Closed sales – 855 (down 5.6%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $299,900 (up 17.4%)
  • Days on the Market - 16 (down 27.3%) 
  • Inventory: 765 ?(down 36.9%)
  • Months of Supply: 0.9 (down 35.7%) 

 

We also wanted to show how the number of months supply of inventory fluctuates based on the price range.??The current month’s existing supply condition in each price range is as follows: 

 

  • $159,999 or less: 0.5 month
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.5 month
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.3 month
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 0.6 month
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1 month
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 1.3 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 1.6 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 3.1 months
  • $1,000,000 or more: 8.7 months

 

New Construction...

 

  • Closed sales – 311 (up 8.7%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $393,705 (up 13.8%)
  • Days on the Market - 54 (down 21.7%)
  • Inventory: 647 ?(down 7.7%)
  • Months Supply of Inventory: 2.2 (down 42.1%)

 

  If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative? July 2018 Boise Regional Realtors Market Reports for both Ada and Canyon ?counties.

 

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
Aug. 18, 2018

How Long Do Families Live in a House?

 

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of their data points, which has changed dramatically, is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving.

 

As the graph below shows, over the last twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2014, that average is almost ten years – an increase of almost 50%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the dramatic increase?

 

The reasons for this change are plentiful!

 

The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.

 

With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 95.3% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situationaccording to CoreLogic.

 

With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.

 

One other reason for the increase was brought to light by NAR in their 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. According to the report,

 

“Sellers 37 years and younger stayed in their home for six years…”

 

These homeowners, who are either looking for more space to accommodate their growing families or for better school districts to do the same, are likely to move more often (compared to typical sellers who stayed in their homes for 10 years). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations, resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!

 

What does this mean for housing?                                          

 

Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstance; they could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple living in a one-bedroom condo planning to start a family.

 

These homeowners are ready to make a move, and since a lack of housing inventory is still a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
July 24, 2018

Making Space in Our Home and Hearts

Some of you may know, but likely many of you may not, that Luke and I were led back in January to seek to bring another child into our home through adoption.  If you know much about me, I never pictured myself as being a mom with lots of children.  Four was a stretch, and now the possibility of 5 or 6 sounds somewhat crazy.  But amidst the fear, there is this incredible sense of peace knowing that this openness and desire to adopt is not of myself but of my good God, who has always been faithful to carry us through whatever waters He leads us out on.

Last week, we received our first adoption scenario to consider—19 month old twins whose young mother was feeling overwhelmed and unable to care for them.  Our hearts broke for this mom’s situation and the feelings of deep loss both she and the twins would have if she decided she needed to place them for adoption.  This scenario was not what we were expecting, but we were ready and willing to move forward if needed, and so spent the next several days praying alongside friends and family.   We prayed the Lord would provide the resources and support this mother needed in order to keep and care for these twins and also prayed that, if she could not, He would provide us with the wisdom and strength to know how to love this mom well and care for her children in her stead.  

As you might imagine, this time of waiting, praying, and processing took a great deal of my emotional and mental energy, making it difficult to work and hopefully explaining why I was so late getting to this month's blog post =-)   A few days ago, we received word of answered prayers—the twins’ mom was feeling she could continue to care for them.  We hope she and these little ones have felt the many prayers that have been lifted up on their behalf these past several days, and we are encouraged that such prayers will continue to be prayed for them by so many who are now aware of their situation. 

As for us, we are happy to have an answer to our prayers for this young woman and her twins and are peaceful and content to wait and pray for the next adoption scenario the Lord gives us the opportunity to enter into.   It is a joy and privilege to walk the road our good God has laid before us, and we can’t wait to see how His perfect plan for us and for our future child (children) unfolds =-) Thanks to all of you who have been supporting, encouraging, and praying for us along the way!

If our adoption plans are news to you and you’d like to know more about how we got here, please feel free to read some of our story HERE!  

 

Posted in Katie Miller
July 8, 2018

Reverend James Funsten

Though you may have never heard his name before, James B. Funsten impacted Boise in ways still visible today.  He was born in Virginia on July 23, 1856 and was the eldest son of a colonel.  He grew up to become a lawyer but later left his law practice to become a clergyman.  In 1898, he was assigned as the first bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho and landed himself in Boise.  Four years later, on a spring day in May of 1902, Rev. Funsten along with Rev. Charles Deuel, dedicated St. Michael’s Cathedral in front of a crowd of over 500 people.  This beautiful, Gothic cathedral was built with sandstone from Table Rock and still stands at State and 8th Streets in downtown Boise.  At 116 years old, the building continues to host five worship services per week for its parishioners.   

In the December following the dedication of the cathedral, Rev. Funsten also founded St. Luke’s Hospital, which began as a cottage filled with just six beds.  Nurses were scarce, so St. Luke's Hospital added a school of nursing in 1903.  For decades, St. Michael's Women's Auxiliary supported the hospital by making bandages and dressings for surgery, furnishing patient rooms, sewing layettes for the nursery, and buying lab equipment. Thousands of dollars were raised annually at the church-sponsored St. Luke's Ball. Today St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center is Idaho’s largest hospital and is a not-for-profit health system, treating approximately 325,000 people a year.

Reverend Funsten died in Boise at the age of 62, and his body was returned to Virginia for burial.  Although he was not born or buried here, his life had a lasting effect on our city!

Posted in Local History
July 8, 2018

Boise Real Estate Market Update - May 2018

There’s no question, Boise is growing and the real estate market is booming right along with it.  In May, total sales volume for residential real estate in Ada County hit a record high of $404.4 million, a 30.5% increase from the same time last year.  This large jump is due primarily to two factors:  (1) more people are moving into the area and buying homes and (2) home prices are escalating, due to low inventory and increased costs of land, labor, and construction. 

 Because of lack of availability of existing homes to meet new buyer demand, builders have been busy.  In May, there was a 60% year over year increase in the number of newly constructed homes sold!  Over the same time frame, prices of new construction also increased by 8.7%.  This is a decent appreciation for builders but is actually only half as much as the price increases experienced in the “existing homes” market.  This month, the median year over year price appreciation for existing homes rang in at 16%.

This rapidly growing market does not cause me too much concern for those who already own a home in the valley and are building equity at a rate in line with cost increases.  Their equity position will likely give them the ability to sell and buy without too much financial strain.  However, I do have concern for those local people who are renting and hoping to buy.  With Idaho wages not increasing as rapidly as housing prices and with no growing equity in a current home, these individuals may be quickly pushed out of the market as housing becomes less affordable.   Although not the scenario most people like to see, this is the picture that is expected to occur as any city grows—and Boise is certainly growing!  If you’d like to talk with us more about the market and how it may affect your personal buying/selling situation, please don’t hesitate to call!  We’d love to share what we know and help you discern the best potential next steps!

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for May 2017 compared to May 2018:
Existing/Resale...

  • Closed sales – 1,160 (up 13.5%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $287,000 (up 16%)
  • Days on the Market - 19 (down 9.5%) 
  • Inventory: 741 ?(down 33.6%)
  • Months of Supply: 1 (down 33.3%) 

We also wanted to show how the number of months supply of inventory fluctuates based on the price range.??The current month’s existing supply condition in each price range is as follows: 

  • $159,999 or less: 1.3 month
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.4 month
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.3 month
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 0.6 month
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.1 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 1.6 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 1.8 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 4.2 months

New Construction...

  • Closed sales – 325 (up 60.1%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $349,900 (up 8.7%)
  • Days on the Market - 68 (down 13.9%)
  • Inventory: 650 ?(down 19.3%)

  If you’re interested in knowing more about the current state of the market, check out these informative? May 2018 Boise Regional Realtors Market Reports for both Ada and Canyon ?counties.

Posted in Housing Market
June 19, 2018

Make a Joyful Noise

Make a Joyful NoiseSometimes people wonder why Christians sing at their church services.  Some might think it’s because it’s tradition, or that’s just “what you do” at church, or because it’s fun to sing and it’s nice to have a venue to do so.  Although these reasons are partially true, the real heart behind singing in church should be so much more than that—it should be worship. Worship is “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration” toward something.  Although the word “worship” may seem odd and possibly even cultish to some, I am pretty confident all people have at some point or another sung to or made a joyful noise in reverence or adoration of something.  

Perhaps the most relatable example of worship I can give is that of cheering on your favorite sports team.   When your team does something well or makes a winning play, don’t you often jump off your seat, make a joyful shout, and cheer in adoration of what they’ve done?  Singing in church is meant to be something similar.  Those who sing should be singing out of adoration and rejoicing in the goodness and greatness of God.  Psalm 95 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountain are his also.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.  Oh come let us worship, and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” 

Wow!  When I think of these things, I can’t help but smile, sing, cheer, and rejoice in my God.  Because I believe that He made the sea and the land, the beautiful scenery I enjoy, the amazing animals I marvel at, each individually incredible human I encounter, I can’t help but cheer at the depth of His creativity.  When I remember that He made me, knows me completely, and loves me, I can’t help but rejoice.  When I ponder the depths of His power over all rulers and authorities, I can’t help but humbly approach Him as the great King above all.  And, when I remember how He paid the penalty for my sinful life by giving up His own righteous life in my place, I can’t help but sing out songs of thankfulness.    For if these things are true, as I believe them to be, He is indeed worthy of our reverence, adoration, joyful noises, and song.  He is indeed worthy of our worship! 

For those of you who believe as I do, I hope this is a good reminder (as it was for me) of why we sing in church.  I hope it adds depth, meaning, and joy to your songs the next time you sing them.  And for those who don’t believe as I do, I hope this gives you greater understanding as to why those crazy Christians sing in church…sometimes even at the top of their lungs, with big smiles, and tears of joy running down their faces.  We are just crazy happy for our God’s winning play!

Posted in Katie Miller
May 30, 2018

Tax Law: How It Will Impact Idaho's Home Price Outlook

Content from IdahoRealtors.com

 

While the new tax law is already in effect, here we estimate how home prices will trend in 2018 for each state. The new tax law reduces the limit on deductible mortgage debt and limits the deductibility of the real estate tax up to $10,000. These two provisions are expected to have an impact on the housing market. Moreover, a higher standard deduction may lessen the incentive to purchase a home, as fewer consumers will utilize mortgage interest and property tax deductions.

Aside from the tax reform impact, it is of utmost importance to understand that the current state of the housing market will also influence home prices. Prices are shaped by supply and demand, like any other economic asset. A shortage of supply pushes up prices, while excess supply causes prices to fall. In the past five years, housing inventory has fallen across the country and as a result, home prices continue to rise.

NAR estimated how home prices will change in the upcoming year for each state, considering the impact of the new tax law and the momentum of jobs and housing inventory.

While home prices are expected to increase by 1.9% on average in 2018, here are the top 5 states where prices will rise more than the average:
1. Colorado: 5.9%
2. Utah: 5.7%
3. Arizona: 5.6%
4. Washington: 5.5%

5. Idaho: 5.5%

Nationwide, NAR is projecting slower growth in home prices of one to three percent in 2018. That is a marked slowdown from the five to seven percent annual gains of the past five years. Since all real estate is local, there will be some markets with price gains and other markets with actual price declines. Colorado (5.9%), Utah (5.7%) and Arizona (5.6%) are expected to be the states that will experience the strongest price gains in 2018. However, some local markets, particularly in high cost, higher tax areas, will likely see price declines as a result of the legislation’s new restrictions on mortgage interest and state and local taxes such as New Jersey (-6.2%), District of Columbia (-4.8%) and New York (-4.8%).

How did we come up with these estimates? First, we determined the main factors affecting the housing market in 2018. Of course, there are a slew of other factors, which have an impact on home prices, but we think that the following four factors need to be considered as driving forces of the housing market in 2018:

  1. Current housing market conditions and momentum
  2. New tax law impact
  3. Interest rate effect
  4. Employment and construction scenarios

See how home prices will be affected in Idaho by the factors above.

 IDAHO HOME PRICE OUTLOOK

 

Posted in Housing Market
May 30, 2018

The Idaho Statesman

With an interest in the West and a desire to start a newspaper, James Reynolds moved to Boise, Idaho, from New York and became the editor of the Tri-Weekly Statesman which began publication on July 26, 1864. The newsroom was operated from a log cabin on the spot where the Boise City Hall now stands.  Reynolds ran the paper until 1872, when it was sold to Judge Milton Kelly.  Kelly was quite a pillar of Idaho society.  He served in the Idaho Territorial House of Representatives and then as a Justice on the Idaho Territorial Supreme Court.  Kelly ran the paper for seventeen years and was responsible for the expansion to daily publication as well as for changing the name to Idaho Daily Statesman.

In 1888, Kelly sold the paper to the Cobb family.  Calvin Cobb published the paper for 40 years, and then, upon his death in 1928, his daughter Margaret took over for the next 30 years.  When Margaret passed in 1959, the general manager, James Brown, carried on.  In 1963, the Idaho Statesman was sold to Federated Publications which merged with Gannett in 1971, and the following year the paper moved to Curtis Road in Boise. 

In March of 2004, tragedy struck when the press building was destroyed by fire.  Newspapers from Nampa, Homedale, Twin Falls, as well as Ontario, Oregon, and Reno, Nevada, stepped in to help retain continuity of service.  In 2005, Gannett sold the Idaho Statesman to Knight Ridder which was attained by the McClatchy Co. in 2006.  By 2008, increased internet usage was leading to a decline in paper sales, so the Idaho Statesman made an effort to reduce expenses by partnering with Idaho Press-Tribune to print their paper in Nampa.  Over the years, the Idaho Statesman has campaigned for the voting rights of women, funding and development of state parks, automatic airbag safety, early childhood education and immunization, the growth of Boise State University, and workman's compensation for farm workers.  It’s Idaho’s most successful newspaper with a readership of 204,000 in print and 66,000 digitally.

 

Posted in Local History