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!

Oct. 22, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update August 2019

 

Since it typically takes 20-45 days after an offer is accepted for a home to officially “close,” the closed sales figures for August really represent offers that were made and accepted 20-45 days prior--in June and July.  Because June and July are often the months of greatest listing and buying activity and highest list prices, August closed sales figures tend to hit record highs.  This year was no exception, with the median sales price hitting $355,000—a new overall record high for our market and a continuation of record setting August sale price figures going back to 2016.

 

 With many people adjusting to new back to school schedules, we tend to see fewer offers being made and homes being listed in late August and early September. This will likely mean we’ll see a big dip in the number of closed sale figures in next month’s report.  However, with activity already starting to pick back up again, we can expect a typical spike in closed sales to show up 20-45 days from now, in October and November’s statistic reports. 

 

 Remember, although statistics may show there is an “ideal” time of year to buy or sell, the truth is that there are always people buying and selling, no matter the season or economic situation.  The important thing is not whether it is the “ideal” time per market statistics but whether or not it is the “ideal” time for you.  If you are considering buying or selling in the near future, please give us a call!  We’d love to share more about what you can expect in the current market and help you decide on the best next steps! 

 

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for August 2019 compared to August 2018:

Existing/Resale... 

Closed sales – 1,035 (down 9.7%) 

Median Sales Price - $355,000 (up 6.6%)

Days on the Market - 32 (up 23.1%) 

Pending: 1,630 (up 5.7%)

Inventory: 1,662 (down 1.1%)

Months of Supply: 1.7 (up 13.3%)

 

Here is months of inventory at each price point:
$159,999 or less: 0.9
$160,000 to $199,999: 0.3
$200,000 to $249,999: 0.3
$250,000 to $299,999: 0.9
$300,000 to $399,999: 1.9
$400,000 to $499,999: 2.3
$500,000 to $699,999: 2.8
$700,000 to $999,999: 4.1
$1,000,000 or more: 9.7

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 22, 2019

The Benefits of Growing Equity in Your Home

 

Over the last couple of years, we’ve heard quite a bit about rising home prices. Today, expert projections still forecast continued growth, just at a slower pace. One of the often-overlooked benefits of rising home prices is the positive impact they have on home equity. Let’s break down three ways this is a win for homeowners.

 

1. Move-Up Opportunity

 

With the rise in prices, homeowners naturally experience an increase in home equity. According to the Homeowner Equity Insights from CoreLogic,

 

“In the first quarter of 2019, the average homeowner gained approximately $6,400 in equity during the past year.”

 

This increase in profit means if homeowners decide to sell, they’ll be able to put their equity to work for them as they make plans to move up into their next home.

 

2. Gain in Seller’s Profit

 

ATTOM Data Solutions recently released their Q2 2019 Home Sales Report, indicating the seller’s profit jumped at one of the fastest rates since 2015. They said:

 

“A look at the national numbers showed that U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since the original purchase of $67,500…the average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of the original purchase price.”

 

Looking at the amount paid when they bought their homes, and then the amount they received after selling, we can see that some homeowners were able to walk away with a significant gain.

 

3. Out of a Negative Equity Situation

 

Negative equity occurs when there is a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt, or both. Many families experienced these challenges over the last decade. According to the same report from CoreLogic,

 

“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $485.7 billion since the first quarter 2018, an increase of 5.6%, year over year.

 

In the first quarter of 2019, the total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity decreased…to 2.2 million homes, or 4.1% of all mortgaged properties.”

 

The good news is, many families have moved beyond a negative equity situation, and no longer owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home.

 

Bottom Line

 

If you’re a current homeowner, you may have more equity than you realize. Your equity can open the door to future opportunities, such as moving up to your dream home. Contact a real estate professional in your area to discuss your options and start to put your equity to work for you.

Content from Keeping Current Matters

Oct. 22, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update July 2019

 

This month’s market change was characterized by a slight dip in the median sales price, dropping 1.3% from the previous month but still up 9.7% from the same month last year.  The small month to month drop in the median price was likely affected by a change in the “mix” of home sales by price range from June to July. 

 

What we mean by “mix” of existing home sales is the number of homes available in given price ranges in a given time period.  The mix of homes sold this month consisted of more lower priced houses and fewer higher priced houses than in previous months, which impacted the median price.  As stated by Boise Regional Realtors writer Breanna Vanstrom, “From June to July of 2019, the number of homes for sale in the $160,000 to $199,999 range increased slightly from 2.1% to 2.5%, and the share of existing home sales in the $500,000-$699,999 price range decreased from 11.4% to 10%. Also, during this time period, the share of existing home sales in the $1,000,000 or more price range dropped from 1.3% to 0.5%.  While the number of higher-dollar home sales is usually lower compared to the total number of homes sold, the impact these higher prices sales have on the overall median sales price can be significant.”   

 

Although the impact of this month’s mix of homes drove the median price down slightly, our year over year price appreciation of 9.7% remains strong due in large part to our overall low inventory levels compared to increasing buyer demand.  The months supply of inventory (MSI) for July 2019 was 1.9 months, up 13.9% from July 2018.  But, we are still a long way off from a balanced market, which is characterized by MSI levels in the 4-6 month range.  If we continue with less than 4 months supply of inventory, which is expected, we will remain in a seller’s market.  Under these conditions, price appreciation, though possibly experiencing slight month to month dips due to variations in the mix of homes, should continue on a strong upward trajectory.

 

If you’d like to discuss more about current market trends and how that could affect your buying or selling decisions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We would love the opportunity to meet with you!

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for July 2019 compared to July 2018:
Existing/Resale...
Closed sales – 1,136 (up 1.1%)
Median Sales Price - $349,900 (up 9.7%)
Days on the Market - 30 (up 11.1%)
Pending: 1,741 (up 2.5%)
Inventory: 1,755 (up 9.2%)
Months of Supply: 1.9 (up 11.8%)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Housing Market
Oct. 22, 2019

The Boise Police Department

 

One of the many attractive characteristics of Boise is our relatively low crime rates and the general sense of safety that exists among our community.  The Boise Police Department has played an effective role in helping to create and maintain this aspect of our city. Thus, we thought it might be fun to share a bit about its history.  In 1864, when Boise was the hub of the Idaho Territory, President Abraham Lincoln appointed John Ward as the first law enforcement marshal.  For almost 40 years, the law continued to be enforced by federal marshals, until the Boise Police Department (BPD) was officially established in 1903.  At its conception, the department consisted of a police chief, a police sergeant, and seven police officers.  In 1916, Doc Roach became the first motorcycle officer in Boise, sporting a motorcycle and side car to get through the unpaved streets of the city.

 

In its 116 year history, the BPD has only lost one officer in the line of duty, Officer Mark Stall.  Officer Stall was shot and killed during a traffic stop which turned violent on September 20, 1997.  In his honor, the Boise City Council named the West Boise street where the Boise Police Department is now located after him, N. Mark Stall Place.  Additionally, since Officer Stall’s badge number was 512, the The 512 Fund was established to assist injured officers outside the Boise area who may need to be transported here for emergency medical treatment. 

 

In 2015, the BPD adopted a puppy from the Canyon County Animal Shelter for the purpose of training a mascot.  He was named “Scout” and is handled by Officer Lance Nickerson, who uses him for community events and as a therapy dog for victims and witnesses.

 

Today, the Boise Police Department is made up of about 300 sworn officers and 100 support staff, all dedicated to supporting and working with the Boise community to make it a better place for each and every resident.

 

Posted in Local History
Oct. 22, 2019

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Behind Closed Doors

Welcome back for this month’s Untold Story of a Boise Realtor!  This story is one that I’ve told so many times and remains my most shocking experience yet as a Realtor.  It happened about 6 years ago with clients of mine that are so so so dear.  I ADORE them!  These clients had 5 kids at the time (6 now :) and these sweet kiddos usually joined us when we looked at houses.  Grandma and Grandpa also joined us most of the time.  This particular day we had several houses lined up to see.  I want to say it was at least 5.  When I’m showing houses, I have to line up a tour and make appointments with sellers to show their houses.  So for this day of showings, I had arranged appointments at each of the houses on our list.  We saw a couple and were running behind the schedule that I had arranged, so I was keeping in close touch with the other sellers to let them know we were running late, etc.  The house in question was no different.  I had been in contact with the seller numerous times.  He told me, “No problem! We can be flexible! The house will be ready when you get here. FYI - there is a dog in the back yard.”  Great!  Nothing unusual about any of that. 

We finally arrive at this house - my clients, their 5 kids, and Grandma and Grandpa (I actually don’t remember if G&G were with us on this trip but they usually were).  I access the key from the lockbox and open the door to let us in.  We all pile in and the first door to the left of the entry is closed.  Many houses here in Boise have an office in that location, so Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: Behind Closed DoorsI was pretty sure that was what that door led to.  So I said, “let’s start here in the office” and swung the door open to reveal the office.  At least that’s all I thought I would be revealing.  Instead, we found a very large man, scantily clad laying in a hospital bed!  WAS HE DEAD?  SLEEPING?  Would he wake up and wonder why all 10 of us were in the office with him staring at him with mouths agape?  WHY DID THE SELLER NOT FEEL IT IMPORTANT TO TELL ME THIS MAN WOULD BE IN THE OFFICE?  He seemed to think it was important to tell me there was a dog in the backyard!  The best part, though, is my awesome clients just backed out of the office, shrugged, and went on to see the rest of the house.  It may go without saying, but it wasn’t the house for them :).  Lesson of this story is, as a seller, if you’re harboring a large, partially naked man in your office, PLEASE LET REALTORS KNOW!  I continue to be affected by this showing as I still have a hard time opening closed doors while I am showing houses.  

 

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

 

Posted in Becka Marston
Oct. 22, 2019

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: The Escape Cat

I have so many funny stories that happen to me while I’m working.  Things that I think will make you laugh and brighten your day.  For that reason I have decided write a new category of blog posts--UNTOLD STORIES OF A BOISE REALTOR.  In my posts each month, I will share a funny story from “the field.”  I hope you enjoy it and I hope it makes you chuckle :)

Untold Stories of a Boise Realtor: The Escape CatThe first story happened several years ago when I was showing houses to clients.  Many of you know that I’m not super keen of animals.  They’re cute and all, but I prefer not to have to touch them or have them nearby.  When I show houses I give my clients an MLS listing printout and then I have one for myself that has additional “Agent Remarks.”  These agent remarks often have showing instructions and other notes meant for the agent showing the house.  So this particular day, my clients and I met at this house.  For some reason I hadn’t read the agent remarks all the way through.  I got the key from the lockbox, opened the door, and a cat came shooting out the front door.  I quickly referred to the agent remarks to see if there were specific instructions about the cat.  Sure enough, at the bottom in capital letters, it said “DO NOT LET CAT OUT OF THE HOUSE!”  Are you kidding me?  I looked around and saw the cat at the end of the driveway looking back at me as if it was laughing at me and taunting me to try to catch it.  So I dropped all my stuff and went after the cat as it ran down the street.  Another thing many of you know about me is that I’m not much of a runner.  Well, this cat had me running after it down the street for a block or so.  Thankfully, my clients could tell I needed help so they came to pitch in.  After much effort (and sweat and heavy breathing on my part), we were able to corner the feisty cat.  I grabbed it, held it at arms length as it clawed and screamed, and marched it back home.  I’m sure I looked like a totally professional Realtor during the whole debacle.  But you know what, I got that cat back home!

 

Written by Becka Marston

See more posts by Becka Marston HERE!

 

Posted in Becka Marston
Oct. 18, 2019

The God Who Sees

The God Who Sees

A couple of weeks ago, we visited our friends on the Mountain Home Air Force Base to begin a Bible study with a few of their military friends and neighbors.  I had never been on a base before and enjoyed seeing and learning more about life there from those at the study.  Although joy, smiles, and laughter were shared, the evening carried a heaviness as a few of the families in attendance, including our friends Matt and Rachel, prepared for a hard goodbye and a 6-month deployment. 

As I talked with people about past deployments and listened to Rachel share some of her worries about the months ahead, several of my own emotions and sadness from Luke’s deployment in 2005 flooded my mind.  I remembered the anxiety that settled in my stomach days before Luke left and remained long after he was gone.  I remembered how hard the days leading up to his departure had been and how heart wrenching the final goodbye.  I remembered the unsettling reality that this could be a goodbye for 9 months or a last goodbye until heaven.  And, I remembered the loneliness, the worry, and the growing stream of “what if’s” that ebbed and flowed throughout each day of his being gone.  Deployment is crummy, there’s just no getting around that.  So, when we left the base that night, I just hugged Rachel and cried with her--not knowing what words to say to bring comfort but trusting in our God, who is the King of all comfort, to sustain and care for my friend. 

On the actual day of Matt’s deployment, Rachel and the kids were heavy on my heart.  Since I couldn’t be there in person, I wanted to share an encouraging verse from God’s word. So, I asked for the Lord’s help in finding one.  The words that came to mind were, “God sees!”  I knew this was a truth in the Bible, but I didn’t know the exact story or context. So, I looked it up.  The words comes from Genesis 16:13, “She (Hagar) gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘Truly here I have seen the One who looks after me.’”  You can read the full story of Hagar in Genesis 16.  To summarize, at the time Hagar spoke these words, she was in the desert, knowing she may die but choosing to take the risk rather than returning to her mistress, Sarai, who was treating her harshly out of jealousy for the child Hagar had conceived.  The Lord met Hagar in the wilderness and asked her to return to Abram and Sarai and to the difficult tension that no doubt awaited her.  But, He also gave her hope through His promise of provision of a son and an inheritance, and He gave assurance that He was with her and would care for her. 

This assurance of care and of future hope was a stronghold for Hagar, just as it has been for me and is for my friend Rachel.  How wonderful to know that our God sees us in our suffering—He sees the hurt, the brokenness, the fear, and the tears—and, He does not leave us alone in it.  He enters in and cares for us as He carries us through. By His suffering, death, and resurrection, He has purchased and guaranteed His promise that all those who call on Him will receive the gift of eternal life in a place without suffering, sorrow, or sin.   If you are struggling through something right now and feeling alone, I pray you would let God in to comfort your soul and to give you an even greater understanding of the secure hope, provision, steadfast love, and grace that is available to you through Jesus--our God who sees. 

By Katie Miller

 

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
Sept. 18, 2019

New Rhythm With Less Technology

As the lazy, less structured days of summer give way to a fuller and more bustling fall schedule, Luke and I have been putting some thought into how we want this new “school year” rhythm to look for our family.  Among other questions we’ve wrestled with, we have wondered when will we do homework, what after school activities will we participate in, where will we find the necessary down time, how will we prioritize relationships with each other and with friends and family outside our immediate household?  I imagine this is a challenge for all people, no matter what stage of life.  What things do we say “yes” to and what things do we not?  What people do we invest our time in and what people do we entrust to others?  The challenge of finding a good rhythm often feels daunting and the product of such efforts too easily thwarted.  Yet, we still feel this is a place in our lives where we need to practice intentionality rather than letting whatever unhealthy rhythm may naturally take over.

Though there are many facets to our life’s rhythm we want to consider, a couple of recent books have encouraged us to take a hard look at technology and the depth of the role it plays in the rhythm we are creating for our family.  Technology is awesome, and I’m thankful for so much of it, but the authors of these books exposed many ways in which Luke, the kids, and I have been allowing phones, email, Facebook, tablets, TV, and the like to invade and somewhat take over a few of the more treasured spaces of our lives—such as undistracted time together and meaningful face-to-face conversations. I have all too often used technology like a babysitter for my kids instead of doing the harder but more meaningful work of playing with them, getting to know them, teaching them new things, or helping them learn to resolve inevitable conflicts that can arise as we interact.   Luke and I have wasted too many minutes (or perhaps more like hours) scrolling through the lives of distant acquaintances on Facebook instead of conversing face-to-face with the people with whom we are in daily relationships.  We have been distracted by work emails or texts, which have pulled our attention from the people sitting next to us.  We have seen the kids begin to watch more and more YouTubers explore, create, and play instead of going outside themselves to pursue exploration and adventure.  We’ve seen how these behaviors, if not corrected, could be damaging to us, our kids, and those around us.  So, we are asking for the Lord’s help in booting a few of these bad technology habits out of our family rhythm. 

These changes aren’t easy.  In fact, in the few weeks we’ve been trying to limit the grip technology has on our lives, we’ve found we still fall into the temptation of the easy access and escape it provides.  To name a few examples, we’ve turned on the TV to keep the kids entertained while we fix dinner, gotten lost in our Facebook feeds, and looked at emails or responded to texts when we really didn’t need to. We’ve let the kids watch their favorite YouTube family or turned to our phones for company and entertainment when we felt the slightest hint of boredom or need for a break from reality.  But, we have also experienced some triumph with our new intentionality in trying to keep technology in its proper place.  It has afforded us greater connection, better conversation, more quiet space to think or be available, and has increased opportunities to learn, grow, and resolve conflict with each other, as well as a sweet freedom from being tethered to a phone.   

We know new habits and a new rhythm with less technology may be difficult to form, especially in a world where new technologies and “always everywhere” connectivity is continually expanding.  But, we’re accepting the challenge.  We’re asking the Lord to help us “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of our minds.”  We hope that by experiencing more face-to-face connections and greater opportunities to be truly present with those around us, we may experience “what is good and acceptable and perfect” in the eyes of our relational, loving, and present God (Romans 12:2). Feel free to ask us how it’s going, to join us in the challenge, and to pray for us too =-) 

If you are interested, the two books we read that have encouraged us to make changes to our rhythm and have provided practical help on how to do that are:

  • The Tech Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in its Property Place by Andy Crouch
  •  
  • Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age by Sherry Turkle

 

Posted in Katie Miller
Aug. 18, 2019

No Plan B

I am a planner.  I almost always have a Plan A, and I set my mind toward achieving it.  Often, I will also think up a Plan B or even a Plan C, although disappointment, frustration, and occasional child-like tantrums sometimes ensue if I am forced to move from my seemingly superior Plan A to any plan further down the line.  I like when Plan As work out and prefer when Plan Bs are not needed.  So, perhaps that’s why when I heard someone say, “There are no Plan Bs in God’s kingdom, only Plan A, and God’s good and perfect Plan A cannot be thwarted,” it caused me to pause and flooded me with peace.  I hadn’t really considered this truth much before, but I knew God’s word confirmed it.  Job 42:2 says “I know [Lord] that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Additionally, Psalm 33:10-11 says, “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the people.  But, the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” If His plans cannot be thwarted then there is no need for Him to make Plan Bs.  His Plan A will stand firm forever.  

This truth hit me afresh over the summer as we had the joy of going back to Georgia to spend time with Brooks’ biological mom—a woman who we love and now consider family.  Although there is a tendency in those times to think of myself as Brooks’ “Plan B mom”, God’s words in the verses above reminded me again that it’s not so.  From the beginning of time, long before I was even around to make plans, the Lord chose to write me in as Brooks’ “Plan A mom”. Through my human eyes, it can seem like there were many unplanned events and seemingly thwarted plans that led him to become our son.  But, then I read God’s words and marvel that all the twists and turns and ups and downs are part of the humanly confusing but gloriously perfect road God paved for us.   It was His Plan A from the start for Brooks to have the genetic makeup of his birth mom and his biological father.  It was His Plan A to have Brooks’ first mom carry him, give him life, care for him, and make the loving choice to place him for adoption. And, it was His Plan A to knit Brooks into our family and make me his “Plan A mom” and he my “Plan A son.”        

If today you find yourself feeling confused by the path you are on, frustrated by thwarted plans, or troubled by the thought of being part of an inferior Plan B, I pray you can find peace in the knowledge that there is a Great Planner who knows all, sees all, and has written a beautiful and perfect Plan A, which you are a part of and which will most certainly come to pass.  Though it may feel, as you walk through twists and turns and navigate ups and downs, that your life is chaotic and aimless, I hope you will remember there is a loving God who created you just as He wanted you, who wrote the story of time, and who placed you in it for a specific purpose.  He is working out His loving and perfect Plan A for your life, and His plan cannot be thwarted.  If you want proof of that, just look to the cross.  There, Jesus died to save you and to secure the success of His marvelous Plan A.  Some say, Jesus’ coming was God’s Plan B—His backup plan since we messed up the original plan and forced Him to send Jesus to fix things.   But, this is not so. “This [the cross] is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).  The story of God’s love for us, told through the sacrificial action of Him becoming a man and paying the penalty of death we deserved on our behalf, reveals his true love and character to us in a way that no other story line could. This was part of His perfect Plan A—His “Plan A salvation story” for His “Plan A YOU”!

By Katie Miller

For more blog posts by Katie Miller, click HERE

Posted in Katie Miller
July 29, 2019

Boise Real Estate Market Update June 2019

 

The median home price for Ada County reached a new record high this month coming in at $354,405.  This is a 10% increase from the median price in June of last year and a 7.5% increase from last month!  Although we don’t expect the current pace of price increases to continue at such large percentages, we do expect the trajectory will remain upward.  Included in this e-newsletter is an article with information gathered from reliable sources confirming upward national housing price projections. Reasons for these predictions vary slightly depending on area, but here are a few reasons why we project continued price increases in the Treasure Valley:  

 

  •           There are too few houses to keep up with the number of people looking to buy, especially in the lower price points. With everything our area has to offer, the Treasure Valley continues to attract people from all over the country.  Low interest rates, which equate to lower monthly mortgage payments, continue to attract more people to buy as well.  Both these factors are increasing demand and putting strain on a market with already limited inventory.  This gap between buyer demand and housing supply appears as though it may continue for quite some time, meaning the competition for housing and the price increases such competition fosters will be sticking around for quite some time as well. 

 

  •           The cost of new construction has risen drastically.  With too few existing homes available, there is a high demand for builders to build more.  This creates heavy demand for vacant land, skilled labor, and construction materials.  Since these things are in low supply, prices on such items are rising quickly.  The gap between the demand of builders and the supply of land, labor, and materials is expected to keep construction costs rising well into the foreseeable future. 

 

Increasing housing prices can be both frightening and encouraging at the same time.  If you’d like to talk more about the current market and how it may affect your decisions to buy or sell in the Treasure Valley, please don’t hesitate to call us!  We are familiar with local real estate trends and would love the opportunity to help guide you in your future real estate decisions.  

 

Below are the current Ada County market statistics for May 2019 compared to May 2018:

Existing/Resale...

 

  • Closed sales – 1,091 (down 9.4%) 
  • Median Sales Price - $354,405 (up 10%)
  • Days on the Market - 31 (up 19.2%) 
  • Pending: 1,745 (down 7.7%)
  • Inventory: 1,725 (up 22.2%)
  • Months of Supply: 1.5 (up 25%)

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
  • $160,000 - 199,999: 0.6 month
  • $200,000 - $249,499: 0.3 month
  • $250,000 - $299,999: 0.7 month
  • $300,000 - 399,999: 1.6 months
  • $400,000 - 499,999: 1.9 months
  • $500,000 - $699,999: 1.9 months
  • $700,000 - $999,999: 3.9 months
  • $1,000,000 or more: 8.5 months
Posted in Housing Market