Boise Area Home Sales and Prices

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group

In September we saw an increase in closed sales over the year before. It was a situation that the local and national papers heralded as very good news for the troubled housing market. I even heard one local radio real estate show suggest we'd see a strong rebound in October, November, and December. I warned that the number could also be due to the big mortgage stumble in August of 2007. So, how did we come out in October? Did we pass the bottom, or was it just a hiccup?

Ada County home sales for October come in at 409 for Single Family homes (no acreage, condos, mobiles, or townhomes). Last year in October there were 463 sales. That is a 12% drop, and puts us back on the track of declining sales we've been on all year long. The economy is on many minds, and mortgage rates rose a bit at the beginning of the month of November, although they have come back in the last few days. Anecdotally, many agents at the beginning of the month had reported fewer showings and less urgency in their buyer clients. It is a difficult time if you are a seller who has to move, or you're trying to sell a home in a hurry. Plan on being super clean and priced very competitively.

One bright spot in the market is the continuing decline in inventory. Currently there are 4175 Single Family homes on the market in Ada County. Last year at this time there were nearly 4500 active listings. Pending sales are slightly lower this year compared to the number we saw last year, with 457 contracts waiting to close right now. So with inventory declining, pendings remaining firm, and the rate of decline easing up from the beginning of the year is it time to join radio-guy and call the bottom? No. But it isn't the end of the world either. In fact, prices in the Treasure Valley are more affordable than they have been in a couple of years. If you are a buyer, be happy, and go shopping.

If you're a seller though, you need to be aware that we are still considering this a "declining market".  Granted, the Treasure Valley area isn't seeing the same degree of price declines other markets have seen.  According to the Idaho Business Review, our area is showing less than half the decline the National numbers show.  "Nationally, the October median existing-home price is down 17.3 percent from its 2008 high in June, from $215,100 to $183,300, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. In Ada County, prices declined in that same period from a median of $209,900 to $195,400, or just 7.6 percent, according to data from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service."  Other data providers suggest our rate of decline could be as high as 1% per month.

Bottom line if you're a seller?  Believe what your Realtor tells you about the market price your home can be expected to bring today.  The old trick of pricing it a little high and letting the market reach up to get you has not worked in years, yet we continue to see it.  If the goal is to sell the property, and if you really must move on, then price it where it will sell.  There is no magic in this market, and there are no agents who can really sell your property for what it might have gotten last year, or what you "need", or what you "know it's worth".  Meet the market on its terms and you will be successful in selling your home.

Comments (3)


Hey Bill -- In many markets, including San Diego, sales were up over 40% in September, and over 115% on October. I'm not giving much value either way to what happens in Nov/Dec though. By April Fool's Day we should know which way is north on the map though. 

I personally think Boise's sales will be up significantly in the first quarter of '09. 

Nov 29, 2008 09:05 AM
Bev Boeck
My Idaho Place Real Estate, Inc. - Eagle, ID

Question, Bill:

i'm wondering how difficult (or not) it is to deal with Ada County when the house-sells-for-less-than-assessed value phenomena occurs here.  I haven't had an experience yet here, but was wondering if you have; because of a huge drop in value, due to foreclosure or what have you, what it is like getting the county to reassess and drop the taxes down to the rightful value.  What "luck" do potential buyers have in getting this done after they buy?  Going to do some research, and asking other bloggers about this is where I intend to start, so don't mean to put you on the spot.

Feb 01, 2009 11:53 AM
Bill Williams
Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group - Boise, ID

Bev, after they buy I think the buyer simply notifies the county assessor.  The actual sale price will speak volumes.  I've heard of individual homeowners taking their expired listings down for evidence as well.  This won't be immediate, but it should get the adjustment for the next year.  Note, I have not done this myself.

Feb 06, 2009 10:04 AM