The housing market is not calming down
COEUR d’ALENE – It was last year when the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com announced that Coeur d’Alene was the number one real estate market in the country.
Little has changed.
Lake City remains one of the most in-demand places to live in the country and is not expected to get colder this year.
It’s not just about coping with rising prices. This is the challenge of finding a house for sale.
Chad Oakland of Northwest Realty Group has nearly 30 years of real estate experience. He said it’s still a seller’s market and current inventory is the “lowest” he’s seen.
“It’s dark,” he said. “I have people looking for homes, but there’s nothing on the market.”
Oakland actually had to discourage some people from selling their homes because it didn’t know where they could move to.
“Selling your house is not the problem. Where am I sending you? he said.
According to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, there were fewer than 200 active residential listings in December. In a normal market years ago, there were probably over 1,000 homes for sale.
Sarah Kestler, spokesperson for CAR, said that in 2021, 3,510 homes in Kootenai County were sold, down 5.67% from 2020.
The median sale price continued to climb in December to reach $480,000, a 35% increase from December 2020.
“Year-end numbers came in and they continued to break records,” Kestler wrote.
Shoppers are getting less bang for their buck in Coeur d’Alene than they might have been a few years ago.
According to Realtor.com, the current asking price for a 690-square-foot, two-bedroom home in Coeur d’Alene was $359,900. A 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom home was listed at $495,000, while a 1,168-square-foot, one-bedroom home was listed for $549,000.
Bigger houses have higher prices. A 3,160 square foot home was listed at $895,000, while a 2,835 square foot house on 2 acres was listed at $1.3 million.
According to Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage, Coeur d’Alene home prices rose 25.3% in December from a year ago, selling for a median price of $627,000.
“On average, Coeur d’Alene homes sell after 18 days on the market,” he said.
Idaho has lost some shine among those looking to move, according to results from United Van Lines’ 45th Annual National Movers Survey, “indicating that Americans have been moving to low-density areas and grew closer to their family throughout the past year.”
Idaho, which previously had the highest percentage of entries for two straight years, fell to 9th in 2021.
The annual study determined that Vermont was the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration (74%) with United Van Lines. Topping the list of outgoing locations was New Jersey (71%), which has held the spot for four years.
Idaho has a reputation as a state where people love their independence and appreciate their freedom. This reputation has been bolstered by the growth of its economy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, with few regulations regarding vaccines and masks.
Other states have taken different approaches.
Oregon continues to have an indoor mask requirement.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order in October requiring students in kindergarten through 12th grade to get vaccinated.
This has led some to seek to escape such guidelines and make Idaho their next home.
“Warrants make Idaho a little more attractive every day,” Oakland said.
When asked if there were any bargains in the housing market, Oakland said no.
“There is nothing that is a good buy. It’s all expensive now,” he said.
With interest rates expected to rise, this would normally translate into lower property prices. Oakland doesn’t think so because of low inventory and the number of people watching Idaho.
“It’s business 101, supply and demand,” he said.
CAR President Lindsay Allen agreed that even in a generally slower winter housing market, it’s busy.
It’s not what it was a year ago, buyers aren’t as aggressive, and there have been some price cuts, but “it’s still crazy with the competition among buyers.”
Allen continues to receive many calls from people wanting to buy in the area. And she always sees several offers on turnkey homes that are basically nice and clean.
Asked if building new homes would help meet demand, Allen said builders are booked well in advance and for those buying a vacant property, drilling a well could take two years.
Eleven new listings have recently appeared in northern Idaho, but that’s far fewer than needed.
“We’re still in a tough spot right now,” she said.
A recently released housing availability and affordability study for Kootenai County found “many negative impacts” due to rising rents and prices. A few of them:
• Regional employers cannot find accommodation for their employees.
• Potential new businesses cannot relocate to Coeur d’Alene.
• Long-term residents are squeezed out of the market.
“Kootenai County is one of the fastest growing counties in Idaho and Idaho tops the list of fastest growing US states,” the study concluded. “It’s no coincidence that Kootenai County is nationally ranked as having the highest increase in housing prices and rents over the past four years. The county is at a crossroads when it comes to the long-term character of the community.
Oakland said he doesn’t think the housing market can stay the way it is. As a friend told him, “trees don’t grow forever.”
“Something has to happen. We can all agree on that,” Oakland said.