Treasure Valley housing market continues to improve

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by Justin Corr

NWCN.com

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 8:51 AM

BOISE -- The Treasure Valley housing market continues to improve.

"I see steady growth," says real estate expert Chris Lofthus.

But while the housing market is recovering, it's certainly not recovered.

"You talk about that negative equity that people have on their houses," Lofthus said. "Yes, some people are way underwater still. Some people way overpaid in 2005/2006."

We've known for months that total homes sales were rising, but now, the selling prices are rising too, according to the latest MLS numbers. In Ada County, the 2012 median sold price is up $24 thousand over last year. Canyon County is also seeing prices rise; Its median sold price is up $18 thousand over last year.

Lofthus says those numbers show some growth over last year, and he expects it to continue at a four to six percent clip. But he also says those numbers show how many fewer foreclosures and short-sales are now on the market.

"I think a lot of it is market correction, just due to the fact that it was so low," said Lofthus. "And, a lot of the bank-owned properties were given away so cheap."

But, why are there fewer bank-owned properties? And, why are more people buying at higher prices? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says across the nation, low mortgage rates are putting home ownership within reach of more people, and has indicated he'll try to keep them low for the forseeable future.

"I think if they did move, they could really hurt the market," said Lofthus.

But there could be more, specifically, to Boise's markets recovery. Lofthus says national exposure in magazines like Money, Forbes, and Outside is helping drive homebuyers to Southwest Idaho. "We're seeing a lot of people move here... They have their pick of the Pacific Northwest, and we're seeing people pick Boise. Which, I think, is driving the number."

As people here, and around the nation, continue to see their home values rise to what they owe, the influx of out-of-state homebuyers could only increase.

New home sales are already reflecting an influx of buyers from out-of-state. In Ada county, the rate of new home sales is up 36%. In Canyon County, that rate is up more than 50%.

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