Volume Continues to Drop, Prices Slow to React
First, my apologies. Due to technical issues I was not able to distribute a report last month but should be back on track moving forward. Fortunately, you didn’t miss much and the overall Boise real estate market trend remains the same. Sales volume is slowing and is now below where we were a year ago while prices continue to rise, albeit a tad slower than they were during the frenzy of this past spring and summer. There were 887 closed sales in Ada County in November, 6% below November 2017 and approximately 15% below October. The drop from October is largely seasonal but the year over year drop has occurred in 2 of the last 3 months and appears to be the trend as pending sales were also down 3.7% in November. Meanwhile for the first time in literally years, the number of homes for sale was actually up 5.4% compared to last year. There were 1859 homes listed and at the current rate of sales this is 2.1 months of inventory. While still historically very low it is only the second time in over a year we have had 2 or more months of inventory. Average days on market also ticked up to 35, again still historically low and indicative of a strong seller’s market but slightly above levels we saw this summer.
In talking to other agents and brokers there has been a palpable change in the feel of the market. This is also reflected nationally. For months we have been hearing that some of the nation’s previously hot markets such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland were experiencing a slowdown. This past week the Wall Street Journal reported that a similar shift is occurring in some smaller markets such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tampa. Bidding wars have been replaced by price reductions and inventory which was non-existent a few months ago has in some cases doubled. There are also more and more predictions of a recession in 2019. Fox News (sorry) reported last week that half of US CFOs say a recession, largely trade and tariff driven, will occur in 2019. While this will likely have some effect on housing, in markets like Boise the impact may be somewhat muted by continued in-migration due to quality of life and relative affordability. For more information on the national picture please check out Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner’s 2019 Economic Forecast.
Meanwhile prices in the Boise real estate market continue to go up in double digits. The average price per square foot was $167 in November, up 12.1% versus 2017, but down 2.3% from October. The average sales price was $350K (+13.6%) but this was down about 2% from October. There is some normal seasonal fluctuation in prices so the numbers I would key in on are the year vs year ones. It is also typical for prices to lag behind a shift in volume. In the case of the last big recession, the market shift occurred in 2006 but prices didn’t peak until summer 2007. While in the current scenario prices may not fall much, if at all, the rate of increase has already dropped from the 15-18% per year that we saw this summer to the 12-13% we are seeing now. I still feel anything over 10% is not really sustainable given current wage growth and inflation so if we continue to slow down it may be a good thing for the overall health of the market.
SUMMARY BOISE (ADA COUNTY) MARKET STATS FOR NOVEMBER 2018
*Does not include manufactured homes **see detailed graphs below for more information.
Type # Sold % +/- % of Total Sold # For Sale % +/- % of Total For Sale $/SF % +/- Average Sold Price % +/- Days on Market % +/- Months Inventory
All 887 -6.0 100 1859 +5.4 100 $167 +12.1 $350K +13.6 35 -14.6 2.1
New Construction 241 +15.9 27.2 1010 +14.8 54.3 $172 +5.5 $401K +7.2 50 -24.2 4.2
Canyon County 382 +0.5 100 718 -9.9 100 $139 +20.9 $248K +18.7 29 -32.6 1.9
There are likely many reasons for the market shift that has begun in Boise. The usual culprits are definitely in play here: rising interest rates, prices forcing some buyers out of the market, declining consumer confidence in the national economy. But in our market unemployment is low, wage growth is strong and in-migration continues so the overall effects may be fairly mild compared to some more volatile markets. Still, we are near what I would consider the peak of the current pricing cycle so Buyers may decide to wait for prices to possibly drop while Sellers who have been sitting out may jump in to cash out at the peak. Both those will serve to accelerate the trend—fewer buyers and more inventory. Quite the opposite of what the market has brought the last few years.
Happy Holidays to you all. Please feel free to contact me with your comments and questions.
Windermere Real Estate/Boise Valley
1412 W Idaho St.
Boise, ID 83702