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Chrissy Smith
REALTOR®
(208) 720-2981
Commercial Real Estate Agent
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November
21

Holiday Events Coming to Downtown Meridian

Downtown Meridian

The festive season is on its way, and downtown Meridian is ready to celebrate. Our real estate agents love working in this city thanks to all of the exciting holiday events. There are plenty of these to look forward to in 2022. Here are just a few of the highlights! 

  • Christmas in Meridian Winterlights Parade and Tree Lighting
    On Friday, December 2nd, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, Meridian will be holding its local Christmas parade at the Generations Plaza downtown. This event kicks off with a screening of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on a large projection screen next to the plaza's main stage. After this, the parade will begin its route through old town Meridian, accompanied by performances from the Treasure Valley Children's Theatre along the way. When Santa Claus reaches the end of his trek, he will light up the city's giant Christmas tree to signal the official start of Meridian's Christmas season. Food and hot cocoa will be available at the plaza's food court during the event to help paradegoers stay cozy while they wait for the grand finale.  

  • Downtown Decorating Contest
    Every year, the many businesses of downtown Meridian dress up their storefronts for the city's Downtown Decorating Contest. This beloved tradition gives local entrepreneurs the chance to show off their Christmas spirit and gain some community goodwill, and many of them go all-out to create some truly impressive displays. Every resident can vote for their favorite display on the city's website. This year, voting for the contest opens on Friday, December 2nd, and closes on December 11th. Winners will be announced the day after the voting period ends. 

  • Shop Meridian Downtown Night
    On Thursday, December 8th, from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM, downtown Meridian will host a special outdoor shopping event. Pop-up vendors from all over the city will gather in the streets to sell their wares to the people passing by. You'll be able to pick up one-of-a-kind treasures and gifts from local small businesses, sample some food and treats from the many eateries near our Meridian homes for sale, and even enter the Meridian Chamber's Shop Meridian prize drawing. 

  • Children's Winterland Festival 
    On Saturday, December 10th, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the Boys and Girls Club of Meridian will be hosting its annual Children's Wonderland Festival. Children from all over the community can come to the club building to enjoy games, arts and crafts, and a photo opportunity with Santa himself. This is a free event sponsored by Meridian Parks and Recreation and All American Insurance, so your kids can just show up and start having fun. 

  • The 5th Annual Interfaith Food, Blanket and Toy Drive
    On Sunday, December 11th, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, volunteers will be running Meridian's annual food, blanket, and toy drive in the Vertical View Climbing Gym parking lot. Community members are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items, new unwrapped toys, and new store-bought or homemade blankets to the parking lot. All items go to benefit charities like the Meridian Food Bank and Star Outreach Food Pantry, Toys for Tots, and Blanket the World, as well as various local homeless shelters. 

This small city is full of culture and opportunity all year round. Contact us today to learn more about our Meridian and Boise homes for sale and find out how you can become a part of this exceptional community. 

November
7

Pet-Friendly Adventures in the Boise Area

Boise Pets

If you dread the thought of leaving the house without your dog, you're not alone. Our real estate agents love their pets and are always on the lookout for local adventures to take them on. Our furry friends are part of our families, and so we enjoy spending time outside the house with them whenever possible – even in the winter!

Both you and your furry friends benefit from outdoor exercise all year, so don't let colder weather stop you from exploring. Get that winter gear (for both of you) out of the closet and get outside. From beautiful parks to trails and fenced dog parks, there are tons of options around the Boise area. If you're planning a pet-friendly weekend around town, here are some of our favorite destinations your pup is sure to love:

  • Ann Morrison Park - 1000 S Americana Blvd, Boise, ID 83706
    "Dog Island" is one of the coolest dog parks in the valley! This year-round fido-friendly park includes a 5.4-acre "active" dog area, a fenced "shy dog" area, and, weather permitting, opportunities for your four-legged pal to swim in the surrounding pond. Beginning November 1st, all of Ann Morrison Park is an off-leash area, so if your pup is well-behaved with great recall, grab your "Chuck-It" and head out!
     
  • Kathryn Albertson Park - 1001 S Americana Blvd, Boise, ID 83706
    Just across the street from Ann Morrison lies one of Boise's best parks. Kathryn Albertson Park is the perfect place to take your pup for a peaceful, on-leash stroll. This 41-acre park has beautiful scenery and is very well maintained. You'll find picturesque ponds and greenery that make great photo ops. Plus, you never know what type of local wildlife you'll encounter on your walk. 

  • Morris Hill Dog Park - 10 N Roosevelt St, Boise, ID 83705
    If you want to give your furry friend the opportunity to run around and socialize with other dogs, head over to Morris Hill Dog Park. This off-leash park is about 1 acre and has separate sections for small and large dogs. There are even fire hydrants, agility toys, and a doggie drinking fountain.

  • Boise River Greenbelt - 150 North Capitol Blvd, Boise, ID 83702
    This 25-mile path runs on both sides of the Boise River through Boise and includes many parks to explore. Bundle up, leash your pup, and head out for a great adventure. The Greenbelt Map outlines some of the highlights so you can plan ahead for your journey.

  • Bowler Park - 4403 S Surprise Way, Boise, ID 83716
    A Southeast Boise jewel, Bowler Park includes a 1.25-acre enclosed park and a smaller "shy dog" area. There's a great covered area inside the large area to sit and sip your coffee while your pup plays.

As a reminder, when taking your dog out for an adventure, make sure to keep them on a leash unless the area specifically allows them to be off-leash. Bring water and food if you'll be out for a couple of hours. And don't forget to clean up after them if needed.

Spending a day out on the town with your dog is one of the best ways to unwind and get to know the area. Thankfully, it's easy to do in Boise. Contact us today for more information on the area's local businesses and amenities that your whole family can enjoy. 

October
3

Fall Fun at the Idaho Botanical Garden

Idaho Botanical Garden

Fall brings a fresh crispness to the air here in the Boise area, and the changing leaves make it a great season to spend some time outdoors. In particular, fall is one of our real estate agents' favorite seasons to visit the Idaho Botanical Garden. 

But lovely weather and beautiful foliage aren't the only reasons to visit the gardens this fall. Just like they do every year, the Idaho Botanical Garden is hosting a wide range of fun, family-friendly autumn events and festivities in 2022. Be sure to mark your calendar for these garden events in Boise this fall!

  • Fall Harvest in the Garden (Every Saturday in October)
    You have multiple opportunities to experience Fall Harvest at the Garden this year. Returning every Saturday throughout the month of October, Fall Harvest days include arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, great local craft beer and cider, live music, and a fall plant sale. It's a great way to get into the spirit of the fall season. The events take place from 10 am to 3 pm, and each Saturday's lineup will be different, so don't be shy about catching more than one! Plus, it's all happening just minutes from these Boise homes for sale.

  • Fall Fairy Gardens Workshop (October 16)
    The Idaho Botanical Garden host a wide range of workshops and classes throughout the year. One of the most anticipated this fall is the Fall Fairy Gardens Workshop, taught by Wendy Irwin on October 16 at 10 am. This family workshop invites adult/child teams to work together to create single fairy-sized outdoor fall container gardens. Participants should bring their own containers, but all the soil, plants, and decorations will be provided. Sign-ups will remain open until they reach capacity!

  • Autumn Yoga with Becca Hayes (Every Saturday in October)
    It's hard to imagine anything more restorative than a yoga class amid the outdoor splendor of the Idaho Botanical Garden. You can experience that every Saturday this October as yoga teacher Becca Hayes brings her Autumn Yoga series back for another season! The classes are suited for all levels and include a lot of great foundational poses to build strength and balance. Autumn Yoga takes place from 9:30 to 10:30 am on Saturday mornings in October. 

  • Scarecrow Stroll (October 1 - October 31)
    The Idaho Botanical Garden is open to self-guided tours year-round. But visitors during the month of October will see a decidedly spookier garden than they would in other seasons! It's an annual tradition that the gardens are decorated with dozens of scarecrows throughout the month, adding a splash of autumnal ambiance to the space. This year's Scarecrow Stroll will be on display all through October, featuring scarecrows designed and installed by talented local artists and volunteers. 

  • Fall Harvest Costume Contest on (October 29)
    The final Fall Harvest in the Garden event of the season takes place on Saturday, October 29, and it includes something special: the annual Fall Harvest Costume Contest and Parade. After the regular Fall Harvest happenings have concluded (including live music from Dela Freed), kids and grown-ups alike are invited to dress up in their spookiest or cutest Halloween attire for the Costume Contest. Think of it as practice for Halloween night!

Contact us today to learn more about living life to the fullest through all the changing seasons in Idaho. If you're looking for your dream home, our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find it in Boise and the surrounding areas. 

September
16

Economic Updates from Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

ECB Raised Interest Rates to Highest Levels Since 2011

Although this week contained little new data, the European Central Bank (ECB) raised interest rates to their highest levels since 2011. While investors focused heavily on the ECB announcement, the move failed to cause commotion. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.

ECB Raised Interest Rates by 75 Basis Points

With inflation surging to decade highs, the ECB raised interest rates by a massive 75 basis points. Thus, interest rates achieved their highest levels since 2011. The latest readings showed inflation in the eurozone at an annual rate above 9%. Conclusively, Eurozone inflation far exceeded the target level of the ECB of 2%.

ECB chief Lagarde explained rate increase as a necessary move. Lagarde mentioned that inflation is likely to stay above the target for "an extended period." Furthermore, investors expect additional 50 basis point rate hikes at the next two meetings.

Fed Chair Powell Remains "Strongly Committed" to Inflation Fight

As the ECB raised interest rates, the Federal Reserve continues their inflation battle, too. On Thursday (9/8), Fed Chair Powell repeated that he is "strongly committed" to fighting inflation. He emphasized the importance of reducing inflation. Additionally, Powell intends to lower inflation before the public views higher levels as normal and makes future plans based on it.

According to Powell, Fed officials hope that higher rates bring the strong labor market back into "better balance". Overall, Powell plans reduce outsized wage increases and lessen inflationary pressures. Moving forward, investors anticipate a 75-basis point rate hike at the September 21st meeting.

ISM Reflects Consumer Shift from Goods to Services

Aside from the Federal Reserve messaging and the ECB raising interest rates, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released the most significant economic report this week. In doing so, the ISM provided additional evidence that consumers shifted their spending from goods to services.

The national services sector index rose to 56.9. notably, this index came in stronger than expected. Levels above 50 indicate that the sector is expanding.

Looking Ahead After ECB Raised Interest Rates

After the ECB raised interest rates, investors seek specific Federal Reserve guidance on the pace of future rate hikes and bond portfolio reduction.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

September
19

Explore History at the Idaho State Museum

Idaho State Museum

With more than 500 artifacts in its 80,000 square feet, the Idaho State Museum serves as a living testament to the state's legacy. Our real estate agents love exploring these incredible exhibits found at the museum.

  • Origins
    Learn how the five federally recognized tribes of Idaho play a significant role in the state's past, present, and future. The theater in the Origins gallery turns a spotlight on each tribe's origin story. Other topics examined in the exhibit include Idaho's diverse landscapes and how the tribes shape contemporary land stewardship.

  • Idaho: The Land & Its People
    High-tech activities take visitors on a virtual trip through the spectacular lands that make up our beautiful state in "Idaho: The Land & Its People." Travel from the lush forests and majestic mountains of North and Central Idaho to the stark beauty of the deserts and canyons in South Idaho. Experience the sensation of riding a chairlift up Mt. Baldy or take a virtual bike ride through the streets of Pocatello and Boise.

  • History Explorers Gallery
    Share the thrill of learning with your whole family in the History Explorers Gallery. Be sure to stop by the Penny Arcade and visit Deja Moo, the legendary two-headed calf. Read moving personal recollections from other Idahoans and find out how your family can incorporate history into your own activities. 

ROTATING EXHIBIT

Syringa and Treasures Galleries host rotating exhibits. Some highlight additional artifacts in the museum's collection, while others feature materials on loan from national sources. 

Currently, Treasures Gallery features "The Art of Deco." This distinctive style reached its peak of popularity during the 1920s, but it lives on through the design of structures such as the Empire State Building.

During its heyday, Art Deco influenced the look of everything from clothing to toys, with examples of both on display among more than 40 artifacts. The State Historic Preservation Office has also created a digital StoryMap identifying Art Deco architecture in Boise, including the museum's original façade.

After viewing this exhibit, visitors will have a greater understanding of the iconic style's influence on design around the world. "The Art of Deco" runs through January 14, 2023.

Online Exhibits

The museum's reach extends beyond its physical location. These entertaining exhibits are as close as your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

  • Digital Textile Collection
    Clothing and accessory styles often reveal facets of a particular culture. The museum's Digital Textile Collection makes use of 3D modeling and sophisticated photography techniques to provide previously unattainable views of attire across the ages, from the 1820s until today.

  • Trailblazing Women of Idaho
    Idaho's history is studded with the names of fiercely intelligent and forward-thinking women who made their voices heard. "Trailblazing Women of Idaho" honors the women who have impacted both Idaho and the United States.

The Idaho State Museum is located at 610 Julia Davis Dr., just minutes from Boise homes for sale. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m daily except Sunday when doors open at noon. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for college students with ID, and $5 for ages 6-17.

Create your own history with a wonderful home in Boise. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson for experienced help with all your real estate needs.

September
14

Home Prices Drop as Demand for Housing Cools

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Sellers Respond to Changes in Demand for Housing

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $565,000 in August, down 4.2% from July but 6.6% higher than August 2021. Higher mortgage interest rates and higher home prices have impacted monthly mortgage payments, causing some potential buyers to make budget adjustments, and others to press pause on their home search for the time being.

Home prices in our market are driven by supply and demand. Sellers are responding to the changes in the demand for housing and adjusting their prices according. This has caused the median sales price to come down from its peak of $602,250 in May.

August 2022 Ada County Inventory vs MSP

One factor contributing to lower sold prices is the fact that buyers are typically paying less than list price. The average original list price received for existing homes in August was 94.0%, so on average, buyers paid less than asking through a lower accepted offer, price reductions, or seller concessions. In August 2021, the average original list price received was 99.8%, or just under asking.

While interest rates still pose a challenge, other market conditions have continued to move the right way for buyers — slower price growth, more options, and more time to decide before submitting an offer. Speaking of time, homes that sold in August spent an average of 29 days on the market before having an accepted offer, a much more normal market time compared to the 14 days average in August 2021.

Options abound with 2,374 homes available for purchase at the end of August, allowing buyers who were sidelined when the market was ultra-competitive to resume shopping for their next home. However, the current supply of homes is more nuanced than it appears at first glance.

We're not out of the woods yet when it comes to inventory. Months Supply of Inventory, or MSI, is our best gauge on how well supply is keeping up with demand. MSI jumped up as demand cooled in recent months, but it held steady at 2.8 months in July and August. A balanced market, or one that doesn't favor buyers or sellers, is typically 4-6 months of supply.

So, what does this mean for buyers and sellers?

According to the economists at Realtor.com, fall may be the best time to purchase a home, and this year is looking especially attractive since there are more options available, more time to make decisions, and home prices have trended down.

Homeowners are enjoying record high equity, and despite the recent decrease in home prices, sellers are still receiving great values for their homes. The market has normalized and isn't nearly as competitive as it was in 2020 and 2021, so if you list your home for sale, don't expect bidding wars, offers waiving all contingencies, and the home to go under contract within a few days. However, there are still things you can do to stand out. Ask your real estate agent how they'll market your listing, their expertise on pricing strategy, and what incentives you can offer to attract as many buyers as possible.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

September
6

Boise Fine Dining Options

Boise Fine Dining

If you're about to celebrate an anniversary, milestone birthday, or another special occasion, enjoying some delicious cuisine is a lovely option. Fine dining is as much about the ambiance as it is about the food. Dressing up and pampering yourself really makes the occasion special and memorable. Luckily, Boise has some incredible fine dining restaurants to choose from. Take a break from looking at Boise homes for sale, and enjoy a meal at one of these top spots.

  • Bacquet's Restaurant: 117 E. Winding Creek Dr. #150, Eagle, ID 83616
    Bacquet's Restaurant specializes in French cuisine. The restaurant's chef, Franck Bacquet, grew up in France. The menu changes daily, but it often features favorites like pates au fruits de mer, or seafood pasta. The prime rib French dip is another favorite.

    Bacquet's also has a great wine selection to complement your meal. The ambiance is cozy and elegant, with old-time photos on the walls, white tablecloths, and ornate chandeliers. Plus, it's a short drive from Eagle homes for sale.

  • The Brickyard: 601 Main Street, Boise, ID 83702
    The Brickyard is a great place to visit if you're in the mood for steak. This classic steakhouse offers some wonderful appetizers, such as seared tuna and baked brie. When it comes time to order your entree, you can't go wrong with any of the steaks. The bone-in ribeye is especially indulgent. 

    After dinner, be sure to order an espresso or cappuccino. If you really want a unique experience, visit Friday or Saturday night when the restaurant hosts dueling pianos.

  • Richard's Restaurant & Bar: 500 S. Capitol Boulevard, Boise, ID 83702
    Richard's Restaurant & Bar
    is a fine dining establishment that serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. Their weekend brunch menu includes a selection of cocktails, like the Myrtle Mimosa and Pear Bellini. Dishes like banana bread French toast, and eggs Benedict make for a special meal.

    If you visit Richard's for dinner, you will love the house-made pappardelle. With mushrooms, sugar snap peas, and cream sauce, it's incredibly delicious. The braised leg of lamb is also a favorite. Complete your experience with the tiramisu cheesecake or pistachio ricotta crostata.

  • Capitol Cellars: 110 S. 5th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Capitol Cellars is a wine lover's paradise. They have an incredible wine list with plenty of selections sold by the glass. Their food menu is created to pair well with their wines. You'll find options like Pete's Lamb Chops and The Senator's Prime Rib. For something lighter, try the Re-Elect Ravioli, made with wild mushrooms.

    Capitol Cellars also has a lovely happy hour. They offer 50% off select wines and cocktails. Order a few drinks and a round of The Oval Olives for your group, and you're set for a fun evening.

  • Chandlers: 981 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Located inside Hotel 43, Chandlers is a long-time staple in Boise. The restaurant opened in 1994 and takes pride in serving the best, hand-carved steaks and fresh seafood. They order shellfish directly from Alaska and Hawaii. Jazz musicians take the stage, creating background music 7 nights a week.

    Menu favorites at Chandlers include the USDA Prime New York Steak and the Grass Fed Filet Mignon, which is rubbed with ancho chile powder. Round out your meal with a side of the gouda mac 'n cheese. For dessert, the triple-layer carrot cake and fromage blanc cheesecake are both incredible.

Make sure your evening is extra special, and you don't have to wait long for your table when you make a reservation at one of these restaurants. Whichever restaurant you choose, we hope you have a memorable evening. If you're new to the Boise area and still looking for a place to call home, contact us soon. Our real estate agents would be happy to assist you.

August
15

Get to Know Boise's Breweries

Breweries

Did you know that Idaho leads the United States in barley production? Add to that a #3 ranking in hops production, and it's no surprise that Boise is home to a number of terrific breweries. Raise a glass at these wonderful locations recommended by our real estate agents

  • Cloud 9 Brewery - 1750 W. State St., Boise, ID 83702
    So what is a nanopub? As the first such establishment in Boise, Cloud 9 Brewery produces beer in batches of three barrels or less. This allows for extensive variety, as flavors change as soon as the previous batches are gone. Cloud 9 also uses locally sourced and organic ingredients in their beer and food. The family- and dog-friendly restaurant is known for its decadent mac & cheese, with a number of available add-ins, as well as a rotating selection of creative desserts such as beer-amisu. Cloud 9 is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon - 9 p.m.

  • White Dog Brewing - 705 W. Fulton St., Boise, ID 83702
    White Dog Brewing promotes the philosophy of "fetching the good life." Their unique cans feature pictures inspired by local residents around Boise homes for sale, sharing activities with their precious pooches. A 24-foot frost rail keeps beer flavors such as Blood Orange Hefeweizen, Blackberry Sour, and Vanilla Cream Ale as you relax with Fido and your two-legged friends. Smoke and Thyme, a 40-foot food truck parked outside, provides tasty pub fare such as the Bacon and Beer Burger and the signature White Dog Fries with cheddar gravy, bacon, and chives. Hours are noon - 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon - 6 p.m. Sunday.

  • Powderhaus Brewing Company - 9719 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City, ID 83714
    When you walk into Powderhaus Brewing Company, right down the street from Garden City homes for sale, you'll feel transported to a charming cabin up in the mountains. The ambiance is in keeping with the selection of Alpine-inspired brews, including Snow Blind Hazy IPA and the popular Hot Haus beer. Be sure to try the pickle-flavored Gherkin Gose. Powderhaus has no kitchen, so you're welcome to bring your own food as well as your well-behaved dog. Follow them on Facebook for information about live music events. Hours are 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 7 p.m. Sunday.

  • Barbarian Brewing - 1022 W. Main St., Boise, ID 83702
    Named for the "wild creatures" who discovered an alternative to wine, Barbarian Brewing goes beyond traditional mass-market beers. Their creative, experimental flavors include Watermelon Wheat, Peanut Butter Bits, and Tom & Cherry Sour. Complement your beverage with classic Mexican street food. Dogs are welcome out on the patio, but two-legged visitors must be 21 and over. Barbarian Brewing is open 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday. They also have a second location in Garden City on 32nd Street. Hours for that location are 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.

  • Clairvoyant Brewing Company - 2800 W. Idaho St., Boise, ID 83702
    No need to consult a psychic to find great beer in NW Boise. Family- and dog-friendly Clairvoyant Brewing Company is conveniently located just off the Boise Greenbelt Trail. In addition to their own beers, Clairvoyant is pouring Proletariat Wine and Meriwether Cider. On most evenings, one of Boise's top food trucks can be found right outside. Hours are 3 p.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon - 8 p.m. Sunday.

Find out why Boise is a satisfying mix of trendy and traditional. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to learn more.

August
11

Economic News from Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Unexpectedly Strong Job Gains Across the Board

With the release of last week's Employment report, the United States reported unexpectedly strong job gains across the board. With this stronger than expected economic data, mortgage rates received an unfavorable reaction.

Overall, the key labor market report far exceeded the forecasts. Thus, mortgage rates ended the week higher.

Employment Report Reveals Unexpectedly Strong Job Gains

Every month, the Employment report represents the most highly anticipated data. With Friday's release, the data revealed unexpectedly strong job gains. Against a consensus forecast of 250,000, the economy gained 528,000 jobs in July 2022. Notably, leisure and hospitality displayed the best performance with a gain of 96,000 jobs. Now, the economy holds more jobs than in early 2020, prior to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell from 3.6% to 3.5%. While unemployment fell below the consensus forecast, it also matched the lowest level since 1969. Additionally, investors and analysts look to average hourly earnings for wage growth indications. Overall, the latest average hourly earnings report showed an impressive 5.2% higher than a year ago, well above the consensus forecast.

ISM Reporting Paints Picture of Shifting Consumer Spending

Aside from the unexpectedly strong job gains, the most recent economic indicators from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) painted a picture of shifting consumer spending habits. The national services sector index ended several straight months of declines with an unexpected jump to 56.7, well above the consensus forecast of 54.0.

By contrast, the national manufacturing sector index posted an expected drop to 52.8. Still, levels above 50 indicate sector expansion. Consistent with other recent data, these two reports suggest that consumers are purchasing more services and fewer goods.

Investors Anticipate 75-Basis Point Increase in September

Following news of unexpectedly strong job gains and an expanding National Services Sector Index, investors anticipate another large rate hike in September. Last week, most investors priced in a 50-basis point rate hike. Currently, the majority price in a 75-basis point increase while debating next year's events.

Presently, investors plan for additional rate hikes later this year. Meanwhile, next year should lead to rate cuts as economic growth and inflation decline. Federal Reserve comments suggest that investors price too high a probability of rate cuts next year given the uncertain inflation outlook.

Looking Ahead After Unexpectedly Strong Job Gains

After the unexpectedly strong job gains, investors watch for additional Federal Reserve guidance on the pace of future rate hikes and bond portfolio reduction. Beyond that, they focus on the inflation data.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released on Wednesday. Investors and analysts widely follow CPI for price changes covering a broad range of goods and services. Also, the Producer Price Index (PPI) comes out on Thursday of next week. PPI measures price changes for intermediate goods used to make finished products.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

August
10

Median Home Prices Fall Slightly from June

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Home Prices Adjust to Market Changes

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $589,990 in July, down 0.4% from June but 9.3% higher than July 2021. Buyers who purchased in recent months faced larger monthly mortgage payments due to higher mortgage interest rates and home prices, which has had a cooling effect on the demand for housing. As a result, home price growth and sales have slowed.  

This point is made more obvious when looking the existing/resale segment, which had a median sales price of $549,000 in July, a 3.7% decrease from the previous month, but a 4.6% increase from a year prior. The existing segment can react more quickly to changes in what buyers are willing or able to pay in contrast to new construction which must factor in land, labor, materials, and other fixed costs into the final home price.  

The month-over-month price declines indicate that the local housing market continues to be driven by supply versus demand, not speculation like we experienced over a decade ago. As demand decreases and supply increases, prices are responding accordingly.  

There were 2,408 homes listed for sale at the end of July, a 128.2% increase from July 2021, and the highest level of inventory we've seen since September 2015. Even with the uptick in inventory, the months supply of inventory in July was 2.8 months, meaning, if no additional homes were listed, the supply of homes would run out in about three months. A "balanced" market, or one that does not favor buyers or sellers, is typically between 4-6 months of supply.  

July also marked the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year declines in the number of sales. There were 685 closed home sales last month, down 33.8% compared to July 2021. There have been 5,370 total sales year-to-date, 707 fewer, or 11.6% less, than this time last year.   

Metrics that indicate competition in the market continued to show signs of normalizing in July. Focusing on the existing/resale segment, homes that closed last month spent an average of 21 days on the market before going under contract, compared to 11 days in July 2021. Additionally, the average original list price received for existing homes in July was 95.6%, which means that on average, buyers paid less than asking through a lower accepted offer, price reductions, or seller concessions. In July 2021, the average original list price received was 101.3%, meaning that on average, buyers paid more than asking price.  

Higher mortgage interest rates have done what the Fed intended and cooled demand for housing, which in turn, has also slowed sales and price growth. However, it's important to remember that 2020 and 2021 were out of the norm for our market — we experienced a surge of demand for housing while we had record low inventory, which drove home prices up at a very rapid rate. Today, we're in the midst of a shift to a more normal market, one where bidding wars are less common, buyers have more time and choices, and appraisals and home inspections don't have to be waived in order for an offer to even be considered.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

August
1

Plan Ahead for These Boise Festivals

Boise Festivals

Boise homes for sale are some of the most desirable in the region, and there's something here for everyone. But our real estate agents know that the decision is even bigger than what property you choose. It's about joining a community where you can truly feel at home.

Take a look at everything Boise has to offer, and you'll see yourself living here!

As the capital of Idaho, one of Boise's unique strengths is its busy social calendar. Whether you love music, art, food, or all of the above, downtown Boise is the happening place to be.

Let's check in with some of the most popular summer events:

  • Fridays on 34th Market & Music – 303 East 34th Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    Fridays on 34th Market & Music is a recurring local event that takes place on Fridays near Garden City homes for sale. A recent innovation by the community's active downtown boosters and others, it has already become a local mainstay that attracts families every week. Summer hours run from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and there's always new food and music to appreciate. It runs from June all the way through November and will always be found at 34th Street Market.
  • Idaho Halloween & Horror Film Festival – Red Lion Boise Downtowner – 1800 West Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83702
    Idaho Halloween & Horror Film Festival is now celebrating its second year. Awards will be presented for a variety of categories spotlighting the original work of local filmmakers. Horror, thriller, suspense, and science fiction entries are accepted. Last year was a breakout success that has been lauded as friendly, fun, and a terrific networking opportunity for both fans and filmmakers. Celebrate horror films when the festival is in town from August 12 through 14. 

  • Boise Soul Food Festival – 700 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, ID 83702
    Another winner slated to brighten Julia Davis Park, Boise Soul Food Festival will return on Saturday, August 13 this year. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., people from all around Boise will have the chance to savor delicious meals from top local brands and competing culinary masters. You can shop for local food, arts and crafts, and much more while you enjoy live music. There will also be cultural workshops discussing more of the history and traditions behind the fun. It is sure to be a great time!

  • Boise Water Lantern Festival – 700 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, ID 83702
    Taking place within Boise's delightful Julia Davis Park, Boise Water Lantern Festival has been voted the #1 festival in the local area. Attendees will be provided with an LED candle and have the opportunity to float their own paper lantern, complete with their wishes for health and happiness. The festival area is attended by local food trucks and performers, and the water will be fully cleaned up after the event. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 27.

  • Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic 2022 – 1000 South Americana Boulevard, Boise, ID 83706
    Found in Ann Morrison Park every year since 1991, Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic 2022 is one of the Boise area's most successful and beloved family events. Tourists and locals alike gather together to see soaring balloons and hear inspiring music. Launches begin early, typically around 7 a.m., assuming the weather cooperates. By mid-day, dozens of balloons will be gliding over Boise's historic landmarks. Events are scheduled from Wednesday through Sunday, August 31 through September 4.

Contact us to find out more about all Boise has to offer.

July
15

For the Third Time, CB Scores Top in Agent Satisfaction

Coldwell Banker Scores First in Agent Satisfaction. Again.

Confucius said, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." 

The real estate professionals across the Coldwell Banker brand are passionate about their industry – and about their brand. For the third time, Coldwell Banker Real Estate ranked #1 in agent satisfaction in the annual "Agent Priorities" report conducted by Quester.

Designed to keep what's important to agents top of mind, the report zeroes in on topics such as work/life balance, brand image, support, tools, and culture. Knowing what makes an agent more likely to stay with a company is a key component in what brokerages can do to foster positive work environments and grow their agents' businesses.

On a local level, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson combines the strength of the national tools with additional services designed to help our Realtors® list, sell, and learn.

Full-time managing brokers are in place to provide immediate assistance. Offices are staffed with Agent Services Experts (ASEs) to help with marketing, paperwork, and training. A company-wide marketing team is in place to create campaigns that support current market trends, listing types, and services.

With continuing education an important aspect of any business, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson offers in-house classes, regular lunch 'n' learn trainings, continuing education at no cost, and national certifications and classes.

To read the results of the report, visit the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

July
14

Strong Job Gains in June

 

 

More than 350k Jobs Added to the Economy in June

Job Gains were better than predicted despite a consensus forecast of just 250,000, the economy added 372,000 jobs in June. This growth is right in line with the gains seen over the last few months. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.  This is just above the lowest level since 1969. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, were an impressive 5.1% higher than a year ago. Although it was down from an even larger annual rate of increase of 5.3% last month.

Job Gains Show Labor Market Strength

The JOLTS report measures job openings and labor turnover rates. The latest JOLTS report indicated that the labor market remains very tight. At the end of May, there were a massive 11.3 million job openings. This is down a little from the record high in March, but over 4 million more than in January 2020 prior to the pandemic.

There were 1.9 job openings for every unemployed worker. High level of openings reflects a strong labor market, as companies struggle to hire enough workers with the necessary skills. A very large number of employees also willingly left their jobs in January. This signals strength in the labor market. Workers usually quit only if they expect that they can find better jobs.

Job Gains Grew as Did Mortgage Rates

Job gains may mean a stronger labor market, but not necessarily a stronger economy. The minutes from the June 15 Fed meeting released last Wednesday significantly contained no surprises. To help the economy recover from the pandemic, the Fed put in place extremely loose policy measures. With the recent surge in inflation, officials have begun to tighten. The minutes confirmed that fighting inflation is the primary goal now.

Aggressive rate hikes likely will continue, even at the risk of slowing the economy. When the federal funds rate has climbed to a more "neutral" level, meaning it neither boosts nor restrains economic growth. Moreover, officials will evaluate whether to continue tightening to a restrictive stance. The minutes emphasized that the Fed wants to prevent expectations for a long cycle of higher prices from becoming "entrenched."

Looking A Head at Inflation & Retail Sales

Looking ahead, job gains aren't the only thing investors are keeping an eye on. They will continue to look for additional Fed guidance. Investors are keeping an eye on the pace of future rate hikes and bond portfolio reduction. Beyond that, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), was released on Wednesday. CPI is a monthly inflation indicator that looks at price changes for a range of goods and services. Retail Sales will come out on Friday, a key indicator of the health of the economy. Consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

July
13

Cooling Demand Slows Home Price Growth

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Median Sales Prices Drop Slightly in June

After passing the $600,000 mark in May 2022, the median sales price for homes in Ada County dropped to $592,090 in June. This was 12.8% higher compared to the same month a year ago. Since 2005, the average year-over-year percent change in home prices in Ada County has been 8.1%.

MSP and Percent Chg YOY - June 2022

The incredible price growth we've seen since the onset of the pandemic was fueled by a rapid increase in demand for housing as people transitioned to remote work, the continued household formation of millennials, and historically low mortgage interest rates. With an already undersupplied housing market prior to the pandemic, prices shot up as demand outpaced supply.

We've seen the buyer pool shrink due to higher mortgage rates and home prices. Cooling demand has given inventory a chance to catch up a bit, giving the remaining buyers more options.

There were 2,135 homes available for sale at the end of June, a 192.9% increase from June 2021, and the highest inventory we've seen since September 2016. Even with the welcome inventory gains, the months supply of inventory in June was 2.4 months. A "balanced" market, or a market that does not favor buyers or sellers, is typically between 4-6 months of supply.

Metrics that indicate competition in the market continued to show signs of normalizing. Focusing on the existing/resale segment, homes that closed last month spent an average of 14 days on the market before going under contract, compared to 10 days in June 2021. Additionally, the average original list price received for existing homes in June was 98.4%, which means that on average, buyers paid less than asking through a lower accepted offer, price reductions, or seller concessions. In June 2021, the average original list price received was 103.9%, which means on average, buyers paid more than the asking price.

The housing market conditions we experienced for the last two years were unique. Historically low inventory, coupled with rampant demand, resulted in above-average price growth and a highly competitive market. The changes we're seeing in price growth, inventory, and slower market times is moving us toward a more normal market — one where bidding wars are the exception and not the rule, and buyers aren't having to make split-second decisions and waive contingencies for their offer to even be considered.

Sales also continued to lag in June. There were 818 closed home sales last month, down 16.0% compared to June 2021, and the fourth month of consecutive year-over-year declines.

As the market shifts, sellers may have to adjust their expectations slightly. Offers may not fly in within the hour or first day you list, and your home may not sell for over list price. This isn't necessarily a bad thing — in fact, it may make your experience less stressful, and sellers are still receiving great value for their homes. Your best bet for selling in today's market is to price your home appropriately, based on the relevant data, comparables, and expertise offered by your real estate agent, and then allow your agent to market your home on the multiple listing service to reach the widest audience possible.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

July
18

Western Idaho Fair: What to Expect in 2022

Western Idaho Fair

Since 1897, the Western Idaho Fair has been summer's main event near Boise homes for sale. Find out why our real estate agents expect that this year's version, appropriately dubbed "The Big Social," will once again be the highlight of the season.

History of the Fair

Around the turn of the 20th century, Boise was relatively isolated from other cities. The Intermountain Fair was designed as a way for the communities to connect, as Boise showcased their strong agricultural foundation.

In 1936, Ada County appointed a fair board to oversee what was now known as the Western Idaho Fair. The event expanded with the times to include carnival rides and games.

While the fair has generated an increase in local business, financial troubles caused sporadic closings over the years. Since the mid-1980s, the Western Idaho Fair has been entirely self-supporting, with no taxpayer funding. Today, as the fair celebrates 125 years, more than a quarter of a million people attend annually.

Acts and Attractions

From animal exhibits to strolling violinists, the fair features entertainment appealing to all ages and interests. Here's a look at some of the most anticipated attractions:

  • 4-H and Future Farmers of America are staging show competitions for a wide range of animals, from horses to guinea pigs (or cava). There will also be a number of educational seminars and displays, such as "Alpaca 101" and the Mobile Dairy Classroom.

  • What's a fair without motorsports? Adrenaline junkies can get their fill at the Octane Addiction shows, featuring top freestyle riders on snowmobiles, motorcycles, and quads. Little ones can join the fun with the kids' pedal tractor races.

  • Are you the BBQ master in your family? How far can you toss a 3.5-pound skillet? You can also show off your skills and win prizes in myriad categories including flower arranging, cake baking, umbrella decorating, photography, and more. Spend time wandering through the exhibition buildings to view hundreds of displays, crafts, and art.

  • Once again, a full selection of carnival rides and games will be on hand for everyone, whether you're a daredevil or you prefer tamer thrills.

  • Fair food is the stuff of legends, and the eats at the Western Idaho Fair lead the pack. The award-winning Idaho ice cream potato was named to the "50 Best Fair Foods" list by Food Network. Other mouthwatering treats include hand-dipped Party Pups, onion blooms, turkey legs, and deep-fried Snickers.

  • Strolling entertainers keep you amused as you wait in line for rides or stop for a refreshment break. Watch for violinists, clowns, and Robocars that are real-life Transformers.

Grandstand Shows

Plan to enjoy big-name concerts during fair week. Admission is included with your fair ticket. Seating is first-come, first-served.

  • Chris Janson: Monday, August 22

  • Ja Rule and Ashanti: Tuesday, August 23

  • Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: Wednesday, August 24

  • Stone Temple Pilots: Thursday, August 25

  • Billy Currington: Friday, August 26

All shows start at 7:30 p.m.

Dates and Information

  • The 2022 Western Idaho Fair runs from Friday, August 19, through Sunday, August 28.

  • Gates open at 11 a.m. on weekends and noon on weekdays. Closing time is 11 p.m. except on the final day, which ends at 9 p.m.

  • Adult admission is $10 in advance and $12 at the gate, while kids aged 6-11 are $8 and $9, respectively. Carnival wristbands for all ages are $30 and $35. Combo packs are $70 and $150 and may be purchased in advance only.

  • Enjoy free admission from noon - 2 p.m. on opening day with a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Idaho Foodbank.

  • Expo Idaho fairgrounds are located at 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City, ID 83714.

Life in Boise is full of fun and tradition. If you're buying or selling a home, contact us.

July
5

Theater in Boise: Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Boise Shakespeare

The theater is alive and well in Boise! Every summer, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival presents classics in a beautiful setting that's only a stone's throw from the Boise River, and the 2022 season is no exception. 

A typical season for the festival includes five or six productions, each shown multiple times between June and September in a spectacular outdoor amphitheater. As always, our real estate agents are excited to see what the Idaho Shakespeare Festival has in store for us this summer. 

About the Venue

Located just minutes from these Boise homes for sale, Idaho Shakespeare Festival events take place at a beautiful outdoor amphitheater surrounded by a wooded habitat reserve. It's a state-of-the-art facility that was designed to naturally amplify the human voice. 

The Amphitheater seats 770, but there's also a spacious general-admission lawn area overlooking the stage. General admission patrons are welcome to bring picnic blankets and lawn chairs. There is also an option to reserve a specific tableside spot with a chair already set up. 

Attendees are welcome to bring their own food and drink as well. The on-site Café Shakespeare also offers a wide range of refreshments, including gourmet deli items, picnic dinners, desserts, and beverage options, including beer and wine.

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has been going strong since 1977, and attendance over the course of a season often exceeds 50,000 people. After being forced to cancel the season due to COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021, we're thrilled to welcome the festival back for 2022!

Idaho Shakespeare Festival 2022 Season

The Idaho Shakespeare Festival presents a different slate of stage productions every season, and contrary to what some may expect, it's not all Shakespeare! As is usually the case, this season includes some of the Bard's most well-known works, along with several more modern plays.

The 2022 season began with an amazing and now-concluded run of Shakespeare's classic, Much Ado About Nothing. But that was just the beginning! Be sure to catch these upcoming shows (and check out the festival's official calendar for more details): 

  • Ain't Misbehavin' (June 17- July 9) - Showcasing the show-stopping music of legendary jazz musician Thomas "Fats" Waller, this Tony award-winning musical features five actors performing some of Waller's greatest songs.

  • Romeo and Juliet (July 15- 30) - Arguably the most famous of William Shakespeare's many classic works, this tale of love and loss between two star-crossed lovers from rival families has resonated with audiences across centuries. 

  • Little Shop of Horrors (August 5- 27) - A classic musical comedy, Little Shop of Horrors, revolves around a florist whose chance for success and romance comes with the help of a giant man-eating plant.

  • The 39 Steps (September 2-25) - One of the most exciting entries into the 2022 lineup, this fast-paced whodunit packs in both laughter and thrills and has been described as Alfred Hitchcock meets Monty Python!

Whichever shows you choose to attend, be sure to get your seat early. Most dates include pre-show events such as live music and beer or wine tastings, which are not to be missed! Check their website for any schedule changes due to Covid.

Boise has earned a reputation as a hub for arts and culture, and the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is just the tip of the iceberg. Contact us today to learn more about life in Idaho, and be sure to ask our real estate agents about finding your dream home in Boise and the surrounding areas. 

June
20

Where to Order Huckleberry Dishes in Boise

Boise Huckleberry

The huckleberry is a versatile Idaho food that locals seek all year round in a variety of dishes – and our real estate agents want to introduce you to this local treat.

As the state fruit of Idaho, you can find a number of restaurants that use real, locally grown huckleberries in their dishes near Boise homes for sale. Not only that but greenhouses and garden centers throughout Idaho often have mature huckleberry plants that you can transplant right into your own backyard.

Let's check in with some of the places where you can sample this beloved berry:

  • Brunchette – 7135 West State Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    Not far from Garden City homes for sale, you'll find Brunchette, a place where you can enjoy brunch all day long. Known for its wide variety of specialty coffee drinks, handcrafted cocktails, and breakfast delights like "Benedict's Avocado Toast," Brunchette reinvents the mid-morning meal by using local, ethically sourced ingredients from small vendors and farmers throughout the region. You won't want to miss out on huckleberry pancakes!

  • Trillium – 245 South Capitol Boulevard, Boise, ID 83702
    Trillium astounds with its free valet parking and a chef-led menu that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner from local, sustainable ingredients. Acclaimed for both "The Best Sandwich in Idaho" and "The Best Meatloaf in Idaho," among others, you can find Trillium on the lavish grounds of The Grove Hotel. There is also a full bar, and guests of the hotel can order from it directly for room service. Huckleberries are available fresh (in season) and in a variety of desserts.

  • Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery – 610 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Bardenay Restaurant & Distillery bills itself as "the nation's first restaurant and distillery" and lives up to that reputation with its sterling service and inventive menu. Lunch and dinner provide everything one could want, including appetizers, satays, tacos, soup and salad combos, sandwiches, burgers, and a full range of entrees. There's even a dedicated kids' menu bursting with flavorful favorites for the little ones. Try the seasonal huckleberry compote with fresh fruits and greens.

  • Boise Pie Co. – 1216 North Orchard Street, Boise, ID 83706
    With a cheerful offer to "let us cook dinner for you," Boise Pie Co. is a leading name when it comes to the classic Idaho huckleberry pie. On top of the mouthwatering array of pies, you can also savor samples from the on-site bakeshop. Fresh treats are baked daily – the earlier you arrive, the better! Cheesecakes, cupcakes, bars, muffins, cobblers, crisps, and more are waiting for your visit. It should come as no surprise that huckleberry pie is a favorite here, but it is also used as a flavoring for cakes, tarts, and other baked goods.

  • The Brickyard – 601 Main Street, Boise, ID 83702
    The Brickyard is the vision of master chef Drew Leger, a Boise native who was educated at the BSU School of Culinary Arts. Since 2011, he has been offering fine cuisine at the restaurant, where even the appetizers have a distinct gourmet spin. From starters like parmesan truffle fries, seared tuna, and oysters Rockefeller to mains such as filet mignon, herb-crusted lamb chops, and elk tenderloin, The Brickyard creates a memorable culinary experience. Depending on the season, you can find huckleberries incorporated into salads, entrees, small-plate appetizers, and fresh desserts baked on site.

  • Delsa's Homemade Ice Cream & Restaurant 7923 West Ustick Road, Boise, ID 83704
    There's something extra special about homemade ice cream during the hot summer months. And at Delsa's Homemade Ice Cream & Restaurant, you can enjoy a satisfying meal finished off with their locally made ice cream, still produced in small batches using Delsa Walton's original recipe from 1961. There might not be anything better than a fresh huckleberry shake, or dish of huckleberry ice cream made the old-fashioned way!

The local cuisine is just one of the many perks of living in the Boise area. Contact us to find out more about what Boise has in store.

June
15

Financial News from Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

High Inflation Leads to Reduced Mortgage Applications

In recent months, high inflation (and higher mortgage rates) took a large toll on mortgage application volumes. Now, they've dropped to the lowest levels in 22 years. The rate hike has been implemented to fight against high inflation. According to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), average 30-year fixed rates rose 2.0% higher year over year.

Purchase applications are down 21% from last year at this time. Applications to refinance a loan have plunged a shocking 75% from one year ago. This year, MBA forecasts total mortgage originations to decline over 35% lower than last year. Analysts attribute this to the massive decline in refinancing.

High Inflation

Inflation remained the focus for investors this week, and the latest readings came in stronger than expected, at or near the highest levels in decades. The European Central Bank also revealed a more aggressive stance to fight inflation. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week higher.

As an inflation indicator, Consumer Price Index (CPI) looks at price changes for a broad range of goods and services. Core CPI excludes the volatile food and energy components and provides a clearer picture of the longer-term trend. In May, Core CPI increased 6.0% higher than a year ago. As a result, Core CPI decreased from an annual rate of increase of 6.2% last month. However, CPI hovers far above the readings around 2.0% seen early in 2021.

Supply & Demand & Inflation

As the economy has steadily recovered from the pandemic, strong consumer demand, supply constraints, and surging commodity prices have pushed prices much higher for a wide range of goods and services. The conflict in Ukraine and the recent shutdowns in China due to COVID-19 have worsened shortages for many key items.

Over time, supply chain disruptions will ease, and Fed tightening will reduce the pressures from high inflation, but it is not clear how quickly this will occur.

European Interest Rates

At its meeting on Thursday (6/9), the European Central Bank (ECB) announced that it intends to raise interest rates by 25-basis points at its next meeting in July. It also plans to hike rates again in September by either 25 or 50-basis points depending on whether prices show signs of easing by then.

One primary reason for its monetary policy tightening is that inflation in the eurozone reached a record high in May. The ECB also significantly raised its forecast for annual inflation for 2022 from 5.1% to 6.8%. 

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

June
14

Doers of Good: Featuring NeighborWorks Boise

DOERS OF GOOD: PAINT THE TOWN

For 40 years, NeighborWorks Boise has been helping our senior, veteran, and disabled neighbors by painting their homes. 40 years. Over 3,300 homes. More than 11,000 volunteers.

We're proud to feature NeighborWorks and Paint the Town as our June Doers of Good recipients. Joining teams of volunteers painting homes across the valley, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson agents and staff made their Saturday morning all about sprucing up the home of a neighbor in need in NW Boise. From drab to dazzling, the home has a shiny new look, the homeowner is thrilled, and our team is pleased, knowing they did something good for our community and had some fun in the process.

Team leader and CBT Boise office manager, Danielle Cullip, says, "I love leading PTT because I am able to bring the CBT team together to help someone in our community that is needing it. Together we increase the homeowner's property value and brighten up not only their homes but their smiles as well."

To Danielle, "being a Doer of Good means I have the opportunity to help within my community. I am able to lend a hand to those that need it, and hopefully make a small difference in their lives."

She encourages everyone to get involved on some level, however they can. To that end, she says, "Even though the Paint the Town event is over for 2022, NeighborWorks Boise focuses all year to address the housing needs in our valley. From affordable rentals to their Homebuyer Education Program and homebuyer counseling, neighborhood revitalization, and pocket neighborhoods, NWB is a critical member of our community."

To help or donate, contact NeighborWorks Boise at https://nwboise.org/.

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

June
10

Ada County Home Prices Up, Sales Down in May

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Ada County Home Prices Rose Again in May

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached $602,250 in May 2022, an increase of 16.1% compared to the same month last year, and a new record for the county.

As we saw in March and April, higher prices in the new construction segment contributed to the overall price jump. New home sales made up 28.2% of all sales in May with a median sales price of $639,105, up 17.5% from last year. Home prices also rose to a new record in the existing segment with a median sales price of $586,750, a gain of 16.0% over last year.

There were 894 closed home sales in May 2022, a decrease of 5.8% compared to May 2021, and the third month of consecutive year-over-year declines.

While continued price growth is somewhat puzzling when national economists are predicting a slowdown in prices and sales due to higher mortgage rates and home prices, the data is also beginning to show signs of a shift when it comes to pending sales or properties with an accepted offer that are expected to close within 30-60 days.

In Ada County, there were 1,446 pending sales in May, down 12.7% compared to the same month a year ago. Pending sales have declined year-over-year each month since May 2021.

"Pending contracts are telling, as they better reflect the timelier impact from higher mortgage rates than do closings," said Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. Referring to the national sales data as a whole, Dr. Yun noted that, "The latest contract signings mark six consecutive months of declines and are at the slowest pace in nearly a decade."

Competition in the market waned some compared to a year ago. Existing homes that closed last month spent an average of 11 days on the market, compared to eight days in May 2021. Additionally, 50.7% of buyers paid over list price, resulting in an average original list price received of 100.9% for existing/resale homes in May 2022, compared to 105.0% in May 2021.

Agents are used to fielding questions about what's happening in the market, and today's market is no exception. Higher rates, price growth, and economic uncertainty are top of mind. but prospective buyers will have more options than have been available in over two years because of the increases in housing inventory we've seen in recent months. On the flip side, sellers have continued to receive great values for their homes.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

June
6

Summer Baseball and Softball Games Throughout Boise

Boise Baseball
Summer is just around the corner, and our real estate agents are ready to play ball!

If your search for Boise homes for sale brings you to the area during the summer, you're sure to hear about the busy athletic scene. In addition to home games played by our Boise Hawks, there are plenty of athletic clubs and leagues all across Boise. These cater to kids, teens, and adult players of varying skill levels.

Whether you want to spectate, play, or volunteer to support local sports, it's easy to get involved. Let's learn all about summer games in Boise!

Watch the Boise Hawks this Summer

There's nothing like spending a summer evening out on the baseball diamond. And while playing is fun, there's also a lot of enjoyment in watching talented athletes play America's Favorite Pastime. Our local Boise Hawks play their home games at Memorial Stadium in Garden City. With a capacity of 3,452 baseball fans, the stadium hosts many fun evenings throughout the summer that the whole family will enjoy.

Check out their full 2022 summer schedule to find a date that fits your family's schedule. Besides the fun a baseball game has to offer, there are promotional evenings, that add an extra layer to an already memorable night. These include "Fireworks Fridays", Hawks' Kids Club on Sunday games, and Tuesdays is Bark in the Park (where yes you can bring your canine friend along!). 

Youth Baseball and Softball Leagues

Have a budding baseball talent in your family? Throughout the Valley, there are a number of leagues that your child will love playing in during the summer months.

With options available in the North Boise, West Boise, South Boise, Ada, and Nampa areas, you're sure to find an option close to home that'll help your baseball player improve and grow their skills. These leagues are great ways to meet new people and to get to know more about Boise area parks. Research the closest option for your family.

Adult Softball Leagues from Boise Parks and Recreation

Adults, don't feel left out – Boise also has plenty of athletic opportunities for you, too! If you're raring for adult softball action, Boise Parks and Recreation is here to help with its schedule of weeknight adult softball leagues for players at all levels. Registration is offered by team only.

With the typical registration season taking place June 3-24, Gold and Senior Season games are played between July 25 and October 7, while Sunday Season games are held between July 31 and October 9. Players may register even if they are not from the Boise area (for a slightly increased fee.)

If you are a prospective player who is not yet affiliated with a team, all is not lost. You can call Boise Parks and Recreation directly at (208) 608-7651 to be placed on a pick-up player list that established teams will consult. Remember that adult softball games are subject to rain delays and cancellations!

Visit City of Boise Parks and Recreation for the latest rules and schedule.

Ready to get in on the action? Contact us to learn more about Boise real estate.

May
10

Upward Climb Continues: Another Record for Ada County

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Ada County Home Prices Set Another Record

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached $595,000 in April 2022, an increase of 23.9% compared to the same month last year, and a new record for the county.

Higher prices in the new construction segment played a large part in the overall price jump. New home sales made up nearly a third of all sales in April with a median sales price of $645,000, up 36.7% from last year. However, home prices rose across the board, with the median sales price for existing/resale homes reaching $570,000, a gain of 16.9% over last year. These were record highs for both segments.

Mortgage rates also rose in April, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average reaching 5.1% at the end of the month, according to data from Freddie Mac. National economists have predicted that the increase in mortgage rates will eventually slow the market, but we haven't seen a price slowdown in our local sales data yet. It's important to remember that homes that closed in April likely went under contract in February and March, so we may not see the immediate impact of rates on prices for a few months. Pending sales, or those with an accepted offer that are expected to close in the next 30-60 days, may provide a better indication of how rates are affecting our market at this time.

There were 1,525 pending sales at the end of the month, a 12.1% decline from April 2021, and 815 total sales for the county in April, down 17.0% year-over-year. The existing/resale segment claimed 586 of those sales, which was a drop of 12.3% compared to last year. Higher home prices, coupled with higher mortgage rates, which results in higher monthly payments for buyers who are financing a home purchase, may be hampering sales.

Looking specifically at existing/resale sales data in April, 53.2% of buyers paid over list price, indicating that competition remained strong, particularly at the median and lower price points. While it may seem obvious, it means nearly half of all buyers did not pay over list, resulting in an average original list price received of 101.0% for existing/resale homes in April 2022, compared to 104.9% in April 2021.

Buyers may be discouraged by increasing rates and prices, but there is some good news — in April, inventory increased by 170.0% compared to the same month last year. While supply is still constrained, especially at the lower price points, more year-over-year inventory is a sign we may be seeing a shift to a more balanced market.

There is some uncertainty as to how inflation, higher mortgage rates, and other economic factors will affect the residential housing market; however, REALTORS® understand that each homeowner and buyer's situation is unique, and help their clients make decisions based on factors that are within their control.

Whether you're ready to buy today or would like to purchase within the next two, five, or even ten years, work with trusted advisors to make a plan to reach your goals. Taking important steps today, such as improving your credit, researching down payment programs, and saving for your down payment in a tax-sheltered savings account can really make a difference when you're ready to make a move.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE

May
2

Idaho Grown: Boise Wineries and Shops

Boise Shops

When you're looking at Boise homes for sale, there's a lot to take in. The beautiful neighborhoods, strong local economy, and terrific dining will keep your calendar full. But there's one untold story of Idaho that's only just starting to get attention: Its vibrant local wine scene.

Our real estate agents are proud to share that after many years of hard work, the Boise Valley area has recently received its wine appellation designation. This means Boise Valley joins the Napa Valley and a host of other world-famous locales in being a legally determined and protected wine region.

Such a designation can only be conferred when recognized wine experts determine the flavor of the local wine grapes is truly distinct and unique to the area's soil. This has led to an explosion of dryer vintages in the Boise Valley, while sweeter vintages incorporate quality grapes from elsewhere.

However you look at it, Boise's wine scene is on its way to a whole new level!

And there are plenty of ways to enjoy it right now with Boise wineries and shops selling the fantastic locally made wine:

  • Cinder Wines – 107 East 44th Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    Dedicated to the prospect that the Snake River Valley will be "America's Next Great Wine Region," Cinder Wines welcomes reservations or walk-ins at its tasting room. Named for the volcanic cinder beneath many local vineyards, it is perhaps best known for its "Queen of White Wines." It's one of a dazzling assortment of quality wine shops near Garden City homes for sale.

  • Telaya Wine Co – 240 East 32nd Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    Telaya Wine Co will energize you with a variety of seating options (patio and inside) and its handcrafted selection of Idaho and Washington wines. From a humble beginning of just 50 cases back in 2008, it is now one of the names to watch in Boise wines.

  • Hat Ranch Winery – 15343 Plum Road, Caldwell, ID 83607
    Hat Ranch Winery is a producer of classic Idaho wines such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, dry Moscato, and many more. House vintages dating back to 2018 are still available for both visitors and online orders. Established in 2011, Hat Ranch is now cheered for its monthly wine club.

  • Sunnyslope Wine Trail – 106 South Kimball Avenue, Caldwell, ID, 83605
    Sunnyslope Wine Trail is an opportunity to launch a journey into Idaho wine country just minutes from Caldwell homes for sale. Those who embark on the trail will have the opportunity to sample the wares of more than a dozen wineries located in Caldwell and the nearby towns of Sunnyslope and Kuna.

  • Huston Vineyards – 16473 Chicken Dinner Road, Caldwell, ID 83607
    Open all year long for visitors from near and far, Huston Vineyards is the vision of owners Mary and Gregg Alger. It is well-loved for its handcrafted wine varietals and its many events – such as World Malbec Day, "Farm to Table" dining specials, and the Barrel Tasting Weekend.

  • 3100 Cellars – 240 East 32nd Street, Garden City, ID 83714
    3100 Cellars has been praised by visitors for both its incredible wines and its idyllic setting. One of the newer names on the Boise wine scene, 3100 benefits from all-new facilities that are a delight to see up close. Its sparkling wines are "a tribute" to the 3,100 miles of whitewater throughout its home state.

Just like the wine from its region, Boise is truly one-of-a-kind. Contact us to find out more about what Boise has to offer.

April
26

Doers of Good: Benefiting The Women & Children's Alliance

Doer of Good: Abigail Gibson

The Coldwell Banker Tomlinson #DoersOfGood program is designed to shine a light on the givers in our real estate family, and, by doing so, encourage others in our community to help wherever they can.

We were pleased to wrap up April by telling you a bit more about our #CBTDenimDay efforts to help The Women's and Children's Alliance in Boise. Throughout the month, sold #CBTDenimDay buttons to our agents and staff in an effort to raise money and awareness for the WCA.

Abigail Gibson, a Realtor® in our Meridian office, has been a volunteer at the WCA for many years and suggested we make Denim Day the focus for our April #DoersOfGood program to assist worthy organizations in our community. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Denim Day is designed as a visible means of protest against victim-blaming and sexual violence. The WCA works to both protect and assist those in abusive situations and educate the public about how to stop the cycle.

"I have had the privilege of volunteering for years," Abigail explains. This has resulted in "many memorable hours spent, showing the change I want to see in our community! The second chance that these women and children can have through the WCA...for a fresh start in life and the opportunity to raise their children with the morals, values, grace, unconditional love, kindness."

The WCA has a rich history in our valley. Since 1910, the WCA has provided safe housing for women and children. In the last 40 years, the focus has been narrowed to provide shelter and supportive services to individuals impacted by domestic violence and/or sexual assault. These services are provided at no cost and span a four-county (Ada-Canyon-Elmore-Boise) service area representing 30% of the population of the state of Idaho.

Since its founding, the WCA's crisis program has evolved into one of the most vital, unduplicated, comprehensive programs in our community and region. The WCA has been at the forefront of providing services to women, men, and their children healing from domestic abuse and sexual assault. Providing safe places for women and children to live has always been at the core of their mission.

Abigail says, "It's difficult to see such need for the resources that the WCA provide, yet incredibly rewarding to see the women share their personal stories of recovery and a fresh start through the fundraising that I have been able to assist in. I loved that they were able to open a second shelter along with dedicating a purple ribbon police car to Ada County!"

The work done by the WCA, their volunteers, and our community will, Abigail believes, "result in such positive change for our future generations."

To learn more, or to donate to the WCA, visit www.wcaboise.org.  

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

April
19

Home Prices Continue to Rise

From our Friends at Boise Regional REALTORS®

Ada County Home Prices Reach Another New High in March

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached $575,000 in March 2022, an increase of 22.6% compared to the same month last year, and a new record for the county.

This jump was driven primarily by the new construction segment — accounting for nearly a third of all sales in March — which saw a median sales price of $606,050, up 31.5% from last year. The median sales price for existing/resale homes was up 16.7%, reaching $555,000.

Many economists are predicting that the increase in mortgage rates will eventually temper home prices, but it's hard to say to what extent, and if inventory will still remain the biggest factor in local home prices.

Fortunately, inventory has been increasing in recent weeks, with levels up 103.1% from the same time last year. More inventory is definitely good news for buyers, but they will need to make quick decisions once they find something they're interested in since supply is still constrained.

The number of days on market for existing homes dropped to 15 days, on average, in March, down 34.8% from February. The 15-day average is the lowest since late last summer, which may be a sign that the spring market will once again be competitive.

Whether due to limits on affordability or willingness among buyers, existing homes that closed in March didn't sell for quite as much over list price as they did last year.

The percent of original list price received on homes in March 2022 was 100.8%, on average, compared to 104.1% in March of 2021. Another interesting finding was that fewer existing homes sold over list price this year than last year, with the share dropping from 58.7% in March of 2021 to 41.3% in March of 2022.

At first glance, it may seem odd that home prices have gone up so significantly when, on average, buyers are paying close to asking price. However, it's important to note how list prices are set. When a similar home sells, it can become a "comparable" property for future listings nearby; so, as homes appreciate, future asking prices tend to rise as well.

But the list price is just a starting point. Sometimes buyers pay more, and sometimes they pay less. Ultimately, a home sells for what the market determines its worth.

Although it may be tempting for sellers to price their home lower than what comparable data indicates to encourage multiple offers, it's important to remember that pricing low doesn't guarantee a bidding war and may not always be in the seller's best interest. On the other hand, setting an asking price that's higher than what comparable data supports may exclude a seller's property from some search results, potentially reducing the pool of prospective buyers. Using MLS data and market experience, a REALTOR® will provide you with a pricing and marketing strategy that's right for each property and situation.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE

April
18

Visit the Idaho Botanical Garden This Spring

Botanical Garden

The Idaho Botanical Garden is more than just a garden. This 33-acre space is also a living museum, a youth education center, an event venue, and a cultural hub in the heart of Boise. With the spring wildflowers in full bloom, now is one of the best times to visit the garden.

Spring is a great season to visit the Idaho Botanical Garden, and our real estate agents are here to be your tour guides! These are just a few of the can't-miss sights and events you should catch at the Idaho Botanical Garden this season: 

  • Garden Tours
    Exploring the rich plant life at the Idaho Botanical Garden is always a great way to spend a day in Boise. Visitors can take a self-guided tour any day of the week between 9 am and 5 pm. It usually takes 60 to 90 minutes to stroll through the grounds and see all the major features, but you may be tempted to linger in many of the themed garden areas. Guided Tours are also available for groups of 10 or more and can be planned in advance by reservation. The gardens are located on Old Penitentiary Road in Boise, just minutes from many Boise homes for sale.

  • Summer Concert Series
    Some of the most exciting events of the year at the Idaho Botanical Garden take place during the Outlaw Field Summer Concert Series. Outlaw Field is the large outdoor live music and event space at the Idaho Botanical Garden, and it hosts a wide range of live performances throughout the summer months. Upcoming concerts to look forward to in 2022 include Lord Huron (May 29), Ween (June 28), and the Avett Brothers (July 12). 

  • Classes and Workshops
    If you've ever wanted to learn more about nature and develop your own green thumb, the Idaho Botanical Garden is a great place to do so. Workshops and Classes are available at the garden throughout the calendar year, offering learners of all ages unique opportunities to acquire skills ranging from growing vegetables and arranging spring wildflowers to bird identification and plant photography. Upcoming offerings change with the seasons, so be sure to check the Idaho Botanical Garden's events calendar to see what's coming up!

  • Garden Sculpture & Art
    The Idaho Botanical Garden is as much an art gallery as it is a garden, and you'll find one-of-a-kind sculptures and art scattered throughout its landscape. Some of the most fascinating are the salvaged scrap metal sculptures of Dr. Maximilian Kaslo, which are located throughout the garden. All told, there are dozens of artworks scattered across the garden, representing more than 15 individual artists. 

  • Youth Learning Opportunities
    Few things are more gratifying than visiting the Idaho Botanical Garden with kids and watching them learn and explore as they develop their relationship with the natural world. There are always exciting Learning Opportunities for Kids at the Idaho Botanical Garden, including garden play dates, field trips, and week-long summer nature camps. Registration is still open for this summer's nature camps, which include themes like "Outback Idaho," "Pollinator Patrol," and "Garden Explorers."

When it comes to exploring all the opportunities Boise has to offer, the Idaho Botanical Garden is just the tip of the iceberg. Contact us today to learn more about exploring Boise and talk to our real estate agents about finding your dream home in Idaho. 

April
12

Get Your Denim On for a Purpose

#CBTDenimDay

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It's a difficult topic, no question.

 

Removing the stigma surrounding sexual assault and abuse, bringing the conversation to the forefront and out of the shadows, educating, speaking out, ending victim-blaming, and supporting survivors are the best defenses. So much has been done, with so much more to do.

It's worthy of our time. Of everyone's time. Here at CBT, we decided to act on one of our mottos – BE BOLD – and do what we can to help. For our April #DoersOfGood campaign, we're taking the message to all our offices and asking our Realtors®, staff, and managers to come together to support organizations in our areas who work hard to assist women in our local communities. We've asked them to purchase a #CBTDenimDay button, donate gently used professional clothing, and wear their jeans on April 27th, the 24th annual National Denim Day. 100% of the funds raised in each region, along with additional funds from CBT, will be donated to the corresponding organizations listed below. Clothing donations will stay local, as well. 

Denim Day grew out of an Italian Supreme Court decision overturning a rape conviction of an 18-year-old girl because she was wearing tight jeans. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day is a visible means of protest against victim-blaming and sexual violence.

The organizations we are coming together to support are:

Boise area:

Women's and Children's Alliance, www.wcaboise.com

Spokane area:

YWCA – Our Sister's Closet, www.ywcaspokane.org

Tri-Cities area:

Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin Counties, www.dvsbf.org

Lewiston/Moscow/Pullman:

Lewiston YWCA, ywcaidaho.org
Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, www.atvp.org

Idaho Falls area:

The Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Center, www.dvsacac.org

To help, the ask is simple: wear your jeans on April 27th and speak out. To learn about more ways you can help – or if you need assistance, visit one of the sites above.

April
4

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

DIY Products for Spring Cleaning

Sometimes it seems there is no end to house cleaning, and while there is no clear-cut answer for how to keep your home perfectly clean at all times, it might be surprising just how much you can do with a little baking soda and white vinegar.

Spot Cleaner for Carpet

  • After cleaning up any excess spill, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda or cornstarch. Let stand for 10 minutes and then vacuum.
  • Mix one tablespoon clear dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
  • Using a white cloth, blot the stain with the vinegar solution.
  • Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Oven Cleaner

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Coat the oven (or just the dirty parts) with the paste and let stand overnight. Be sure to avoid the heating elements and bare metal.
  • Use a plastic spatula to remove the paste. (Wear rubber gloves.)
  • Wipe away any residue with a clean, wet sponge.

Grout Cleaners

  • Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of white vinegar and water and generously spray the tile/grout. Let sit about five minutes.
  • Scrub area with a grout brush, or even a toothbrush.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • If stains are more stubborn, mix a paste of baking soda and water and using your grout brush, work it into the grout.
  • Immediately follow with the vinegar spray. This should cause the baking soda paste to bubble.
  • Use your brush to finish cleaning.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • For mold or mildewed grout, hydrogen peroxide is a gem. Spray it on the stain, let sit for a few minutes, and then scrub with your grout brush. You can even mix baking soda and hydrogen peroxide into a paste for a stronger clean. Apply the paste to the grout lines, wait a few minutes, scrub and then rinse with water.
  • NOTE: Do not apply vinegar to grout that has not been properly sealed.

Showerhead Cleaner

  • Carefully mix 1/3 cup baking soda with 1 cup white vinegar in a plastic bag.
  • Place the bag over the showerhead, submerging the head in the mixture; secure bag with rubber band or twist-tie.
  • Let soak for at least 3 hours.
  • Wipe clean.

 Window Cleaner

  • Mix together in a spray bottle: ¼ cup vinegar, ½ tsp natural liquid soap, and 2 cups water. Shake to blend.
  • Spray on windows and use newspaper to rub dry & clean, avoiding the window frames (newspaper can leave dark marks on the frames).

April
4

5 Boise Yoga Studios to Visit

Boise Yoga Studios

Yoga is a great way to take care of both your body and your mind at the same time. Whether you're a beginner wanting to try it out to see if yoga suits your needs, or you're an advanced student looking for a place to fine-tune your skills, Boise has some great yoga studios. 

Our real estate agents know that there is so much to love about living in the Boise area, thanks to the area's many small businesses! Be sure to stop by one of these local yoga studios. 

  1. Yoga for Wellness, LLC - 1175 East Parkcenter Boulevard, Boise, ID 83706
    If you're looking for a yoga studio that specializes in restorative yoga, Yoga for Wellness, LLC is for you. This Boise studio offers yoga classes that are accessible for different skill levels and beneficial for everyone. Choose from Nidra, therapeutic, chair yoga, slow flow yoga, and more, all under the supervision of a studio director who carries an Integrative Restoration Institute certification in meditation instruction. Need a break from your busy life? Yoga for Wellness also offers yoga retreats.

  2. Yoga Tree of Boise - 1674 West Hill Road, Boise, ID 83702
    Yoga Tree of Boise is a unique studio that is close to many Boise homes for sale and is truly a part of the community, as they provide classes for a range of skill levels, host local events, foster education, and hold yoga workshops. Their all-level classes include traditional yoga, such as restorative, yin, and slow flow, but also some specialized and fun classes, like yoga barre, rock 'n' flow yoga, and of course, yoga for the kiddos.

  3. 28th Street Barre - 1602 North 28th Street, Boise, ID 83703
    Not sure traditional yoga is for you? Check out 28th Street Barre. This unique yoga studio mixes yoga with music, dance, barre, and pilates for a full-body workout that's never boring. Choose from various classes that range from more traditional, such as yoga flow, to unique options such as Power Party Sculpt and Deep Dance Experience.

  4. Dash Aerial Yoga - 819 West Idaho Street, Boise, ID 83702 
    Speaking of something different, be sure to check out Dash Aerial Yoga. This aerial yoga studio gives you the chance to practice your yoga in a wholly unique way: while suspended in the air from a silk hammock. Dash Aerial Yoga offers a variety of classes suitable for a range of yoga skill levels, and no prior aerial experience is required.

  5. Zen Riot Yoga & Wellness Studio - 5333 Franklin Road, Boise, ID 83705
    Offering a variety of class types, you are sure to find a class for your schedule and to improve your yoga practice at Zen Riot Yoga & Wellness Studio. Whether you opt for a relaxing restorative class or a class to improve flexibility and strength, the instructors at this studio are here to help. Besides their usual class schedule, keep an eye out for their yoga retreats and yoga teacher training.

No matter which studio you choose, yoga is a great way to relax, find peace, have fun, and get in touch with your community. To start the search for your dream home in one of Boise's neighborhoods, contact us today.

March
21

As Seen on TV: Boise Restaurants

If you've been looking at Boise homes for sale, you've certainly noticed that so many of them are found near great restaurants. Our real estate agents love to have the opportunity to introduce our clients to some of the best bites in Boise. In certain cases, they have already heard of them – from TV!

Yes, if you watch shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Food Paradise, or Drinking Made Easy, then odds are good you've already visited the Boise restaurant scene. There are many different kinds of cuisine in Boise, and just about anything you might desire is represented.

Let's drop in on some of the Boise dining spots that have achieved fame on TV:

  1. Big Jud's – 1289 South Protest Road, Boise, ID 83706
    Making its debut television appearance on Man vs. Food, Big Jud's is best known for the "Double Big Jud," consisting of two robust 1-pound burger patties stacked on one another and then smothered with an array of toppings, including multiple different kinds of cheese.

  2. Lulu's Fine Pizza & Sushi – 2594 North Bogus Basin Road, Boise, ID 83702
    Another Man vs. Food favorite, Lulu's Fine Pizza & Sushi, stands out for the "Demon's Delight Spicy Sushi Challenge" that was undertaken in a 2018 episode. In addition to dozens of rolls, pizzeria favorites like pasta, calzones, and salad are all ready and waiting for you here.

  3. Leku Ona – 117 South 6th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Leku Ona bills itself as the leading Basque food restaurant in Boise and appeared on an episode of Drinking Made Easy. The name means "Good Place," and it is located within Boise's beautiful Basque Block. In addition to a full Basque menu, it offers banquet services for individuals and organizations.

  4. Bittercreek Alehouse – 246 North 8th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Bittercreek Alehouse serves locally sourced pub fare alongside a wide range of microbrews on draft. Burgers, sandwiches, fries, poutine, curds, soups, and salad will help you enjoy dozens of different beverage options. Don't miss out on the Friday special tuna melt or the handmade desserts.

  5. Chandlers Prime Steaks & Fine Seafood – 981 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702
    For high-end dining in Boise, Chandlers Prime Steaks & Fine Seafood is in a class by itself. On the grounds of Hotel 43, its appearance on Drinking Made Easy introduced the world to the "10-Minute Martini." Using special convection action, this signature beverage is neither shaken nor stirred.

  6. Bacon – 121 North 9th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Coming to the national audience courtesy of Food Paradise, Bacon is a restaurant wholly dedicated to one of America's favorite foods. Founded in 2011 with John Berryhill's original Berryhill Bacon recipe, it offers bacon lasagna, bacon burgers, bacon shots, and just about anything else you can imagine.

  7. Boise Fry Company – 204 North Capitol Boulevard, Boise, ID 83702
    As seen on multiple different television shows, Boise Fry Company is the place to go to experience the beloved Idaho potato at its best. Those potatoes from M&M Heath Farms in Buhl are fried up in natural, GMO-free sunflower seed oil and decked out in your choice of house seasonings and sauces.

Contact us to find out more about Boise, ID real estate. We look forward to helping you soon.

March
9

Doers of Good: Practice Kindness Every Day

Extending Random Acts of Kindness Day

Random Acts of Kindness Day was last month, and many of our agents and staff marked the day by making an extra effort to help others. Rather than spotlighting a specific charity or cause in March, we asked, why can't this be every day? If each of us did one small thing to help a neighbor, a stranger, a co-worker, regardless of the day, think about the ripples of good that would spread throughout our communities!

On February 17th, National Random Acts of Kindness Day, agents and staff here at CBT surprised neighbors with yard cleanup, trash pick-up, and groceries. They paid for coffee and food orders for those behind them in the drive-through. One purchased lunch for a group of law enforcement officers in a restaurant. Still others opened doors, complimented clothing, and put shopping carts away.

Small or large, monetary or not, little kindnesses can change someone's moment, day, and, yes, life. Challenge yourself and those around you to do something randomly kind, not only one day a year, but every day.

We'd love to hear about your random acts of kindness! Share in the comments. Who knows what good you will inspire!

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

March
7

Treasures Abound in Garden City

Boise Garden City

There's no place quite like Garden City, Idaho. An independent community that's almost entirely surrounded by Boise, Garden City is a haven for artists and creatives. Our real estate agents never tire of exploring this unique place. 

Garden City is located along the Boise River, a stone's throw from many Boise homes for sale. Its main stretch, Chinden Boulevard, is lined with independent wineries, craft breweries, art galleries, studio spaces, and shops. 

Not incorporated as a city until 1967, the area has a varied past. A farming community in the late 1800s, the village was rich with lush Chinese gardens, a feature that ultimately led to the name Garden City. In fact, Chinden Boulevard is a portmanteau of "Chinese" and "garden." In 1949, county commissioners approved its incorporation so a group of Boise businessmen could build an "amusement center," a not-so-veiled wish to create gambling establishments along the Boulevard. Gambling had been banned within Boise's city limits, so moving it to Garden City seemed the perfect plan.

When gambling was declared illegal under the Idaho Constitution, Garden City's leaders relaxed building codes and welcomed new businesses, regardless of their desirability, leading to the nickname "Saturday Night Town." Fortunately, by the 1980s, efforts to develop new housing and take advantage of the beauty surrounding the Boise River began to take shape. Now, Garden City is the perfect place for a stroll along the river, stopping for coffee or a wine tasting.

Use the official Garden City Artisans' Pathway Map as your guide to this one-of-a-kind arts community, and be sure to stop in at some of these unique businesses in Garden City: 

  • Visual Arts Collective - 3638 Osage St, Garden City, ID 83714
    One of Garden City's premier art galleries and venues, Visual Arts Collective is a vibrant space where you can experience almost any genre or medium of art. From fine art exhibitions and film screenings to live music and theater performances, Visual Arts Collective is always presenting something new and exciting. 

  • Powderhaus Brewing Company - 9719 W Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID 83714
    There are a lot of great breweries in Garden City, but few as universally acclaimed as Powderhaus Brewing Company. Perhaps best known for their Haus Session Ale and First Turns IPA, Powderhaus Brewing is constantly brewing new and creative seasonal releases inspired by the mountains. Their taproom in Garden City is a great place to sample some of their outstanding brews. Live music takes place most Friday nights, and there's a farmers market at the brewery on Saturdays. 

  • Audio Lab - 3638 Osage St, Garden City, ID 83714
    One of Idaho's most accomplished and technologically advanced recording studios, Audio Lab has a long and storied history of producing great records from big-name artists. But they also regularly host live in-studio music performances, offering the public an amazing opportunity to come and experience live music in this unique space. 

  • Push & Pour - 214 E 34th St, Garden City, ID 83714
    You'd have a hard time finding a better cup of coffee to start your day with than the one you'll get at Push & Pour. This local coffee shop roasts their own beans in-house at their Garden City location, and they make some of the most impeccably-crafted pour-overs, espresso drinks, and cold brews around. Push & Pour also offers some tasty breakfast fare, including vegan and gluten-free options. 

  • Boise River Greenbelt - 698 E 42nd St, Garden City, ID 83714
    The Boise River Greenbelt stretches 25 miles along the banks of its namesake river, providing an amazing resource for hiking and biking in the area. It cuts straight through Garden City, offering great views and a convenient walking path to and from many local businesses nearby. It also passes through several parks, including Boise Whitewater Park. If you get a little hungry on your walk, stop off at the Greenbelt Market for a bite to eat and a drink. 

  • Telaya Wine Co. - 240 E 32nd St, Garden City, ID 83714
    One of several outstanding Garden City wineries, Telaya Wine Co. is located footsteps away from the Boise River and the Boise River Greenbelt. They got started in 2008 and have grown by leaps and bounds since their first year, in which they produced their inaugural batch of 50 cases. Telaya's wines are made from grapes grown in Idaho and Washington, and you can enjoy tastings, wine by the glass, and bottles to-go from their Garden City tasting room. 

Contact us today to learn more about life in Boise, Garden City, and the surrounding areas. Our real estate agents are dedicated to helping you find your dream home in Idaho. 

February
21

Why Tech Companies Love Boise

Boise Tech

While our real estate agents have always known that Boise is a fantastic spot to call home, tech companies are increasingly turning to Boise to set up their operations. The influx of tech companies to Boise began more than a decade ago and has only increased in recent years. Here are just a few of the reasons that tech companies are flocking to Boise.

  • Boise Has Business-Friendly Policies
    The policies in Boise make it an affordable place for businesses to operate or set up a new company. There are multiple business-friendly laws that help companies lower their expenses. The corporate tax rate is lower than most cities, and Boise has one of the lowest energy costs in the nation. Access to cheap energy is a huge perk for companies that depend on energy-intensive technology. Many Idaho businesses also qualify for property tax exemptions.
  • Boise Offers a Low Cost of Living
    Boise living expenses are a relief for individuals who are used to dealing with a much higher cost of living in other popular tech towns. Even though home values have increased in recent years, property in Boise is affordable when compared to prices in other large cities. When you're shopping for Boise homes for sale, you'll notice that property taxes for potential homes are also affordable and won't erode the money that you save by purchasing a home in a city with a lower cost of living. This makes Boise an attractive city for tech workers who are tired of exorbitant housing costs and high taxes. Utility bills, construction costs, and operating expenses are also cheaper for Boise businesses than the costs in other comparable towns. 
  • Boise is Centrally Located to Multiple Tech Hubs
    Boise is located in close proximity to other cities popular with businesses. Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver, and Phoenix are only a short plane ride away. A central location allows tech companies to take advantage of Boise's low costs without sacrificing a quick connection to hubs and supplies in other cities. 
  • Boise Has an Educated Population
    Practically all of Boise's students graduate high school, and almost half of Boise's residents have a bachelor's degree. Boise State University is Idaho's second-largest university with more than 20,000 students. This means that Boise has a large pool of educated workers for tech companies to hire. 
  • Boise is a Fantastic Place to Live
    There's a lifestyle and culture in Boise that other cities want to replicate. Boise boasts extensive natural beauty, including wide, clear blue skies, peaceful forests, and picturesque lakes. The streets are walkable, and the city offers a high quality of life. With over 100 parks, a bustling downtown area, lots of playgrounds, and museums, Boise offers a small-town atmosphere with big-city amenities. Companies and potential employees find Boise an attractive place to live and are often more than happy to relocate. 

There's so much to love about living and working in the Boise area. Ready to start looking for your Boise home? Contact us to begin your search!

February
15

Doers of Good: Featuring The Idaho Humane Society

Doers of Good: Leah and Dave Morgan

The Coldwell Banker Tomlinson #DoersOfGood program is designed to shine a light on the givers in our real estate family, and, by doing so, encourage others in our community to help wherever they can.

Our February #DoersOfGood are a very special couple who have made it their mission to support animals in need. Leah and Dave Morgan, Realtors® and leaders of The Morgan Team at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson, work with the Idaho Humane Society doing whatever they can to help.  Leah provided this first-person account:

We have a long-time history of service AND loving animals and like many people, got especially involved when our daughter wanted to get involved as well.  We started with the Idaho Humane Society by fostering animals (cats and dogs) and started helping with the IDAPI (Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho) where we helped bridge the gap between the now-trained dog "graduating" and the family introduction.  It is amazing to see a dog have a purpose, be well trained, AND become a family member! 

As we fostered dogs and cats, sometimes just for a few weeks while meeting possible new owners/family members and helping the dog have good manners with some light training and learning their "issues" and showing them kindness and some structure, we could literally SEE dogs learn they were safe and were going to be treated well. 

On occasion, we would get a call for an entire litter of kittens and their mama who needed a spot until the kittens were old enough to adopt.  We created the "cat" room in our house so we could quarantine them in their own comfy space.  In most instances, we loved every animal and loved the process of helping them find their furever families. When we didn't have fosters, we were happy to just go walk the dogs at the shelter! 

One particular cat that we fostered, an all-black cat, was not cuddly, wouldn't let us or anyone hold him, and over and over the families that came to meet him passed him by. He was very well behaved and rarely would get on the furniture, etc.  By month 13 of fostering him, we knew his quirks and decided to just adopt him ourselves.  That VERY night, he crawled up on the end of the bed and purred loudly – he KNEW he was home!  It turned out that he was our 13th foster animal, and we renamed him Sirius Black since he was much more like a dog!

We continue to support the Idaho Humane Society by doing the annual See Spot Walk, donating, and fostering whenever possible.  There are so many needs and areas the Humane Society can use our help – from doing laundry at the shelters to delivering supplies, fostering, and of course, adopting a new family member to make your home even more complete! I hope you consider making a donation to them today!

The Humane Society is solely run on volunteer efforts, donations, and fundraisers. The largest fundraiser is See Spot Walk.  We've been donating and participating almost every year since 2009 (and twice while on vacation!).  Donations help tremendously, not just money but things like towels, blankets, food, and supplies, and most importantly time walking the dogs, doing laundry, cleaning cages, sending info, staffing the front desk, delivering items, and fostering, to name just a few. 

When you think how much a furry friend completes the home and family for nearly 75% of Idahoans, it's no wonder the need is so great. 

Coldwell Banker fosters a culture of giving, knowing we are more than real estate agents and that community is in our nature. Being a "Doer of Good" and sharing #CBGoodNews reach far beyond real estate. This is the "good stuff" in life, why we want to give in multiple "causes" and believe that we all can make a difference beyond our expertise of buying and selling real estate. We are only as strong as our community, so it behooves us all to do everything we can.

 

To learn about The Idaho Humane Society and explore all the ways you can help, please visit https://idahohumanesociety.org/.

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

February
15

Increase in Home Prices Slowed in January

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

Home Prices Rise but Rate of Growth Slowed in January

In January 2022, the median sales price for homes in Ada County was $540,000, an increase of 20.0% compared to January 2021, but a slight decrease of 1.1% from the month before.

While the actual median sales price continues to trend upwards, the rate at which it does so has been slowing in recent months. Throughout 2019, we saw fairly steady price growth, and in December 2020, it jumped above 20% year-over-year, reaching a peak of 45.3% in May 2021.

Since then, price growth has slowed, landing at 20.0% in January 2022 — by no means an insignificant year-over-year change, especially for prospective home sellers, but a welcome reprieve from the higher gains we saw last year, especially for prospective homebuyers.

Home price increases continued to be driven by insufficient supply compared to buyer demand — primarily fueled by population growth, migration trends, and increased purchase power due to historically low mortgage rates. The most recent uptick in demand came from people re-thinking how they live and work as a result of the pandemic, contributing to the competitive conditions that enabled the incredible price growth we've seen in the last year.

The metric used to illustrate the supply vs. demand relationship is Months Supply of Inventory (MSI), which takes the number of homes for sale divided by the average number of sales by month for the preceding 12 months. As of January 2022, Ada County was at just 0.3 months for existing homes and 1.0 month for new construction, meaning, if no additional homes were listed, the supply of homes would run out in a matter of weeks. A balanced market — not favoring buyers or sellers — is typically between 4-6 months of supply.

Even though buyer demand has been outpacing supply, weekly listing activity in 2022 has trended up, indicating that an increasing number of homeowners were ready to sell and cash in on the equity their homes have acquired over the last few years.

Listing activity in 2022 has so far been higher than the same period in 2021, but actual weekly listings were down compared to 2019 and pre-pandemic 2020. We'll be watching to see if future weekly listings of existing homes match or exceed those in previous years.

With low, but increasing, inventory, will we continue to see the fast market pace and multiple offer scenarios experienced in 2021? We can't say for sure, but so far Days on Market (DOM), the metric that measures the time between when a property is listed and when it has an accepted offer, has increased and normalized for existing homes.

Days on market for existing homes reached 33 days in January 2022, 18 days longer than in January 2021 and more in line with pre-pandemic levels in early 2020. This is good news for buyers as they may have a bit more time to make decisions and may not feel the need to waive contingencies when writing offers.

Additionally, the Percent of Original List Price Received for existing homes that sold in January 2022 was 97.3%, meaning that, on average, buyers paid less than asking through a lower accepted offer and/or seller concessions. In contrast, the Percent of Original List Price Received for existing home sales in January 2021 was 103.6%, indicating that, on average, buyers were paying more than asking price for homes.

It's hard to say whether these longer, healthier market times were due to increasing prices, increasing mortgage rates, or some combination of the two. While competition may have begun ramping up again, one thing is for sure — our market needs more inventory in order to be more balanced. Homeowners who are considering selling are encouraged to talk to a REALTOR® right away to learn more about thier options. With the appreciation in home prices, there may be more equity than a seller might think.

Other notable statistics from January 2022:

  • The median sales price for existing homes in January 2022 was $515,100, 18.4% higher than in January 2021. The median sales price for new construction in January 2022 was $588,945, 28.0% higher than a year ago.
  • There were 441 homes available at the end of the month — 63.9% more than in January 2021 — although still very low compared to buyer demand.
  • Of the 671 sales in the county, 457 were existing homes, an increase of 30.6% compared to the year prior. Overall sales (existing and new combined) were up 10.5% compared to January 2021.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

January
14

Doer of Good: CBT Realtor® Theresa Laird

Doers of Good: Theresa Laird

We are proud to introduce our featured Doer of Good here in the Treasure Valley for January. Theresa Laird, a Realtor® in our Nampa office, sits on the Advisory Board for The Salvation Army's Nampa Corps. Begun in the 1870s, The Salvation Army is well-known around the world for its work assisting the vulnerable in our communities with shelter, food, utility assistance, afterschool care, youth programs, and more.

Like most of us, Theresa says, "I've always known about The Salvation Army, but I didn't realize the amount of service they provide until I was approached to serve on their Advisory Board."  For the past four years, Theresa has used her connections as a respected real estate professional in the community to help in any way she can.  Through the Board, she works with JustServe.org, an online volunteer base to assist with ongoing projects, and has helped to organize food drives, ring-the-bell Red Kettle donations during the holidays, and Gala events to raise funds. At the beginning of the Covid pandemic, Theresa worked with her church to help supply 40,000 pounds of food to those in need.

"Every day, there are people who struggle; there will always be someone in need," Theresa explains. "If helping just a little provides any kind of comfort, peace, or hope to another human being, then we must do that."

When asked what being a #DoerofGood means to her, Theresa is quick to reply, "It means sharing your light by word and deed. We need to strengthen and support our community. No one can do it alone."

She goes on to tell us that once while handing out food on a cold day, an elderly woman came to her and asked for a hug. "She had recently lost her husband and just needed another human to connect with. That's one reason I do this."

She encourages others to get involved, to help wherever they can. "Whatever kind of service you have a heart for, try to put aside your political views and faith differences to come together for the greater good. Be a bridge-builder!"

To learn more about ways you can help, visit nampa.salvationarmy.org.

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

January
13

December Market Report & Year-End Wrap-Up

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

2021 Market Recap & December Market Report

When summing up the 2021 Ada County housing market, one could easily argue that this past year brought the most fast-paced market we've ever seen, particularly in the first half of the year. The market conditions were incredibly competitive.

The county has faced limited housing inventory for years now, a phenomenon we've detailed in many of our reports. This lack of supply has been insufficient compared to the persistent demand for housing, which has driven up prices and caused a home-buying frenzy earlier this year. We tracked the pace of the market by a few metrics — how quickly homes went under contract, the share of sales that sold over list price, and for how much they sold over list price.

We'll first explore the data for each of these metrics in the existing home sale segment to illustrate just how competitive the market was in 2021.

The Days on Market (DOM) metric measures the time between when a property is listed and when it has an accepted offer. Overall, DOM for existing homes trended down, reaching a historic low of just nine days in May 2021. Since then, the DOM metric has increased and normalized, reaching an average of 30 days in December 2021 — 18 days longer than in December 2020, and more in line with pre-pandemic levels from early 2020.

Not only were existing homes selling at a faster rate, but a larger share of total sales sold for more than their asking price, usually the result of multiple offer situations. The share of homes that sold over list price passed 50.0% in September 2020 and reached a peak of 75.9% in March 2021. By December 2021, it dropped to 22.6%, possibly indicating that list prices have become more aligned with what buyers are willing or able to pay.

But how much over asking did buyers pay in 2021, on average? As the share of over list sales went up, so did the amounts paid over asking. In May 2021, 69.7% of existing homes sold were for over list price, with an average premium of $44,075, the highest we've seen (going back to 2006 based on our existing dataset). The average amount paid over list has dipped since then, coming in at $16,487 in December 2021.

Unsurprisingly, with tight competition for existing homes and so many buyers willing to pay over list, the impact on prices was significant. The median sales price for existing homes was $510,000 in December 2021, up 21.4% compared to a year ago. The year-to-date median sales price was $505,000, a 34.7% increase compared to 2020, and the largest annual gain since we began tracking this data in 2006.

The new construction segment also saw year-over-year price jumps, largely due to increasing costs of land, labor, and materials — as well as the ongoing impact of pandemic-related shutdowns that continue to create delays in increased costs in the global supply chain. (Read more about this in our November report.) In December, the median sales price for new homes was $579,990, a 30.4% increase compared to December 2020. The year-to-date median sales price in 2021 for new construction was $525,000, a 23.1% increase over the previous year.

While homes have continued to sell at higher prices, interestingly, sales have dipped in recent months, and more notably so when comparing data year-over-year. In 2021, there were 10,855 home sales (new and existing combined) a decline of 11.8% compared to 2020, and the lowest number of total annual home sales for the county since 2017.

How can one of the fastest-growing metros in the U.S. with persistent demand for housing have declining home sales? The data provides a few clues.

First, buyers can't buy homes that aren't there, so limited inventory has definitely limited sales. This is especially true at the lower price points where buyer demand is most acute and inventory is hardest to come by. While inventory has ticked up over the last six months, the slim 0.7 Months Supply Inventory in December is still a far cry from the 4-6 months needed for a balanced market.

When year-over-year home sales are broken out by segment, there was a 6.7% decline in existing home sales and a 21.7% decline in new construction sales. One reason there may be fewer new construction sales could be because buyers are having to wait longer to move into their new homes. The average number of days between when a home goes under contract and when it closes was at 106 days in 2021, 30 days longer than in 2020, limiting the number of closings that can take place within the year and possibly leading some new home buyers to opt for an existing home with a quicker move-in date.

Much to the relief of buyers, we saw more normal market times and increases in inventory in the last few months of 2021. However, we're still a long way from a balanced market and we hope more homeowners are able to realize the great values for their properties by listing in the coming months.

Whether you're looking to buy or sell, it's never been more important to work with a REALTOR®. They will help identify potential options for purchase, connect you with a mortgage lender, help craft a competitive offer, and negotiate on your behalf, allowing you to make decisions confidently and quickly to achieve your real estate goals.

Other notable statistics from December 2021:

  • The overall median sales price (existing and new construction combined) in December 2021 was $546,000, a new record high. This is likely due to the large share (35.1%) of the typically higher-priced new construction home sales that closed in December.
  • There were 582 homes available at the end of the month — 75.8% more than in December 2020.
  • As mentioned in the release, the overall (new and existing combined) Months Supply Inventory was 0.7 months. For the existing segment, it was 0.5 months or approximately two weeks.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

January
4

What to Visit in Downtown Boise This Year

Downtown Boise

Art, festivals, special events, fantastic food, and even better shopping – you'll find all of that and more when you visit Downtown Boise this year. With so much to see and do, the start of 2022 is the perfect time to start planning all that you'll experience in the downtown area. Our real estate agents have the inside scoop on some of the many local attractions and events that you have to look forward to in Downtown Boise this year.

  • Warehouse Food Hall – 370 S. 8th St., Boise, ID 83702
    There are so many great places to eat near Boise homes for sale, but few can match the selection that you'll find at the Warehouse Food Hall. That's because the Warehouse Food Hall will be home to more than 20 local food and retail vendors, with flavors to suit every taste. The Warehouse Food Hall will be opening its doors for the first time in 2022, so keep an eye out for updates on one of the most exciting new attractions coming to Downtown Boise this year.

  • Treefort Music Fest – March 23 – 27 – Downtown Boise, ID
    Boise is recognized as a hub for the arts, and the annual Treefort Music Fest is an excellent example of why that's the case. This 5-day festival brings hundreds of bands to Downtown Boise every year and always receives rave reviews. Come for a great time, and leave with a new favorite band when you visit the Treefort Music Fest.

  • Idaho Steelheads Hockey – 233 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
    Playing in the beautiful Idaho Central Arena, the Idaho Steelheads bring all of the action and excitement of minor league professional hockey to downtown. The two-time Kelly Cup champions are consistently one of the best teams in the ECHL, and the Steelheads provide fun, affordable family entertainment all season long.

  • First Thursdays – 816 W. Bannock St., Boise, ID 83702
    All year long, First Thursdays provide the perfect excuse to visit some of your favorite restaurants, shops, and small businesses in Downtown Boise. Head downtown on the first Thursday of every month for great deals, fun in-store events at local retailers, and specials at your favorite dining destinations. There's always something new to see at First Thursdays, with different businesses participating every month.

  • Spacebar Arcade – 200 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
    Who says arcades are just for kids? Spacebar Arcade is a 21+ arcade and bar designed with adults in mind. Enjoy retro arcade games, vintage pinball machines, and an outstanding bar with 12 rotating beers on tap. If you love trivia, be sure to stop by on Trivia Nights which feature prizes, good times, and fun themes based on some of your favorite classic pop culture topics from the last few decades.

  • Makers Meetups at JUMP – 1000 W. Myrtle St., Boise, ID 83702
    If you love creating art, learning, and connecting with other creative people, you'll feel right at home when you visit the weekly Makers Meetups at Jack's Urban Meeting Place. These free events take place every Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon. When you visit, you'll get to meet creatives and makers from all around Boise while picking up some great tips that you can use when creating your own art.

Ready to buy or sell your next home close to all of the action in Downtown Boise? Our local team is here to help with all of your real estate needs. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Boise, ID area.

December
29

Introducing Doers of Good: CBT's Culture of Giving

Doers of Good: CBT's Culture of Giving

Coldwell Banker agents, staff, and managers are a special breed, working hard to assist our clients fulfill their real estate goals while keeping our focus on community and on making our cities and towns better places for all of us.

Because of our firm belief that we have an obligation to the people and places that keep our communities strong, we've set an ambitious goal for the next ten years: to give a minimum of $10 million to the organizations that work to help our neighbors in need. We call this our "Doers of Good."

We believe this focus needs to be shared and celebrated – and in a big way – so we are shining a light on those who are bright spots in the lives of others. We know the kind of people we have in our family, and we want you to know, too. Doers of Good will do just that.

Our agents, staff, and managers work in the background "doing their thing," sometimes on their own and sometimes with the help of our entire company. As we close a difficult year and look forward to a bright 2022, we'd like you to meet just a few of our 2021 4th quarter Doers of Good.

Camp Rainbow Gold

Pamela Carson, CBT Realtor® in our Eagle, Idaho, office, got involved with Camp Rainbow Gold because of her daughter, a nurse practitioner in oncology at St. Luke's and the medical director for the nonprofit. Camp Rainbow Gold "has been able to provide support and companionship to parents of children affected with cancer, giving them connections to other families going through the day-to-day struggles of childhood cancer," says Pamela. The organization even allows siblings to have their own camps. "The children feel safe and normal at camp."

A volunteer and financial supporter for the past five years, Pamela says "it gives me a real sense of pride to be a part of such a worthy cause…I get a feeling of paying it forward for all of the blessings I have in my life.

"Everyone should take a moment to reflect on how they can pay it forward or make a difference in their community, whether it be by contributing to a charity that is near and dear to them, or by reaching out to the charity organization to see how best they can assist in their continued fundraising or manpower needs."

Funding for Camp Rainbow Gold comes from private donations and community partnerships with local businesses. Most of the programs are run by volunteers under the guidance of a few camp staff members.  To learn more about Camp Rainbow Gold, visit https://camprainbowgold.org/.

 

Idaho Diaper Bank

Did you know that in Idaho, 46% of children under the age of three don't have a consistent supply of diapers to stay clean, dry, healthy, and happy?  This statistic shocked Shawna Walz and her mom, Carol Seiber, CBT Realtor® in our Boise, Idaho, office. Together, they founded Idaho Diaper Bank with the mission of providing diapers through collaboration with other social service agencies and nonprofits.

Says Carol, "IDB was formed to address the silent crisis of diaper need." She goes on to explain that diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps or WIC but represent a significant portion of the monthly budget for the Idaho families struggling to provide basic necessities like food, shelter, and hygiene. Oftentimes, parents feel they have no option other than trying to reuse soiled diapers.

Since its inception in 2014, Idaho Diaper Bank has provided over 4.5 million diapers to babies in need. IDB primarily serves SW Idaho but has worked to expand into eastern Idaho, the Magic Valley, and north Idaho with their Warehouse on Wheels program.

"Passion and empathy drive me to participate in charitable organizations in my community," Carol says. "Our community is growing and with that comes many issues facing our low-income families. Giving back is part of my business plan and along with Coldwell Banker we are able to make positive outcomes for many!"

IDB receives grants and donations from individuals and businesses. Community diaper drives help, as well. To help or learn more about Idaho Diaper Bank, visit http://www.idahodiaperbank.org/

Coldwell Banker Tomlinson agents, staff, and managers raised funds for both Camp Rainbow Gold and Idaho Diaper Bank at our annual Turkey Tuesday bowling fundraiser in November. Over $5,000 was raised during our event.

 

Meridian Elementary School & Meridian Food Bank

For the past several years, Joan Johnston, CBT Realtor® in our Meridian, Idaho, office, has spearheaded a fund and supply drive for underprivileged kids and their families at two different elementary schools in the valley.

Joan explains that one of her dearest friends was a teacher at a school with a high number of at-risk children – children who would oftentimes come to school on a Monday morning having eaten nothing all weekend. With her friend's help, Joan devised a plan to deliver some Christmas cheer, as well as food and gift cards to a grocery store, to these kids and their families.

"I have always felt a great sense of responsibility to care for those who are in need," Joan says.  "Children are often the ones who suffer the most when families struggle financially…Many of the homeless are living in their cars, trailers, or inexpensive hotels.  For whatever reason, they are experiencing hard times."

This year, Joan was joined by fellow Meridian office Realtor® Lindsey Dykstra. Together, the two organized the annual Meridian office "bake sale auction" to raise funds for 13 homeless families with children who attend Meridian Elementary School, as well as for the Meridian Food Bank, which has helped almost 20,000 households this year.   

CBT agents, staff, and managers donated baked goods to be auctioned at the event. In a few short hours, the group raised over $7,000 for the two worthy causes. "The generosity and caring exhibited by our agents, vendors, clients, and others are unparalleled," Joan explains.

Adds Lindsey, "This was my first year getting to help out with the fundraiser and distribution at the school. Being a doer of good means living and giving intentionally, having a purpose beyond just your own personal gain, and being open and available to show kindness and love to everyone. It doesn't have to be anything huge."

Contact your local school district to see how you can assist children in need, and visit https://meridianfoodbank.org/ to learn more about Meridian Food Bank.

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Join us in celebrating our Doers of Good by getting involved in one of the programs we will spotlight over the next several months or tell us in the comments below about what lights your fire when it comes to making our communities better. 

December
16

There's Still Time Left for Boise Holiday Shopping

Boise Holiday Shopping

The holiday shopping season is going by fast – let our real estate agents give you a hand!

With all the fun and excitement of looking at Boise homes for sale, the holidays might sneak up on you this year. These beloved local shops will help you find something for those "hard to shop for" friends and family:

  • The Basque Market – 608 West Grove Street, Boise, ID 83702
    The Basque Market offers international flavors perfect for the foodies left on your holiday shopping list. Basque Country, Spain, France, and Portugal wines are available with their wine club. Virtual events and classes, including cooking classes, are being held regularly and make memorable gifts. Introduce friends and families to this cuisine by giving them a gift card!

  • Boise Art Glass – 1124 West Front Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Billing itself as Boise's premier glass studio, Boise Art Glass will thrill you with its handmade glass art: Sculptures, chandeliers, jewelry, and so much more. Independently owned by a local artist since 2004, it gives customers the chance to browse a living, active art studio, take classes in glass art, or even make a custom order. Whether you want to gift functional or sculptural art, it's all here for you.

  • City Peanut Shop – 803 West Bannock Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Get your peanuts at City Peanut Shop, which offers peanut gift tins, mixes, butters, corns, and sweets right in the heart of downtown Boise. Flavors run the gamut from sweet to spicy to savory, so no matter what your giftee prefers you'll be able to find a flavor for them! Owner Dan Balluff opened the shop to bring the feel of his hometown's classic peanut shop to a new generation. It also offers local delivery within Boise.

  • G. Willikers Toy Merchant – 1508 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702
    Nestled in North Boise's historic Hyde Park, G. Willikers sells a variety of old-fashioned, modern, and unique toys and games. Need some help deciding? The friendly staff will help you find the perfect gift - for young and old! With free gift wrapping, you will be good to go before you know it. 

  • Compass Goods – 176 North 9th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Compass Goods is all about travel, "finding your direction and loving it." Recently opening the doors of its flagship store, it provides a wide range of attire, gear, travel supplies, and games. Yes, games! Travel is most fun when you share it with others, and Compass Goods will keep you well-stocked with ideas for playing while you explore. The simple, elegant, and unforgettable gift possibilities are endless.

  • Wood Creations Boutique – 12624 West Fairview Avenue, Boise, ID 83713
    There's still time to shop this holiday season and there's still time to craft thanks to the team at Wood Creations Boutique. Gift one of their crafting kits which include what you need to craft like a pro. Or make something at their white barn studio. Either way, you're guaranteed a one-of-a-kind gift that is sure to impress. Plus all of their kits are made right here in Boise!
     
  • Delia Dante Gallery & Fire Fusion Studio – 1322 West Main Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Delia Dante Gallery & Fire Fusion Studio offers a unique experience as both an art gallery and a studio where welding and enameling are practiced. Namesake artist Delia Dante has done decorative pieces you'll find all over Idaho. You can learn directly from her with classes in metalsmithing, welding, enameling, and more. That means distinct gift options: Art or an experience!

The local shops in the Boise area are always worth a stop! Contact us to discover more of what makes Boise unique.

December
14

Median New Construction Home Prices Set New Record

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

PRICES FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION REACH RECORD HIGH

In November 2021, the median sales price for new homes in Ada County was $601,301— passing the $600,000-mark for the first time. This is an increase of 39.8% compared to the same month last year.

This record reflects a variety of market factors that were present prior to the pandemic — namely increasing costs of land, labor, and materials — as well as the ongoing impact of pandemic-related shutdowns that continue to create delays in increased costs in the global supply chain. (A recent article from the National Association of Home Builders provides more context on this, and includes comments from a local custom home builder, Steve Martinez of Tradewinds.)

Speaking with Christine Comstock, Managing Associate Broker for CBH Homes, she echoed these sentiments, particularly on the impact of materials on the final price of a new home: "Lumber is a constant moving commodity. We work hard to keep our pricing in check in the midst of a fluctuating market. We are averaging a 24% increase year over year."

The external pressures causing delivery delays are also beginning to impact the number of sales for new homes, which were down 32.2% year-to-date compared to last year.

 Also affecting new construction sales is the uptick in existing inventory over the past six months. There were 426 existing homes available for purchase at the end of the month, an increase of 217.9% compared to November 2020.

There is a strong correlation between the existing inventory and new construction pending sales (properties under contract with an accepted offer that should close within 30-90 days). Looking at activity since January 2019, we have seen new construction pending sales go up when existing inventory dips, then begin to slip as existing inventory increases. 

You'll always have a certain number of buyers in the market that are strictly looking for a new home, but existing homes are often the starting point for many buyers looking for something that's move-in ready. So as existing home inventory has been limited, some buyers shifted to the new construction market. Then as delays in delivery occurred, and as more existing inventory is becoming available, some are reverting back to the resale market. This ebb and flow may seem obvious, but the big takeaway is that the demand for homes remains strong in our area, and motivated buyers continue to make purchasing decisions based on what's available.

The strong and consistent demand for housing is apparent when examining the Months Supply Inventory (MSI) metric, which takes the number of homes for sale divided by the average number of sales by month for the preceding 12 months. As of November 2021, Ada County was at just 0.9 months for existing homes and 1.5 months for new construction. This means, if no additional homes were listed, the supply of homes for sale would run out in less than two months. A balanced market — not favoring buyers or sellers — is typically between 4-6 months of supply.

Whether you're considering a new home or existing property, your REALTOR® is there to guide you through every step of your home buying journey. Once a seller or builder has accepted your offer, the sale goes "pending" and there are a number of steps that need to take place before you reach the closing table. From appraisals and inspections to negotiations and final paperwork, a REALTOR® is there to make sure your interests are being represented throughout every step in the process.

Other notable statistics from November 2021:

  • The median sales price for existing homes was $510,000, up 19.7% year-over-year and a slight 1.9% drop from October.
  • Existing homes were spending an average of 25 days on the market before going under contract, 92.3% longer than the 13 days we saw a year ago.
  • Total sales were down 7.8% from a year ago, primarily from delays in the new construction segment, as existing sales were up 3.5%. More existing inventory resulted in more existing home sales.
Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

November
12

Home Prices Drop Slightly in Ada County in October

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

PRICES DROP SLIGHTLY AS ADA COUNTY HOUSING MARKET SLOWS ITS RAPID PACE

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $533,950 in October, a slight 0.2% decrease from the September median sales price of $534,950. Inventory was up 158.5% year-over-year, with 1,145 homes available for purchase at the end of October.

We're starting to see a shift in our market. While homes still sold for near record highs for the last few months, we haven't seen the same month-over-month price jumps and properties aren't flying off the market quite as fast as they were this spring and summer.

Generally speaking, the more competitive the market, the faster properties have an offer accepted and go under contract, as measured by the Days on Market (DOM) metric. Overall, DOM for existing home sales has trended down for the last five years, with the fastest DOM at nine days in May 2021. Since then, the DOM metric has inched up, reaching an average of 21 days in October 2021 — eight days longer than in October 2020.

Ada County Average Days on Market for Existing Homes

As competition for homes increased, more buyers were willing to pay over list price. This became the primary factor driving up the median sales price from October 2020 through July 2021, when more than half of all home sales were sold for over list price. Since July 2021, the share has dropped significantly, making up 26.1% of all home sales in October 2021.

Additionally, price reductions on listed existing homes have become more common since June 2021. Weekly price reductions averaged less than one a week between January 1–June 6, and nearly eight a week from June 7–November 1. The $500,000-749,999 price range had the largest share of price reductions, making up nearly half of all adjustments year-to-date.

Weekly Price Reductions by Price Range for Existing Homes in Ada County

If existing homes are staying on the market longer, price reductions are becoming more common, and the majority of buyers are no longer paying over list price, why haven't we seen a major drop in the median sales price?

One reason is that list prices have also gone up. Typically, homes for sale are priced based on comparable properties that have recently sold. As sales prices have risen, so have the comparables, or "comps." These higher sales prices have may have also inspired more homeowners to sell, as existing inventory has also been trending up, with 703 available properties for sale at the end of October, an increase of more than 300% year-over-year.

Weekly Average Original List Price of Existing Home Sales in Ada County, YTD

The average list price of existing homes reached the $550,000-mark in June and remained above that level through the competitive summer months. Higher list prices were supported by the comparable sales in the weeks and months prior, but sale prices are ultimately determined by what buyers are willing to pay. As list prices shifted up in the latter part of the year, buyers were less likely to have to pay over asking to secure the property.

As the market adjusts to buyer's expectations and needs, we may continue to see price reductions or even a drop in the average list price for existing homes. If list prices go down, it doesn't necessarily mean sales prices will also drop. The median sales price for existing homes has held relatively steady, as has buyer demand. Homes are still selling at near record highs, but the rise in list prices may have eliminated some of the multiple offer situations and competition we saw occurring earlier this year.

This fall is still proving to be a great time for homeowners to capitalize on the current home prices. For those who are considering selling, we recommend talking to a REALTOR® about the different factors at play within our market and how they may affect different situations.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

November
11

News From Our Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Solid Job Gains Spotlight Uncommonly Busy Week for Mortgage Markets

The past week saw solid job gains amidst a packed week for mortgage markets. Highlighted by key labor market data and a Fed meeting, the U.S. economy did not see a shortage of economic news. When the dust settled, mortgage rates ended the week a little lower.

Solid Job Gains

Analysts closely watched Friday's Employment report. Overall, Employment modestly exceeded expectations, showing solid job gains.

Against a consensus forecast of 450,000, the economy gained 531,000 jobs in October 2021. Revisions added 235,000 jobs to the results for prior months. Though the gains extended broadly across a wide range of industries, the leisure and hospitality sectors led the improvements.

Declining Unemployment Rate Accompanying Solid Job Gains

Alongside the solid job gains, the unemployment rate declined from 4.8% to 4.6% in September 2021. Thus, unemployment fell below the consensus forecast of 4.7%.

Investors view average hourly earnings as an indicator of wage growth. The most recent average hourly earnings data displayed an impressive 4.9% increase from a year prior. Additionally, average hourly earnings jumped up from 4.6% last month, hitting the highest level since February 2021.

Supply Chain Issues Plague Manufacturing

Aside from the solid job gains and declining unemployment rate, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) highlighted several other reports. The ISM reports demonstrated the negative effects of supply chain disruptions on the manufacturing sector.

The national services sector index unexpectedly skyrocketed from 61.9 to a record high of 66.7. Meanwhile, the national manufacturing index remained roughly flat at 60.8. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. Readings above 60 are rare.

While both reports hold strong by historical standards, supply chain issues greatly impact manufacturing companies. Many of these manufacturing companies need materials to produce goods.

Fed Tapering to Begin

All in all, the Fed did a commendable job of communicating its plans to investors in advance. Once again, there were no surprises and little lasting impact from the latest meeting.

According to the Fed meeting statement, the Fed plans to taper its $120 billion per month of bond purchases by $15 billion per month beginning later this month. This revelation fell right in line with expectations.

Officials anticipate that inflation will ease from current elevated levels as supply chain resolve, and solid job gains persist. However, the Fed offered little new guidance in determining the exact timing of the first federal funds rate hike. Lastly, investors anticipate the rate hike to take place near the middle of next year.

Looking Ahead After Solid Job Gains

Looking ahead after the solid job gains, investors seek hints from Fed officials about the timing for future rate hikes. Additionally, investors closely watch COVID-19 case counts around the world, particularly in Europe.

Beyond that, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was released on Wednesday. Analysts widely follow CPI as a monthly inflation indicator. CPI looks at the price changes for a broad range of goods and services.

Mortgage markets close in observance of Veterans Day. Finally, the JOLTS report, which measures job openings and labor turnover rates, comes out on Friday.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

November
6

Should You Renovate or Move?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021. The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you're a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire. The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  1. A possible desire to relocate
  2. The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  3. Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

In either case, you'll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity.

Home Equity Is Skyrocketing

The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners' equity. Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently:

"Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high."

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you'll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you'll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home.

Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you'll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you're one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you're one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you're ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you'll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home

You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement. To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report.

Bottom Line

If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home. Contact us today to help guide you through the process and help determine what makes the most sense for you!

November
1

About Boise's Freak Alley Gallery

Boise Art

National Go to an Art Museum Day was on November 9th and was all about going out of your way to appreciate the work of the talented local artists in your community. Luckily, the Boise area is home to many talented artists and art spaces showcasing their work, and any time is a great time to check out the art! 

Our real estate agents have always enjoyed visiting Boise's Freak Alley Gallery when attending to our roster of Boise homes for sale. This unconventional gallery is located at the crossroads between 8th and 9th street and Bannock and Idaho, and it's the perfect place to dip your toes into the local art world.  

Origins of Freak Alley Gallery

Freak Alley Gallery began as a single project by local artist Colby Akers. Akers was hired to paint the alley-facing side of the Moon's Café eatery in 2002. His completed painting was so impressive that other businesses around the area began asking for similar work to be done on their outer walls. Pretty soon, the entire alley was covered in stunning vibrant artwork by local artists from all walks of life.  

Akers spent years as the gallery's unofficial curator, reviewing hundreds of proposals for new art for the alley. As of 2020, this role has been taken over by Melissa Nodzu. 

Over the years, the gallery has added some indoor space to its premises to give more artists a chance to participate in this beloved community tradition. Freak Alley Gallery is sustained primarily by donations and volunteer work. If you want to help the organizers continue to do the work that keeps the gallery going, they are always happy to accept donations of time or money to the cause.  

Planning a Visit 

Freak Alley's annual painting even is held every summer, usually during the first Saturday in August. During this event, all the paintings that were on display in the gallery during the past year are painted over and replaced with new, specially curated works. The new murals are primarily painted by specially chosen artists, but ordinary members of the community are sometimes invited to participate as well. Visitors are not allowed inside the gallery for a full week during this time, so be sure to plan your trip for a week that doesn't coincide with this annual refresh.  

Freak Alley Gallery is a hidden gem that is well worth at least one visit in your lifetime, and it's far from the only noteworthy spot for arts and culture in Boise. If you know where to look, this city is full of creativity and expression with plenty of local artists that call this area home.

After your visit here are other local art museums and galleries to view art throughout Boise:

Or spend the day walking around downtown and appreciate the local art in the area! 

Contact us today to learn more about our real estate listings in Boise and how we can help you become a part of this one-of-a-kind community.

October
15

Stark Autumn Beauty: Shoshone Falls

Don't Let the Lack of "High Water" Keep You from Visiting this Fall

Looking for some weekend adventure, but want to explore somewhere new? If you are in the Boise area, take the two-hour trek to Shoshone Falls in south-central Idaho's Magic Valley. Located approximately three miles west of the city of Twin Falls, the "Niagra of the West" drops an impressive 212 feet, 45 feet higher than the real Niagra.

Though the most dramatic time of year to visit is in the spring when flows can reach in excess of 20,000 cubic feet per second, the fall and winter bring a different kind of beauty. Striking rock formations and stunning pools reveal themselves only when the water is low.

Lying within the Snake River Canyon, the Falls and surrounding geology is a fascinating scene created over millions of years and is truly one of nature's—and Idaho's—most glorious wonders worthy of visiting any time of year.

Shoshone Falls Park is situated at the bottom of the canyon via a fairly steep and curvy road that is open year-round, except when snow and ice make travel too dangerous. The road is paved and fine for all vehicles. In the fall and winter months, the park is open from dawn to dusk, and there is no charge for access. Picnic areas, overlooks, and portable toilets are accessible all year.

Wear comfortable shoes and plan to take a hike along one of the many trails in and around the Falls. Centennial Trail takes explorers 1.4 miles to the site of Evel Knievel's failed attempt to jump the canyon in 1974. The out-and-back trail is paved and features canyon overlooks.

To get to Shoshone Falls from Boise, travel east on I-84 to US 93/exit 173 south to Twin Falls. Turn east on Falls Ave. E to N 3300 E/Champlin Road and follow the signs.

Be sure to stop at the Twin Falls Visitor Center at the south side of the Perrine Bridge for breathtaking views of the canyon and to pick up a trail map.

October
14

View the Latest Employment Report from the Mortgage Professionals at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Latest Employment Report Reveals Job Gains Went Down

This past week, analysts and investors closely watched the latest employment report. Unfortunately, it revealed that job gains went down, falling short of expectations. For the most part, the other major economic reports coincided with expectations. In other news, investors shifted to riskier assets. While doing so, stocks increased while bonds decreased. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week higher.

Job Gains Fall Short in Latest Employment Report

The latest employment report suggested that COVID-19 hindered job creation. Friday's release showed that the economy added just 194,000 jobs in September 2021 against a consensus forecast of 500,000. While this result resembles August 2021, job gains plummeted dramatically from over one million in July of this year.

However, there were many offsetting factors. First, upward revisions added 169,000 jobs to the results for prior months. Second, the unemployment rate declined from 5.2% to 4.8%. Not only did unemployment decline far below the consensus forecast of 5.1%, but it also hit the lowest level since February 2020. These two components often paint a somewhat different picture. While companies provide data for the job gains calculation, the unemployment rate is based on a separate survey of individuals.

Analysts also looked for the latest figures on average hourly earnings. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, rose 0.6% from July 2021. This statistic jumped well above the consensus of 0.4%. Of note, average hourly earnings clocked in at an impressive 4.6% higher than a year ago. The latest employment report showed that this number also climbed above an annual rate of increase of 4.0% last month.

Education jobs sharply underperformed expectations. Analysts attribute this due to distortions in the seasonal adjustment caused by the pandemic. Experts adjust education job data to reflect historical seasonal trends, such as the start of the school year. Concurrently, many of the usual hiring and firing patterns changed during the pandemic. To summarize, job gains fell short partly due to seasonal issues related to the pandemic. On the other hand, wage gains remained very strong. Conclusively, the report barely affected mortgage rates.

ISM Service Sector Index Reports Growth

Aside from the latest employment report, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) released another significant economic report. The ISM national service sector index rose to 61.9. Not only did the service sector index rise above the consensus forecast of 60.0, it also neared a record-high. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sector is expanding. Readings above 60 are rare.

Of note, a large number of companies reported difficulties in hiring enough skilled workers to keep up with growing demand. Many other companies indicated that supply chain disruptions held back production. Because of these current obstacles, later months may see stronger readings as companies catch up.

Looking Ahead After the Latest Employment Report

Looking ahead after the latest employment report, investors closely watch global COVID-19 cases. They also look for hints from Fed officials about the timing for changes in monetary policy.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

October
13

Home Prices in September Hold Steady

Fewer Buyers Paid Over Asking Price for Homes in September 

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

The median sales price for homes in Ada County moved to $534,950 in September 2021, marking a slight 0.8% increase over August when the median sales price was $530,500. 

While prices remained steady month-over-month, the most notable statistic was the share of homes that sold for over list price dropped to 33.1% — the lowest level since June 2020. 

Competition for homes has been fierce for nearly a year, and as market times fell, more buyers were willing to pay over list price, which became a primary factor driving up the median sales price. When the share of homes that sold over list price exceeded 40% in August 2020, the median sales price moved into the $400,000-range for the first time. When it reached nearly 65% in May 2021, that's when prices exceeded the $500,000-mark.  

(For more on this, and additional factors driving home prices, check out our blog post: "Making Sense of the Rising Home Prices in Ada County.") 

That jump in price likely brought prospective sellers to the market, which has helped inventory levels increase. In fact, September marked the sixth consecutive month of inventory growth. The 1,249 homes available for sale at the end of the month represented an 11.1% increase from August and a staggering 165.7% increase compared to September 2020. 

In addition, the average number of days between when existing homes were listed for sale and an offer was accepted increased to 17 days — the longest market time in the last 12 months — and 21.4% longer than the 14 days we saw in August 2021.  

The increased inventory and a slightly slower pace are good news for buyers and may be two reasons that fewer homes sold over list price last month. 

That said, while the Months Supply of Inventory (MSI) continued to trend up — reaching 1.5 months in September — Ada County is still not in the 4-6 month range of supply which is typically considered a balanced market — creating ongoing opportunities for sellers. 

This fall is still proving to be a great time for homeowners to capitalize on the current home prices. For those who are considering selling, we recommend talking to a REALTOR® about the different factors at play within our market and how they may affect different situations.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

To view the Treasure Valley homes currently for sale, CLICK HERE.

 

September
27

9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home while shopping for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the competition for housing is so high. That doesn't mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller's market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead. Here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

"What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?"

While it may be an inconvenience, this is a common scenario that can usually be handled with a little creativity and compromise. Here are some options to consider:

1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In some cases, a buyer may agree to a rent-back clause that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee. We can discuss the benefits and risks involved and whether it's a good option for you.

2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

If you're lucky enough to have family or friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals, and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

With cash on hand from the sale of your current home, you'll be in a better position to budget for and buy your next home. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty involved.

"What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?"

If you can't afford to carry both mortgages, then selling before you buy may be best. (See Tip #3.) But if you have flexibility in your budget for some overlap, it is possible to manage a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps to help streamline the process:

4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the renovations and tasks that matter most. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

5: Prep your paperwork.

If you'll need a mortgage for your next home purchase, get pre-approved in advance. And start pulling together relevant records for your current home, such as appliance warranties and renovation permits. That way, you'll be ready to provide quick answers to buyers' questions should they arise.

6: Ask about other contingencies that can be included in your contracts.

For example, it's possible to add a clause to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. This tactic could backfire, though, if you're competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of contingencies and what's realistic given current market dynamics.

"What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?"

To make sure you're in the right headspace, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn't look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Luckily, if you've got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

8: Don't worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn't going exactly like your neighbor's, it doesn't mean that you are doomed to fail.

9: Enlist help early.

This leads us to our final tip: If possible, call us early in the process. We'll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do to prep your current property for sale, we'll also help you narrow down the parameters for your next one. That way, you'll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when it comes time to list your home and make an offer on a new one.

Call today for tailored advice that works for you.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn't have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. Click here for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward - or visit our site for a listing of homes for sale.

September
16

Facebook: Spoofed Profiles

 

What is a "spoofed" profile?

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

A spoofed profile is where a scammer copies your profile and pretends to be you. The scammers use the information that the original profile makes public.  This includes profile pictures, location(s), and biography information, so they are very convincing. Oftentimes, these spoofed profiles send out another friend request to people on copied profile's friends list.  While more and more people are becoming aware that this is an issue when they get a second friend request from someone they are already friends with, many people still don't know what is happening (no, their friend has not been "hacked" i.e someone has gained unauthorized access to the account) or what to do about the profile, and there are many people who still will add the fake profile and further perpetuate this activity. 

 

Besides it being annoying, what damage does this cause?

Once a spoofed profile is created, the creator will add friends listed on the original profile, send messages that ask for money… or worse, send videos and/or clickable content via messenger or page posts that contain phishing sites, adware, malware, or viruses when clicked.

 

How do you prevent this from happening?

Make your friends list viewable to "Friends only" or better yet, "Only me".  These settings can be accessed both on the computer and in the Facebook app on phones.  Simply view your profile, then go to Settings and Privacy, then under Audience and Visibility, "How People Find and Contact You".  Select "Who can see your friends list", and select Friends or Only me.  Setting it to "Only me" is the only sure-fire way to make it so people cannot use your friends list to create fake profiles and spam your friends, colleagues, and clients who may be friends on your page.

 

It's already happened to you. Now what?

Have your friends report the spoofed profile as soon as possible.  All you or they have to do is go to the scammer's duplicate Facebook page and click on the three dots.  Select "Find Support or Report Profile" and then "Pretending to Be Someone."  You will then be asked who they are pretending to be.  If it's a friend, you'll report which friend it is and then confirm your submission.  Facebook will then review your report and notify you of the outcome.  The process is pretty quick and painless.

Next, take steps to secure your public information. And it wouldn't hurt to complete Facebook's privacy checkup, and lock down your privacy settings which includes not allowing people to post anything on your page without your review.

Any of these things can be done remotely.  Please call or email our office if you have any questions or need immediate assistance!

September
15

Lower Unemployment Rate Offsets Lower-Than-Expected Job Gains

 

 

Key labor market data revealed mixed results, including lower-than-expected job gains missing the mark. However, a better unemployment rate counterbalanced those job gains.

Economists viewed the data as roughly neutral. The other major economic news contained no surprises. Therefore, mortgage rates ended the week with little change.

Dampened Job Gains

Analysts closely watched last Friday's employment report. The latest report suggested that COVID-19 dampened job gains. Unfortunately, the leisure and hospitality sectors experienced this impact the most. Against a consensus forecast of 720,000, the economy added just 235,000 jobs in August 2021. Job gains greatly declined from over one million in July 2021.

However, there were some offsetting factors. First, upward revisions added 134,000 jobs to the results for prior months. In addition, education jobs sharply underperformed expectations. Having said that, analysts likely attribute the distortions to seasonal adjustment caused by the pandemic. Analysts adjust data to reflect historical seasonal trends, such as the start of the school year. Also, many of the usual hiring and firing patterns changed during the pandemic.

Better Unemployment Rate Despite Dampened Job Gains

The unemployment rate declined from 5.4% to 5.2%, matching expectations. Simultaneously, unemployment hit its lowest level since before the pandemic. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, rose 0.6% from July. As a result, average hourly earnings climbed well above the consensus of 0.3%. In addition, average hourly earnings jumped 4.3% higher than a year ago, up from 4.1% last month.

To summarize, job gains fell short partly due to seasonal issues related to the pandemic. Meanwhile, wage gains came in very strong. In conclusion, the report provided little net effect on mortgage rates.

ISM Hiring News

Aside from dampened job gains, a couple of other significant economic reports were released this week. Overall, the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) revealed the expected strong results. The national services index fell to 61.7, down from a record high last month.

Subsequently, the national manufacturing index came in at 59.9. Levels above just 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. Readings above 60 are rare. Of note, a large number of companies reported difficulties in hiring enough workers to keep up with growing demand.

Looking Ahead After Dampened Job Gains

Looking ahead after dampened job gains, investors closely watch global COVID-19 cases. Investors also will look for hints from Fed officials about the timing for changes in monetary policy.

Beyond that, the JOLTS report came out today. JOLTS measures job openings and labor turnover rates. 

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

September
14

Number of Homes for Sale in Ada County Increases

Encouraged Sellers Add More Homes to the Market 

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

The median sales price for homes in Ada County was $530,500 in August, down nearly $10,000 from July, although 32.2% higher than the same month last year.   

While our region has faced insufficient supply compared to demand for years — the main driver of home prices over the past few years — August marked the fifth consecutive month of inventory growth. There were 1,124 homes available for sale, up 6.5% from July and up a tremendous 90.8% compared to August 2020.  

These inventory gains were very encouraging — and likely prompted by higher prices — although still low compared to what they might have been had they tracked with the historical trendline. 

On the other hand, both pending and closed sales tracked with their respective trendlines. In August, there were 1,606 pending sales — homes with an accepted offer that should close within the next 30-60 days — and another 931 homes closed during the month.  

Both pending and closed sales were down compared to last year, at 22.9% and 28.3%, respectively. Some in the national news have speculated that declines in national sales activity indicates buyers are backing off. This may be the case in some situations, especially among more price-sensitive buyers, but the declines likely have more to do with the seasonality and limited inventory.  

As evident in the chart above, sales activity begins to increase each December/January, typically peaking around May/June, then tapering off throughout the fall and winter as kids go back to school and the weather gets colder. The past two years haven't had that same seasonal feel with the pandemic compressing the traditional market cycles, but any additional declines in activity from now through the end of the year are not completely atypical.  

 

Note on Historical Trendlines: These are helpful tools but should be used in conjunction with other metrics to understand why something may be trending higher or lower than past data might otherwise suggest. To that point, we released a blog post about a recent Florida Atlantic University study suggesting Boise metro homes were overpriced compared to historical trends, which you can read here. You can also check out our mid-year housing summit presentation for insights as to why inventory levels continue to be constrained despite ongoing demand.

 

The uptick in the number of homes for sale continues to be good news for buyers, but buyers must still be prepared to act quickly once they've found a home to purchase. We advise buyers to work with a REALTOR® and lender to determine ways to make an offer as competitive as possible.

One of the most popular ways buyers have competed is on price, offering to pay more than the listing price. Of the homes that closed in August, 42.3% sold for more than list price, paying on average, $22,675 more than list, which is a change from the past few months when a majority of homes were selling over list price.

For homes that sold under their original list price in August, buyers paid $24,423 less, on average. That said, decisions on what price to list a home at, or whether a buyer might offer more or less, can be made easier with the help of a REALTOR®.  

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. 

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for August, CLICK HERE.

 

September
7

Your Guide to Antique Shopping in Boise

Boise Antique Stores

Whether you're searching for the perfect unique decoration for your home or an awesome accessory for your favorite outfit, there's nothing quite like visiting an amazing antique shop to search for one-of-a-kind treasures. The antique shops of the Boise area are waiting to be explored, with a variety of great options offering furniture, home décor, fashion items, and so much more. Our real estate agents have all of the details in your guide to antique shopping in Boise.

  • LA Junk Antiques – 600 N. Latah St., Boise, ID 83706
    Searching for something special to decorate your home or garden? Then you're sure to love shopping at LA Junk Antiques, which is conveniently located near Boise homes for sale. This shop specializes in home, garden, and architectural items, with an inspired collection of antiques that's sure to have something that will appeal to every taste. It's also a great place to find smaller items, like homemade candles, soaps, and vintage cookware for your kitchen. Convenient online shopping is also available, allowing you to view the entire collection, find your favorite items, and pick them up at the shop.

  • Antique World Mall – 4544 W. Overland Rd., Boise, ID 83705
    With more than 30,000 square feet of space, the Antique World Mall is one of the largest antique shopping destinations in the Boise area. It's home to over 160 antique vendors, each with something unique to offer. It's easy to spend a whole day exploring the booths, getting to know the vendors, and finding the perfect treasures for your home. In addition to offering an incredible selection, Antique World Mall aims to be as budget-friendly as possible. It's the perfect place to find excellent deals on items that you won't find anywhere else.

  • Enchanting Objects – 4906 W. State St., Boise, ID 83703
    Located on a historic farm with eight old-fashioned buildings filled with antiques, Enchanting Objects has been one of Boise's favorite antique shops ever since it first opened in 2007. There are a variety of vendors on-site, which ensures that there are always new items to see when you visit. If you love vintage country living items, then this is one local antique shop that you won't want to miss.

  • Sweet Tea Living – 99 E. State St., Eagle, ID 83616
    Whether you're looking to treat yourself to a special antique or shopping for the perfect vintage gift, you can find it close to Eagle homes for sale when you visit the Sweet Tea Living vintage shop. The shop is open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with special sales available each week on different items. With jewelry, art, home décor, refurbished items, vintage finds, and gifts to fit every budget, you're sure to find something special at Sweet Tea Living.

  • Sevoy Gallery & Antiques – 650 E. Fairview Ave., Meridian, ID 83646
    If your taste in antiques skews toward Mid-Century Modern, then there are few better places to shop than Sevoy Gallery & Antiques. This long-time local destination has two excellent locations, including one located around the corner from Meridian homes for sale. The building itself is a work of architectural art, and it's filled with some of the finest imported European antique furniture. There's also a great collection of gorgeous stained glass, bronze statues, and other unique items.

Still searching for a home to fill with all of your antique treasures? Our experienced, local real estate team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Boise, ID area.

August
30

5 Factors That Reveal Where The Real Estate Market Is Really Headed

Boise Downtown

It's the old supply-and-demand predicament: U.S. home sales continue at a rapid pace, but the number of listings remains limited. Amid historically low mortgage rates, buyers keep shopping, reducing inventory and sparking a rise in home prices.

Meanwhile, homebuilders are coping with an increase in material costs and a shortage of labor. These issues come during an ongoing housing shortage. A National Association of Realtors study shows the U.S. has a deficit of about 2 million single-family homes and 3.5 million other housing units.

Follow along to learn the five factors that illustrate where the U.S. housing market is today and is heading tomorrow.

ROCK-BOTTOM MORTGAGE RATES TO GRADUALLY RISE

Low interest rates continue to fuel demand from homebuyers. Some experts believe mortgage rates will creep up later this year, but they expect rates to remain near historic lows. In June, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that 2020 closed with the average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 2.8%. But the association anticipates the average rate climbing to 3.5% at the end of 2021 and 4.2% by the end of 2022.

What does it mean for you?

When mortgage rates are at or near historic lows (as they are today), you should seriously consider taking advantage of those rates to borrow money for a home purchase or to refinance your existing mortgage.

HOME PRICES EXPECTED TO KEEP CLIMBING

In June, the national median list price for a home reached an all-time high of $385,000, up 12.7% on a year-over-year basis. And according to the Home Buying Institute, various reports and forecasts indicate home prices will keep climbing throughout 2021 and into 2022. While this may be welcome news for homeowners, high prices are pushing homeownership out of reach for a growing number of first-time buyers.

What does it mean for you?

If you're a buyer waiting on the sidelines for prices to drop, you may want to reconsider. While the pace of appreciation should taper off, home prices are expected to continue climbing. And rising mortgage rates will make a home purchase even more costly.

SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALES REMAIN ROBUST

Single-family home sales are down from their peak in October 2020 yet are still above the overall level last year. In May 2021, 5.8 million existing single-family homes were sold in the U.S. That's a 45% increase over the 4 million homes sold in May 2020.

However, home sales saw a 0.9% dip in May 2021 compared with the previous month, the National Association of Realtors says. That was the fourth straight month for a decline in home sales. The number of home sales has slid recently because of rising prices and a lack of inventory, but Fannie Mae expects total home sales to tick up slightly in the fourth quarter and finish the year up 3.8% over last year.

What does it mean for you?

The market for single-family home sales remains quite active. As a result, if you're a homeowner, you may want to ponder whether to sell now, even if you hadn't necessarily been thinking about it. With demand high and inventory low, your home could fetch an eye-popping price.

LACK OF INVENTORY STILL CONSTRAINS THE HOME MARKET

According to the National Association of Realtors, in May there were 1.23 million previously owned homes on the market, down 20.6% from the same time last year. This translates to a 2.5-month supply of homes, which is well below the 6 months of inventory typical in a balanced market. According to the Realtors group, the lack of inventory translates into tougher searches for buyers and contributes to a rise in prices.

What does it mean for you?

If you're thinking of selling your home, now may be the right time to do it. Across the country, it's a seller's market, meaning demand is outpacing supply. That supply-and-demand imbalance puts sellers in a great position to sell their homes at a premium price. The May 2021 Realtors Confidence Index from the National Association of Realtors found the average home that was sold attracted five offers, and the association says nearly half of homes are selling above list price.

CONSTRUCTION OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES SEES SLIGHT UPTICK

Frustrated buyers may soon find some relief from an increase in new construction. Economists forecast that 1.1 million new houses will be started in 2021, compared with a predicted 940,000 units just six months ago, with 1.2 million new starts predicted for 2022 and 2023, according to the Urban Land Institute.

What does it mean for you?

Given the issues affecting the new-home market, it may make sense to widen your home search to include both new and existing homes. Your brand-new dream home may not be available, but you might be able to find an existing home that lives up to your vision. Keep in mind that we can help you find either a new or existing home and can advocate for you to ensure you get the best deal possible.

ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING?

If you're in the market for a home, you're ready to sell your house or you've simply been wondering whether you should sell, you could benefit from an expert to help you navigate the hot real estate market. Let's set up a free consultation to discuss your situation. We can review your options and come up with a plan to capitalize on the value of your current property or to find your ideal next home. Contact us today. We are here to #guideyouhome.

August
23

Interior Design Trends: Cottagecore Home Decor

When you buy a new home, you want it to be a reflection of you and your style. As you consider various trends, you may come across a popular new one called cottagecore. But what is it, exactly, and will it work for your interior design needs? Essentially, cottagecore home decor is a nostalgic journey to a simpler time and place. If sipping tea in a garden, breathing in the delicate scent of roses and honeysuckle strikes your fancy, this could very well be the interior design style you are seeking. If the homes you are asking to be shown are reminiscent of country living, you may want to consider these key elements:

  • Nostalgia
    From the garden to the living room, the house should speak of bygone days. This may look different to each person. If your cherished memories include crocheted Afghans and ruffled curtains, by all means, include them. If they lean more toward the brown leather overstuffed couch and the roll-top desk you might find in an 1890's ranch house, then go that direction. It's even possible to blend styles a bit in this very unscripted decor. If you have antiques or just books and knick-knacks that have been in the family for a long time, cottagecore provides a perfect setting to display them.
  • Simplicity
    Although many of us work in the world of technology, we don't all want to live there. When incorporating cottagecore interior design trends, necessary technology will often be hidden inside wooden cabinetry or disguised in other clever ways. The lifestyle celebrates minimalism, including handcrafting, home cooking, and creativity over video games. Rather than the cold, sleek surfaces you will find in industrial decor, you will find the warmth of wood, the natural textures of organic materials, and the cozy atmosphere they bring. Shining wooden floors with simple rugs and a wooden coffee table that reflect the same color as the floor. You might find the same wood theme repeated in bathrooms and bedrooms. 
  • Nature
    Embracing nature is critical to the cottagecore style. This doesn't mean that you must raise your own chickens and livestock in order to enjoy the designs. But the interior of the home should blend with the environment surrounding the exterior. This can be accomplished with muted colors, natural materials, house plants, and fresh or dried flowers. Imagine a little girl collecting wildflowers and displaying them in a milk bottle. The romantic ideal of rural living can be reflected in prints and paintings without the less pleasant realities of farm life. An indoor herb garden is just the right touch to a cozy kitchen, while the fresh herbs bring your recipes to life. 
  • Vintage
    Antiques are certainly great additions to cottagecore home decor, but you can obtain the vintage feel without an extensive collection. Simple lines, wooden frames, and natural textures will help balance the design. Wooden chairs next to pristine white wainscotting in the dining room are reminiscent of homes of a hundred years ago, even if they were just purchased recently. The elegance of a colorful quilt can carry the sleeper back to Grandma's house. Overstuffed chairs reupholstered with soft, nubby fabrics or floral designs are both frugal and practical, echoing the lifestyle of the past as much as the appearance. 
  • Do-it-yourself
    To truly embrace the cottagecore lifestyle, you should bring in your own creations. Have you learned to embroider? Frame an original piece and hang it on the wall. Did you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Proudly store them in wire baskets on the kitchen counter. Craftspeople know that you can't create anything worthwhile without making a little mess. You can embrace the clutter a bit without letting it take over. A basket of colorful yarn complete with knitting needles will actually enhance the decor of the den. A loom in the corner will make a fascinating conversation piece. You may even discover common interests with friends you didn't know existed. 

If you've been waiting for some of the vintage things you love to come back in style, the time has come. Our real estate professionals will be happy to help you find your new home. Contact us when you're ready to make the change. 

August
12

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Breakthrough Job Gains as Labor Market Makes Vast Improvements

The monthly employment report brought stronger than anticipated data as the U.S. achieved breakthrough job gains. Simultaneously, incoming Institute of Supply Management (ISM) service data also yielded great news.

As the United States economy took home a couple of "wins," the impact negatively affected mortgage markets. Ultimately, mortgage rates ended the week slightly higher.

Breakthrough Job Gains

In July 2021, employment realized breakthrough job gains, gaining 943,000. Overall, this soared far above the consensus forecast of 850,000. Additionally, analysts revised results from the prior two months.

After a brutal 2020, analysts saw massive growth in the leisure and hospitality sectors. In total, leisure and hospitality added 380,000 positions. Job gains primarily permeated bars and restaurants.

As an added bonus, the unemployment rate declined from 5.9% to 5.4%. Contrary to job gains, unemployment fell well below the consensus forecast of 5.7%. Finally, average hourly earnings jumped 4.0% higher than a year ago. Average hourly earnings also increased from 3.7% in June 2021. Investors and analysts view average hourly earnings as an indicator of wage growth.

More Breakthrough Job Gains to Come?

The pace of labor market improvement picked up significantly over the last couple of months. However, the full COVID-19 impact remains to be seen. This makes experts question whether the trend of breakthrough job gains will continue. Unsurprisingly, many of the new jobs appeared in sectors previously hurt by the pandemic.

Fed officials repeatedly noted that the timing of monetary policy tightening depends on its goals. Mainly, the Fed closely watches for progress toward their labor market goals. Concurrently, investors keep a close eye on the impact of rising COVID-19 case counts.

Strong Results from the ISM

Aside from the breakthrough job gains, the ISM released a couple of other significant economic reports this week. Both yielded strong results. Hitting a record-high, the national services index unexpectedly surged to 64.1. Meanwhile, the national manufacturing index came in at 59.5. Levels above 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. However, analysts rarely see readings above 60. Of note, a large number of companies reported difficulties in hiring enough workers to keep up with growing demand.

Looking Ahead After Breakthrough Job Gains

Looking ahead after the breakthrough job gains, investors closely watch global COVID-19 cases. They also look for hints from Fed officials about the timing for changes in monetary policy. Beyond that, the JOLTS report comes out on Monday. The JOLTS report measures job openings and labor turnover rates. In addition, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) releases on Wednesday. Analysts follow CPI as a monthly inflation indicator. CPI examines price changes for a broad range of goods and services.

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We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

August
10

More Homes are For Sale as Higher Prices Encourage Sellers

More Homes Enter the Market as Prices Rise 

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached $540,000 in July, up 2.9% from June.

While our region has faced insufficient supply compared to demand for years — the main driver of home prices — July marked five consecutive months of inventory growth. While still low compared to previous years, there were 1,055 homes available for sale at the end of the month, up 44.7% from June.

After home prices rose above the $500,000-mark in May, homeowners may have been encouraged to list, as existing inventory was higher than the previous month and year for the second month in a row, something not seen since March of 2020 just before the pandemic hit the market. At the end of June, there were 729 existing homes available for purchase, up 50.3% from June 2021 and up an astonishing 116.3% compared to July 2020.

Despite more inventory, the speed of the market continues to be fast. The number of days between when a home was listed for sale and an offer was accepted (also referred to as Days on Market) was at 13 days, on average, in July — 22 days faster than the same month last year.

While the uptick in the number of homes for sale is great news for buyers, they must still be prepared to act quickly. Buyers must also know that an offer acceptance is only the beginning of the work that a REALTOR® will complete throughout a transaction working on behalf of their clients.

Following the average 13 days on market, as noted above, there were another 52 days between the offer acceptance and closing, on average, based on the homes sold in July. During this time period, there is typically a home inspection and title search, and if the buyer is purchasing with a mortgage, an appraisal, and final loan approvals.

The REALTORS® representing the buyer and seller help keep these tasks on track and work through any follow-up items, such as negotiating repairs based on the inspection report, providing documentation to the escrow agent at the title company, requesting documents and financials from a homeowners' association (if applicable), and confirming closings costs or mortgage payoffs with the lender. Other behind-the-scenes duties include helping clients coordinate movers, obtain homeowners insurance, switch over utilities, schedule painters, assist with changes of address, maybe locate temporary housing, and much (much) more.

Research from the National Association of REALTORS® indicates that most people move every 10-15 years. Those gaps in time are where REALTORS® show their value in understanding every step involved, knowing that each home and transaction will be different. REALTORS® guide their clients through the listing, search, and offer processes, and then make sure all terms agreed to in the contract are fulfilled and done on time. They do this in coordination with lenders and escrow officers, etc., to ensure the financing and legal transfer of the property are done correctly.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. 

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for July, CLICK HERE.

 

August
16

Cideries to Visit in Boise

Boise Cider

The end of summer and early fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy a crisp hard cider, made right here in the Boise area.

Hard cider is such a unique and enjoyable beverage. Many ciders are sweet enough to appeal to those who find wine too dry or beer too intense. And yet, there are also some dry ciders that appeal to dry wine and IPA drinkers. The Boise community is home to several great cideries, which our real estate agents recommend visiting while you're in the area.

  • Meriwether Cider House: 224 N. 9th Street, Boise, ID 83702
    Meriwether Cider House is a small, friendly cider bar in the downtown area. Not only do they make and serve their own cider, but they also stock ciders from all over the world. Their own cider is brewed using apples from the midwest, and sometimes also with other local fruit, such as cherries and plums.

    A favorite at Meriwether Cider House is their Foothills Semi-Dry cider, which is crisp and bubbly. If you're in the mood for something fruitier, the Blackberry Book and Strong Arm Semi-Sweet are both wise choices.

  • Good Apple Taphouse: 1728 E. McMillan Rd. Ste 160, Meridian, ID 83646
    Good Apple Taphouse is a modern taproom with a spacious outdoor seating area and a comfortable interior. The owners were born and raised in Boise, and they are very involved in the local community. Plus, the taproom is near Meridian homes for sale.

    Good Apple Taphouse offers a selection of ciders from producers like Edge Brewing Company, One Tree Hard Cider, and 2 Towns Cider House. They also offer a good selection of craft beers. If you want to take more home to enjoy later, they can clean and fill your personal growler. They also offer a variety of canned and bottled ciders to-go. 

  • CopenRoss Growlers: 5120 W. Overland Rd., Boise, ID 83705
    With 70 taps featuring cider, beer, kombucha, and other drinks, CopenRoss Growlers is the perfect spot to grab a pint with your friends after a long day of looking at Boise homes for sale. They serve cider and beer by the 32 and 64-ounce growler. You can then enjoy it on-site or take it home.

    The beer list here is really well organized, so you can skip right down to the cider section if that's what you prefer. Favorites include The Bad Apple by 2 Towns Ciderhouse and SpACE by The California Cider Company.

  • The Growler Guys: 2020 E. Overland Rd. Ste 100, Meridian, ID 83642
    The Growler Guys is another taproom that does not exclusively serve cider but has a good cider selection nonetheless. They have 54 taps, and while they do sell a lot of take-home growlers, they let you enjoy a pint on-site, too.

    One of the top ciders on tap is The Huckleberry Cider, brewed by Edge. Magic Berry from Rambling Route is also popular, as well as the Lemon-Basil cider from One Tree Hard Cider.

  • Edge Brewing Company: 525 Steelhead Way, Boise, ID 83704
    Edge Brewing Company has an awesome pub where you can sip their cider while also enjoying a meal. They have many great beers, but their Huckleberry cider brings lots of customers in the door! It's served in a pint glass, and you can buy 12-ounce cans to take home.

    Edge's Huckleberry Cider pairs perfectly with their Korean Pork Skewers or their Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad. It's a nice match for the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, too!

There's always something fun to try in the Boise area! Stop by one of these top spots to enjoy a hard cider, and contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent in Boise.

August
2

Does Your Home Need More Natural Light?

Spokane Lighting

Plentiful natural light is one of the top factors that can help sell a home. Experts are quick to tout the benefits of natural light in spurring home sales: not only does natural light help you cut back on energy usage, but it also seems to provide certain health benefits. What's more, potential homebuyers appear to respond better to well-lit homes than to dark ones. If you're thinking of listing your home among Boise homes for sale, you may want to assess your home's natural light and determine if there are ways to boost the light quotient.

Here are some suggestions for augmenting natural light in your home. 

  1. Add mirrors.
    Adding a mirror will indeed make a room look larger, but an even better trick is to hang a mirror opposite of a window. A mirror can reflect double the amount of light that's shining through the window. Hanging shiny objects on the walls and opposite from the window will also help. Some items in addition to decorative wall mirrors you can hang in your home that will bounce light around: furniture with glass or mirrored accents; silver photo frames; metallic finishes on the ceiling; decorative nickel cabinet pulls; and metallic light fixtures and faucets.

  2. Install larger or more windows.
    This might seem like a pretty drastic step, but if your home needs new windows anyway, you might consider it -- particularly if your home is in serious need of more light. Picture, bow, or bay windows are just the thing to open up your home to more natural light.

  3. Let light in with retro-looking glass blocks in an exterior wall section.
    This retro look is totally contemporary now, particularly with unique textures and shading to complement your architectural style. It's a subtle way to let light in without sacrificing security, privacy, or energy efficiency. 

  4. Open up the ceiling with skylights.
    Skylights let light into your home through the ceiling. Just make sure you have a pro to do the work, so the installation doesn't cause issues for your roof. Skylights are usually ideal in single-story bathrooms and family rooms.

  5. Solar tubes, anyone?
    If you don't have a single-story room that lends itself to a skylight, maybe your home is right for a solar tube. These are reflective, twisting pipes that can be as long as 30 feet from the roof to the ceiling. Available in diameters of 10-14 inches, they cause minimal interference with drywall or paint. The tubes can bring in the equivalent of three 100-watt light bulbs in the smallest size. 

  6. Lighten up.
    Go light when it comes to interior paint or furnishings. Lighter colors will reflect light, while darker walls and furnishing will absorb light. Painting the ceiling lighter than the walls is another trick to make the room look bigger, as well as taller and brighter. A shiny satin or semi-gloss paint will boost the reflective properties of the walls. Select a light-colored sofa or loveseat.

Our real estate agents have valuable experience that can help you sell your home quicker. Contact us today.

July
14

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Homebuying in 2021

At Idaho Central Credit Union, we know how overwhelming the task of purchasing a home can be, especially in this market! As exciting and life-changing as it is, the process of buying a home can also be very emotional. ICCU's home loan specialists are here to help you through the rollercoaster and make the transition to home ownership as smooth as possible.

We have broken down several emotions you can expect to feel on the journey to becoming a home owner, and some unique benefits that ICCU offers to help along the way!

Excitement

The excitement is palpable! You've decided to make one of the largest purchases of your life! The options are endless and the housing market is your oyster. What will you choose?

Getting a preapproved letter from an ICCU Mortgage Loan Officer can make this process go smoothly. Some realtors require house hunters to be pre-qualified to save buyers and sellers time. In order to get pre-qualified, our lenders will want to see employment status, income, debt-to-income ratio, and your credit report. We can then help you determine how much you can afford and what type of loan is best for your situation.

We have several different tools to help you in these beginning stages of searching for your dream home. The Rent vs Buy Calculator takes into consideration taxes, insurance, and other fees when debating whether you should rent or take the plunge into home ownership. The Mortgage Qualifier Calculator will help you determine how much you can comfortably afford to borrow.

Frustration

The house hunting is the fun part! However, there may not be as many options as you thought, and the housing market in certain price ranges can sometimes be a bit slim. Once you're preapproved for a price, there are several things to consider such as square footage, school districts, property trends, and real estate taxes. While some of these factors may be negotiable, there are some that are deal-breakers, and it is easier to have these decisions made before looking at certain houses.

Market conditions can change quickly and the high hopes that you had for your dream house may change along with it. After looking around and seeing what types of homes are in your area that fit your budget, ICCU is here to help you decide if buying, upgrading, or building is the best option for you.

Disappointment

Many things can go wrong during the initial stages of the house-hunting process. It can be easy to fall head over heels in love with a house, but you may get outbid or the seller could reject your offer. In a seller's market, there may be several offers on a desirable home very quickly. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed and disappointed if a bidding war ensues or if you feel the need to continue increasing your offers. Keep your head up and your mind open though! The house of your dreams may be just around the corner.

Determination

Making an offer on a house and getting it accepted is the end of the road, right? Not quite so fast! While the first step to owning your dream house is making an official offer and getting it accepted, there is still a lot to do, and determination will be needed to get you to closing!

A home inspection is usually necessary to find out what problems the house has before you move in. A home appraisal is also needed to give current value to your potential property before your mortgage loan can be processed. Expensive problems with the property found during inspection or discrepancies in the appraisal can both bring more demanding decisions. Our Mortgage Loan Officers have seen every type of complication when it comes to purchasing a home, and we are ready to guide you through these financial decisions!

Relief

Once you've closed on your home, you can breathe a sigh of relief, and start packing. Congratulations, all of those emotions will pay off once you have those keys in hand and the welcome mat set. You are officially a homeowner!

We understand that no two paths to buying a home are the same. Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or a seasoned real estate mogul, we have a variety of products and loans designed specifically to meet your needs. We offer local underwriting and fast approvals to save you time and money. We have options for down payments and additional resources like our Finally Home! online program to help guide you through the home buying process. Contact one of our home loan specialists to discuss your options today!

 

July
9

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today's Real Estate Market

If you're searching for drama, don't limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs, the appraisal process is receiving more attention than ever. That's because, in a rapidly appreciating market, a property is more likely to appraise below the sales price—which can lead to major repercussions for both buyers and sellers.

It's never been more important to understand the appraisal process and the risks involved. It's also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you're a buyer) or overcompensating (if you're a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don't work—in today's unique real estate environment.

APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property's market value performed by an independent authorized appraiser. Mortgage lenders require an appraisal to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer defaults on their loan.

In most cases, a licensed appraiser will analyze the property's condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Appraisal requirements can vary by lender and loan type, and in today's market, in-person appraisal waivers have become much more common. If you're applying for a mortgage, be sure to ask your lender about their specific terms.

APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

An appraisal contingency is a standard inclusion in a home offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on a satisfactory appraisal wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price. This helps to reassure the buyer (and their lender) that they are paying fair market value for the home and allows them to cancel the contract if the appraisal is lower than expected.

Low appraisals are not common, but they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we're experiencing now. That's because appraisers must use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property's value. This could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today's comps may be lagging behind the market's current reality. Thus, the appraiser could be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.

HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

When a property appraises for less than the contract price, you end up with an appraisal gap. In a more balanced market, that could be cause for a renegotiation. In today's market, however, sellers often hold the upper hand.

That's why some buyers are using the potential for an appraisal gap as a way to strengthen their bids. They're proposing to take on some or all of the risk of a low appraisal by adding gap coverage or a contingency waiver to their offer.

Appraisal Gap Coverage

Buyers with some extra cash on hand may opt to add an appraisal gap coverage clause to their offer. It provides an added level of reassurance to the sellers that, in the event of a low appraisal, the buyer is willing and able to cover the gap up to a certain amount.

For example, let's say a home is listed for $200,000 and the buyers offer $220,000 with $10,000 in appraisal gap coverage. Now, let's say the property appraises for $205,000. The new purchase price would be $215,000. The buyers would be responsible for paying $10,000 of that in cash directly to the seller because, in most cases, mortgage companies won't include appraisal gap coverage in a home loan.

Waiving The Appraisal Contingency

Some buyers with a higher risk tolerance—and the financial means—may be willing to waive the appraisal contingency altogether. However, this strategy isn't for everyone and must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

It's important to remember that waiving an appraisal contingency can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back much lower than the contract price. Without an appraisal contingency, a buyer will be obligated to cover the difference or be forced to walk away from the transaction and relinquish their earnest money deposit to the sellers.

It's vital that both buyers and sellers understand the benefits and risks involved with these and other competitive tactics that are becoming more commonplace in today's market. We can help you chart the best course of action given your individual circumstances.

DON'T WAIVE YOUR RIGHT TO THE BEST REPRESENTATION

You need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done...no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you're a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you're a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

July
5

Trivia Night: Where to Play in Boise

Boise Trivia Night

Playing trivia with your friends is such a great way to connect and spend time together. You're sure to learn new, fun facts and be surprised by some of the things your friends know. There are plenty of bars and restaurants that host trivia nights in and around Boise. Here are some of the top places our real estate agents recommend.

  • Jumpin' Janets: 572 SouthVista Avenue, Boise, ID 83705
    Jumpin' Janet's hosts a trivia night every Wednesday at 8:00 pm. They usually draw a pretty big crowd, so you'll have plenty of competition. Wednesday is also the night they serve their weekly prime rib dinners, so you're in for quite a treat.

    Jumpin' Janets makes all of their food in-house from fresh ingredients. Their oyster shooters and hot wings are the perfect snacks to order and share with your crew on trivia night. Behind the bar, there's always a great selection of locally brewed beers on tap.

  • Burger Theory: 16245 N. Merchant Way, Boise, ID 83687
    If you're in the mood for a juicy burger, stop by Burger Theory for trivia night and Wednesday at 7 pm. The relaxed atmosphere makes this a fun place to compete with friends.

    Burger Theory is known for their Create-Your-Own burger menu. You get to choose everything, from the meat to the bun, to the cheese. Their sweet jars, like the apple crumb or key lime jar, are also really nice to snack on while you answer trivia questions.

  • Lost Grove Brewing: 1026 S. La Pointe St., Boise, ID 83706
    If you're looking at Boise homes for sale on a Thursday, stop by Lost Grove Brewing for some beer and trivia afterward. They host trivia every Thursday at 7:00 pm.

    Lost Grove is known for its unique brews. Favorites include Teddy Bear Picnic, a golden session ale, and Acid Raindrops, a sour. While they do not serve food, they do have food trucks regularly visit during trivia. Friendly dogs are welcome, too.

  • Eastside Tavern: 610 E. Boise Ave., Boise, ID 83706
    Eastside Tavern may be best-known as a local music venue, but they host many other fun events, too. Trivia is scheduled for Thursdays at 8:00 pm. 

    This is a bit of a smaller, more mellow venue and a good place to settle in and make new friends. They're always offering different shot and draft specials. If you arrive early for trivia, you can always play some shuffleboard or darts. They even have tournament games on other nights.

  • Eight Thirty Common: 830 Main Street, Suite 120, Meridian, ID 83642
    If you happen to be in the Meridian area looking at Meridian homes for sale, Eight Thirty Common is a great place to play trivia. They host games every Tuesday at 7:00. The restaurant even has a Happy Hour menu that they serve during this time.

    The Social Plates served at Eight Thirty common are perfect for sharing during trivia. If the game lasts longer than planned, you can enjoy some dessert, like a mason jar mud pie or cast iron apple pie.

Whether you play every week or just once in a while, trivia nights are such a great opportunity to connect with friends and make new ones. What could be better than answering obscure questions during Happy Hour? Check out some of these Boise venues, and contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent in the area.

June
17

From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

 

 

Good Hospitality Job Gains Fuel Hope in Promising Mortgage Market

Last week's labor report illustrated good hospitality job gains after a rough 2020. Overall, this continues to fuel hope in what's quickly becoming a promising mortgage market.

However, the job gains fell in line with current expectations. As a result, mortgage rates ended the week nearly unchanged.

Good Hospitality Job Gains

In May, the economy gained 559,000 jobs. Thus, May's job gains fell a little below the consensus forecast of 650,000.

Not only were there good hospitality job gains, the leisure sector realized economic strength as well. Again, this is after the economic nightmare of 2020. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, both the hospitality and the leisure sectors saw limited activity. Simultaneously, both sectors saw countless layoffs while the American economy spiraled. For now, it appears that the worst is over.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%. In conclusion, this dropped slightly below the consensus of 5.9%. On the other hand, average hourly earnings rose 2.0% higher than a year ago. In addition, the most recent average hourly earnings jumped up from an annual rate of increase of 0.4% last month. Generally, analysts view average hourly earnings as an indicator of wage growth.

Economic Prospects Aside from the Good Hospitality Job Gains

Even with another month of good hospitality job gains, the economy still has a long way to go. 2020 accounted for countless financial losses due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

While the economy faces a path to recovery, it has about seven million fewer jobs than it did early last year. Therefore, Fed officials desire to move slowly before tightening monetary policy.

Manufacturing Sector Update

Aside from the job gains spearheaded by the hospitality and leisure sectors, last week showed other economic news. The Institute of Supply Management (ISM) remained at very high levels, as expected.

The national manufacturing index rose to 61.2. Also, the national services index increased to 64.0. This is a record high.

Levels above 50 indicate that the sectors are expanding. Of note, a large number of companies reported difficulties in hiring enough workers to keep up with growing demand.

Looking Ahead After the Good Hospitality Job Gains

Looking ahead after the good hospitality job gains, investors monitor global COVID-19 case counts and the vaccine distribution. Analysts widely follow the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In essence, CPI looks at the price change for goods and services.

Commentary provided by MBSQuoteline

For answers to your questions regarding this information and what it might mean for you, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are here to help!

 

June
14

Ada County's Median Sales Price Sets Record

Ada County Median Home Prices Exceed $500,000 

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

 

Note: Last year, our May 2020 market report showed a nearly 30% drop in sales year-over-year in Ada County, the largest drop since 2008. Sales were down because REALTORS® and consumers heeded the statewide stay-home order that was in place at that time, and sales quickly rebounded as we moved through the phased re-opening plan. Since there will be stark fluctuations when comparing activity this year to last year, we will focus on month-over-month changes instead.  

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The median sales price for homes in Ada County reached a new record of $523,250 in May, up 8.7% compared to April 2021. Crossing this threshold may have been anticipated by some, considering the recent report from realtor.com shared by the Idaho Statesman noting that the Boise metro's price growth was the highest in the country over the past four years.

The Boise region has faced insufficient supply for years, which has been the main driver of home prices, but several factors have accelerated the growth in recent months. Buyer demand remains high due to historically low mortgage rates, and the added ability for more people to work remotely has likely increased in-migration due to our relative comparative affordability in comparison to more expensive metro areas.

Further, the supply of homes for sale continues to be restricted by longer homeownership tenure, baby boomers aging in place, and hesitancy from potential sellers who may be concerned about finding another home in these competitive market conditions.

New construction has often been an option for those looking to sell their existing home; however, due to rapid increases in material costs — especially lumber — coupled with supply chain disruptions, not only are new construction homes more expensive, some builders have held back available inventory until they are closer to delivery so they can price the property based on final materials costs. As a result, new construction home prices reached a median sales price record of $544,986 in May 2021 — an increase of 16.0% from the previous record of $469,900 in April 2021.

With delays in new home delivery, demand for existing homes that are ready to move-into, further increased. Prices followed suit with nearly 70% of buyers willing to pay over list price for existing homes in May 2021, compared to 30% from a year ago. This led to a new record median sales price for the existing segment of $523,250, up 8.7% from the previous record of $481,208 in April 2021.

However, the amount buyers were willing to pay over list price varied by the price point of the home, with the most expensive homes selling for the highest amount over list. For homes that sold at or above $750,000, buyers were willing to pay nearly $80,000 beyond list price, on average, in May 2021, putting additional upward pressure on the overall median sales price.

Average Paid Over List Price - Existing Homes - Ada

The speed at which Ada County homes went under contract also accelerated, as the average number of days between when a home was listed for sale and an offer was accepted dropped to a record low of 12 — two days faster than in April 2021. Existing homes had accepted offers within just nine days, on average, the shortest amount of time on record, and 10.0% faster than last month.

The drastic rise in home prices and competitive market conditions can be challenging for those looking to get into the market, particularly at the lower price points. Some may decide to wait awhile before starting their home search or continue to save for a down payment to improve their purchase options, while others may consider expanding their search area for homes farther from the Boise metro. But for those who are ready to buy, we want to stress that while it's taking more work to purchase a home right now, it isn't impossible to buy a home in the Treasure Valley. We have hundreds of sales closing just in Ada County every month and working with a REALTOR® is your best bet to help guide you through the fast and complex process.

When you're ready to start your home search, your REALTOR® will likely present a buyer representation agreement, giving them permission to work on your behalf, including the ability to write, present, and negotiate offers for you, once you find a home you'd like to purchase. Additionally, your agent can advise you on search strategies to find homes that fit your needs and budget and discuss the financial and legal implications of presenting offers over list price or that may waive certain contingencies like an inspection or appraisal, and whether those tactics are right for you and your specific situation.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. 

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for May, CLICK HERE.

 

June
7

Where to Order Ice Cream in Boise this Summer

Boise Ice Cream

As the weather starts to warm up in Boise, you might need some help staying cool. And what better way to stay cool than with ice cream? Whether you're a fan of sundaes or waffle cones, these are some of the top Boise ice cream shops our real estate agents recommend visiting.

  1. Delsa's Ice Cream Parlor: 7923 W. Ustick Rd., Boise ID, 83704
    After a long day of looking at Boise homes for sale, stop by Delsa's for some homemade ice cream. The ice cream parlor itself was originally a farmhouse built in the 1920s. Delsa's has won several awards, including Treasure Valley's Best Local Ice Cream.

    At this old-fashioned shop, you can order one, two, or three scoops of your chosen flavor, served up in a classic waffle cone. They have a rotating selection of 50 flavors! Guests also love the old-fashioned malts and shakes, along with the pecan balls, which are scoops of ice cream rolled in pecans and topped with hot fudge or caramel.

  2. Goody's Soda Fountain: 1502 N. 13th St., Boise ID, 83702
    In the heart of Boise's North End and historic Hyde Park, you'll delight in Goody's rich and yummy ice cream, made right in their store. Opened in Boise in 1997, family-owned Goody's has become a staple for young and old alike. 

    Don't stop at the ice cream! Goody's also features decadent hand-made chocolates, vintage candies, and delicious caramel corn. Take a stroll through Hyde Park this summer, and be sure to stop to feed your sweet tooth at Goody's!

  3. The STIL: 786 West Broad St., Boise ID, 83702
    The STIL is a modern ice cream shop seeking innovative new ways to enjoy this favorite dessert. They make everything in small batches, using Idaho dairy and fresh ingredients. "STIL" stands for "Sweetest Things in Life."

    The STIL is known for their line of booze-infused ice creams, like Highway 1, infused with cream ale and loaded with toffee and butterscotch. They also offer plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. 

  4. Blue Cow Frozen Yogurt: 2333 S. Apple St., Boise ID, 83706
    If you're trying to make healthier choices, trade your ice cream cone for some froyo at Blue Cow Frozen Yogurt. This cute shop lets you build your own yogurt treat, loading it with whatever toppings you desire, from strawberries to Twix bars. With low-fat, non-dairy, and no-sugar-added options, this shop offers something for everyone. They also serve bubble tea, another nice treat for a warm day. 

  5. Smallcakes: 9050 W. Overland Rd. #1130, Boise ID, 83709
    Their name might say "cake," but Smallcakes is also a creamery and a delicious one at that! The shop was founded by Jeff Martin, who appeared on the infamous show Cupcake Wars. The cupcakes are incredible, so consider ordering one alongside your ice cream.

    If your appetite is up to the challenge, you can't go wrong with Smallcakes' ice cream cookie sandwiches. You get two giant, fluffy cookies with a big scoop of ice cream between them. Each one is made to order, and there are three types of cookies to choose from.

  6. Bite Me: 3525 East Longwing Lane, Meridian ID, 83646
    If you happen to be looking at Meridian homes for sale, this is a great ice cream shop to check out. Bite Me allows customers to create their own custom ice cream bars. You get to choose your ice cream, watch it being dipped, and then select additional toppings, like Oreo crumbs or chopped pretzels.

    You can select one of Bite Me's specialty treats or create your own combination. 

Any one of these ice cream shops is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you fall in love with the Boise area and decide to stay, contact us to learn more about our real estate services.

May
18

Pets and Plants - What's Not Safe?

Boise North End

Now that spring has arrived, many of us are welcoming tulips, daffodils, and other perennials to our gardens. After a gray and gloomy winter, the bright blooms are a glorious sight!

Local stores and greenhouses are overflowing with colorful flowers, creating the yearly hustle to get pots and beds planted to adorn our homes. It's hard to believe that these beautiful posies could cause our pets harm, but, sadly, many can cause intestinal upset, and some can lead to death.

When making your shopping list, here are some spring plants that can cause serious harm to your four-legged family member. If you have any of these perennials/bulbs planted where your fur-kids can get to them, you might consider moving them to a different location.

All Lilies

Both blooms and leaves can result in kidney failure in cats. Many varieties, including peace lilies, calla lilies, and autumn crocus are dangerous to dogs, as well.

Daffodils

These beauties (including paperwhites and narcissus) contain lycorine that can be poisonous to pets. The toxins are primarily in the bulbs but leaves and blooms can also cause cardiac arrhythmias and convulsions.

Geraniums

Common in hanging baskets and pots, geraniums can cause skin rashes, low blood pressure, lethargy, and loss of appetite.

Tulips

Like daffodils, most of the toxins in tulips reside in the bulbs, however, the rest of the plant can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and excessive drooling.

Begonias

Popular for their ease of growth, begonias can thrive in many conditions, but can cause serious burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips.

Azaleas

Ingesting any part of this plant can result in vomiting, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

For printable lists of toxic and non-toxic plants, visit ASPCA.org.

May
13

Housing Market Pace and Prices Pick Up in April

Our Area's Insufficient Supply of Homes Continues to Affect the Market Pace and Home Prices 

By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

 

Note: Last year, our April 2020 market report showed a nearly 20% drop in sales year-over-year in Ada County, a figure not seen since 2011. This did not come as a surprise as REALTORS® and consumers heeded the statewide stay-home order that was in place at that time, and as anticipated, sales rebounded as we moved through the phased re-opening plan. Since there will be stark fluctuations when comparing activity this year to last year, we will present any year-over-year comparisons with both 2020 and 2019 figures, where applicable, but focus on month-over-month changes in the next few reports.

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The speed at which Ada County homes went under contract accelerated in April 2021 as the average number of days between when a home was listed for sale and an offer was accepted dropped to a record low of 14 — 36.4% faster than in March 2021. Existing homes had accepted offers within an average of just 10 days — 28.6% faster than last month.

The fast pace of the market was due to the insufficient supply of homes for sale compared to buyer demand. This imbalance in supply versus demand, as well as the fact that nearly 70% of buyers of existing/resale homes paid more than the list price last month, put upward pressure on home prices. The median sales price in April reached a record $489,000 for existing/resale homes — up 2.8% from March 2021.

Another factor impacting price was the historically low mortgage rates, which enabled some buyers to purchase at these higher price points, or, allowed them to increase their offers to be more competitive. In April 2021, the 30-year fixed rate was at 3.1%, on average, compared to 3.3% in April 2020 and 4.1% in April 2019.

As more homes sell above the listed price, many sellers rely on research provided by their REALTOR® to set the price initially and what they will accept.

REALTORS® offer sellers guidance when it comes to setting their list price by comparing similar homes that recently sold nearby or are currently on the market, making adjustments for square footage, upgrades, amenities, location, and so on. Your agent might suggest various pricing strategies to ensure the home is listed within common price range searches to get in front of more buyers, or, suggest a price below similar market comparables to encourage more offers, which often results in higher sales-to-list price ratios or multiple offer situations.

Ultimately, the decision on what the property will be listed for is made by the seller based on their goals, and the sold price is determined by what buyers are willing to pay.

New construction home prices also reached a median sales price record of $469,900 in April 2021 — an increase of 1.9% from March 2021. In addition to buyer demand, prices for new homes reflect the ever-increasing cost of materials, especially lumber. Using the most recent data available, through March 2021, the national price of lumber and wood products increased by 28.8% since 2020, and by 30.5% since 2019.

These costs are being passed along to homebuyers, and due to the uncertainty in the availability and price of materials, some builders are holding back available inventory until they are closer to delivery so they can price the property based on the actual build cost.

Producer Price Index by Commodity - Lumber and Wood Products

But because some prospective sellers are also holding back existing homes from the market — sometimes due to concerns over COVID-19, but more often so they can find their next home before listing their current one — the extreme lack of existing supply has made new homes less expensive, on average, than existing homes for the past three months.

These unprecedented trends of new homes selling for less than existing homes, the willingness of buyers to pay over list price, and the record fast market times illustrate the incredible demand we've been experiencing, driven by low rates and insufficient supply.

One trend we hope to see continue was the uptick in inventory between March and April. The number of homes for sale was up 22.4% month-over-month with 361 homes available at the end of April. Additionally, another 671 homes became available and went under contract during the month, for existing and new construction combined. While the market is moving fast, these figures show that inventory is available.

If you're considering selling, reach out to a REALTOR® today to get current and hyper-local research to guide your list price decisions and to expose your home to the widest pool of potential buyers through the multiple listing service.

Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. 

To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for April, CLICK HERE.

 

May
17

Helpful Tips for Starting a Compost Pile

Composting Tips

Compost is so often the key to a beautiful, healthy garden; however, many people shy away from composting because they believe it's too complicated or messy. With the right combination of ingredients, composting can be easy and odorless and can make a huge difference in your garden.

Many of these Boise homes for sale have beautiful gardens, which are likely a result of a good compost pile. If you've been thinking about composting, below are some tips to help you get started.

  1. What Is Composting?
    Compost is a collection of decomposing organic materials that can be added to your garden to enrich the soil and promote plant growth. Compost is a nutrient-rich substance comprised of the right combination of food scraps and yard waste. Compost provides humic acid and microbes to your soil, which delivers nutrients to plants.

  2. How To Make Good Compost
    The key to making good compost is to strike the right balance between carbon and nitrogen. For the most effective, best-smelling compost, our real estate agents usually recommend a carbon (brown materials) to nitrogen (green materials) ratio of 25 to 1. If you add too much carbon, the decomposition process will be slow. If you add too much nitrogen, your pile may be stinky, messy, and attract unwanted animals or pests. 

  3. Start With A Good Container
    You don't need to go overboard with a container. It just needs to be capable of holding all of your ingredients. Wooden crates or wired cages can work. However, an actual bin is usually your best option as it's capable of retaining heat, which helps increase decomposition. Keep in mind, your compost must be turned on a regular basis to promote oxygen. As a result, some people invest in a compost tumbler, which can be easily rotated.

  4. Add Carbon Materials
    Brown materials are rich in carbon and include tree branches, newspaper, napkins, cardboard, sawdust (non-treated wood), coffee filters, tea bags, leaves, hay, and straw. Carbon materials should make up the majority of your compost. Remember, aim for a 25:1 carbon to nitrogen ratio.

  5. Add Green Materials
    Green materials contain nitrogen and are an essential part of your compost pile. Grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, leftover food, tea bags, and eggshells are all items rich in nitrogen. Remember, your compost pile only needs a small amount of nitrogen in relation to carbon. 

  6. Items Not To Include In Compost
    There are some items that should never be included in compost. Anything that contains meat, oil, or grease, treated wood, pet feces, and dairy products should never be included in compost. These materials will not only smell bad, but they'll also attract animals and unwanted insects.

  7. How Long Does It Take To Make Compost?
    The composting process can take anywhere from three months to a year. The timing ultimately depends on the items you use, the carbon/nitrogen balance, heat exposure, and oxygen exposure. One way to increase how quickly your compost decomposes is to shred your carbon items before adding them.

Compost is so important when it comes to gardening and the environment. For more landscaping tips, contact us today.

May
3

Why Boise's North End is a Great Place to Call Home

Boise North End

Why are sources like Inman, the leading real estate news site, pointing to Boise's North End as one of the country's hottest neighborhoods? Our real estate agents have long known what others are just now learning. Here's why Boise's North End is a great place to call home.

  • Hyde Park - 1413-1620 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702
    The one in London may be more famous, but when it comes to urban centers, the North End's Hyde Park can't be beat. Named to the National Register of Historic Places for its unique architecture, Hyde Park blends the charm of Boise's past with the vibrant shops, services, and amenities of the present. Each fall, Hyde Park hosts its annual street fair, a fundraiser for the North End Neighborhood Association that draws 40,000 people over a weekend.

  • Goody's - 1502 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702
    When it comes to their homemade ice cream and chocolates, Goody's slogan is, "Only Too Much Is Enough!" Originally founded in Sunriver, OR by the Palmateer family, Goody's quickly became a North End favorite when son Brett opened the Boise location in 1997. The old-fashioned soda fountain and glass jars of candy enhance the shop's retro appeal. Choose from classic favorites like egg creams or contemporary treats such as Express-O-Ly Yours, a coffee-flavored sundae that's perfect for the Pacific Northwest. Goody's is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. - 10 p.m.

  • Camel's Back Park - 1200 W. Heron St., Boise, ID 83702
    Whether you prefer team sports or solo fitness activities, there's no better place than Camel's Back Park. In addition to an outdoor gym, accessible playground, and tennis and volleyball courts, the park has spacious open play areas for visitors of all ages. Park hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

  • Hulls Gulch Reserve - 3001 N. Sunset Peak Rd., Boise, ID 83702
    Perched above the Boise skyline, at the base of the Foothills, is Hulls Gulch Reserve. This 292-acre area forms a connection with Ridge to Rivers, a network of multi-use trails extending more than 190 miles that are tended by a full-time crew of volunteers. Hulls Gulch features a pet-friendly 6.3-mile loop trail with wildflowers and a waterfall. Great horned owls, mule deer, coyotes, and red foxes are just a few of the wildlife species that are often spotted throughout the year. Hours are sunrise to sunset, seven days a week.

  • Bogus Basin - 2600 N. Bogus Basin Rd., Boise, ID 83702
    Boise's outdoor glory is on display all year long at Bogus Basin, less than 20 miles from the North End. The "community mountain" is the site of downhill and cross-country skiing in the winter and tubing, hiking, and mountain biking during summer. Don't miss a ride on the Glade Runner, a thrilling mountain coaster that twists and turns 4,330 feet through wooded terrain. Visit the website for a full list of activities along with schedules and prices.

  • Downtown Boise - 850 W. Front St., Boise, ID 83702
    When you're craving the culture and entertainment of the city, downtown Boise is less than 10 minutes away. Shop till you drop, check out a new restaurant, or view the latest exhibit at the Boise Art Museum. It's all waiting for you.

Boise regularly sits at or near the top of national rankings of best places to live, so you can't go wrong with Boise homes for sale in any neighborhood. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson to learn more.

April
19

Malware & Viruses are Increasing!

 

Keep Your Online Information Safe

From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

During this time people are conducting a lot of business via email, spending money online, and trying to find information online. Please be vigilant when opening emails, browsing the internet, downloading free software or games, and clicking on links in email and on the internet.

  • Fake emails from Amazon, Paypal, TurboTax, etc. are a daily occurrence. For most users, your spam filtering on your email account picks these types of emails up.  However, some do get through.  Please be extremely cautious opening these emails or downloading attachments from them. Please check the email address first and foremost, if the email does not line up with the company, mark it as junk and disregard.  Then mouse over (DO NOT CLICK ON) the links in the email; do they take you to a legitimate website? If not, mark it as junk and disregard.  If you have any questions about the validity of an email you can always send it to us at info@integrityidaho.net.  (Be forewarned, if we do not respond within 24 hours, it may have gone into our own junk folder.  Please call our office for a follow-up if necessary.)
  • Malicious pop-ups on the internet are worse than ever. They usually take over your computer, are very loud with either an alarm or voice telling you your computer is infected, and request you call a number for "tech support".  Usually, a simple reboot can clear this from your machine.  First, try CTRL+ALT+Delete to correctly reboot your computer, however, in most instances, we are finding that you will have to hard reboot, aka push the power button until the computer shuts down. After you reboot and go back on the internet, make sure to click the option to NOT restore the previous session. 
  • Browser hijackers are also increasing.  You go to a website or download a program and it asks to install an extension… you allow it and then your entire browser is infected.  In many instances, we are having to reload computers due to these, as they sometimes install extensions in your internet browser and affect your registry.
  • Click-bait articles, product advertisements, and videos are also a rising nuisance as people try to seek out information on Covid-19 and the correlating vaccines.  If it seems outrageous or too good to be true, please do not click on it! Only click on trusted sources only when searching for information or buying products.

    If you have any questions about updates, pop-ups, emails, or need a clean-up, this can be done remotely.  Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com if you need immediate assistance.

    April
    19

    7 Famous Foods from the Boise Area

    Boise Famous Foods

    Yes, the term "Idaho potatoes" is as classic as "Florida oranges" or "Maine lobster," but the culinary scene in Idaho includes much more. Our real estate agents recommend these seven famous foods that can be found at restaurants around Boise homes for sale

    1. Finger Steaks - Sockeye Brewing, 12542 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, ID 83713 
      These crispy, juicy nuggets, iconic in southern Idaho, are essentially chicken tenders made with beef instead of poultry. The finger steaks at Sockeye Brewing are dipped in a batter made with Hell-Diver Pale Ale and served with a side of cocktail sauce.

    2. Huckleberries - Delsa's Homemade Ice Cream & Restaurant - 7923 W. Ustick Rd., Boise, ID 83704
      Did you know it takes huckleberries up to 15 years to reach full maturity? No wonder this state fruit of Idaho is packed with so much flavor. Get a double dose of this sweet yet tart delicacy at Delsa's Homemade Ice Cream & Restaurant, which features huckleberry ice cream and cheesecake with huckleberry topping.

    3. Morel Mushrooms - Wild Plum Luncheonette, 1621 N. Orchard St., Boise, ID 83706
      Limited availability and their distinctive, sponge-like appearance give morel mushrooms an almost mythical status. Morel hunters have their own foraging secrets and jealously guard the locations of their favorite spots. At Wild Plum Luncheonette, warm beans and morels make an exotic alternative to traditional side dishes such as potato salad or coleslaw.

    4. Trout - Trillium, 245 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
      Even legendary fishing enthusiast Ernest Hemingway was drawn to Idaho for its epic abundance of trout-filled waters. If you order trout at a local restaurant, chances are it was caught within the previous 24 to 48 hours. With its emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Trillium is one of the top places in Boise to dine on trout. 

    5. Croquetas - Basque Market, 608 W. Grove St., Boise, ID 83702
      Did you know that Boise is home to one of the largest populations of Basque heritage found outside of the Basque Country? As a result, the city's food landscape includes some international flair. Sample this flavorful cuisine at the Basque Market with their pintxos menu, which is a Basque version of tapas. Customers keep coming back for croquetas, a delicious fried pocket filled with béchamel sauce and various ingredients such as ham, mushrooms, or manchego cheese.

    6. Bison Burger - Boise Fry Co., 204 N. Capitol Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
      Idaho ranks #1 for potato production in the country, but livestock accounts for just over one-third of the state's agricultural income. Enjoy both signature products of Idaho farms at Boise Fry Co. Order a burger of local, grass-fed bison meat with a side of fries made with your choice of six different potatoes. 

    7. Ice Cream Potato - Westside Drive-In, 1929 W. State St., Boise, ID 83702
      No list of famous foods around Boise would be complete without a mention of spuds, so we saved the best for last. The ice cream potato at Westside Drive-In earned the popular eatery a spot on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. A generous potato-shaped serving of vanilla ice cream is rolled in cocoa and topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 

    Boise is a perfect blend of urban attractions and small-town charm. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson for dedicated and knowledgeable help buying or selling your Boise home.

    April
    13

    What's Causing Our Competitive Real Estate Market?

    Insufficient Supply Causing Our Competitive Housing Market 

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    Anyone looking to buy a home has heard of or experienced the fast pace of the real estate market. In March 2021, the average number of days between when a home was listed for sale and received an offer to purchase was 22 — 50.0% faster than in March 2020. Offers were accepted even faster for existing homes with an average of 14 days — 24.1% faster than a year ago.

    The insufficient supply of available homes compared to buyer demand is the main reason the market is moving so quickly, and the competitiveness of the market continued to impact home prices. The median sales price in March was at $475,500 for existing homes — up 35.0% year-over-year, due in part to buyers often paying more than the list price to make their offer stand out.

    REALTORS® offer guidance and expertise to sellers when it comes to list price, but ultimately the decision on what the property should be listed for is set by the seller. Further, the sold price is determined by what buyers are willing to pay and which offer is accepted by the seller. With our competitive market conditions, there are often reports of homes selling significantly over list price, which may be a part of the pricing strategy.

    On average last month, existing/resale homes in Ada County sold for approximately $18,000 over list price. If you're searching for a home, this is certainly something to keep in mind. Your REALTOR® can pull recently sold comparables to see what homes similar to what you are looking for are selling at, including how much over list. If it's a significant difference, consider reducing the top end of your price range so you're still looking at homes that could be purchased within your overall budget, where possible.

    Speaking of budget, working with a mortgage lender early on is crucial. For buyers that have credit concerns or questions about saving for a down payment, creating and implementing a plan well before you begin searching for a home will allow you to shop confidentiality when you're ready. Lenders may also help identify down payment programs or grants to help first-time homebuyers, for example, especially where affordability is a concern.

    Ryan Froehlich, President of the Idaho Mortgage Lenders Association Boise Chapter, noted that "one of the main drivers of housing affordability are interest rates, which have pushed up off of the historic lows experienced during much of 2020, however, continue to be very low giving borrowers strong buying power. Rates fluctuate daily and a great indicator for rate movement is to watch 10-year treasury bond yields, which as of this past week have been pointing to a slight downward trend in rates. With that said, if you have a property under contract the recommendation is to lock your rate as the bond markets can be dynamic. As the number of COVID-19 vaccinations continues to build and the economy continues to open back up there looks to be more pressure on upward rate movement, hopefully in a gradual and natural fashion."

    Historically low rates are continuing to drive demand from prospective home buyers, along with rising rental costs. As reported by KTVB, "Boise rent has gone up 16% since March 2020, according to a study done by Apartment List. The study also said Boise rent rose 3.4% in March 2021." Additionally, the desire to own a home and move away from rentals – in some cases from larger metro areas, due to COVID-19 – have also been factors increasing home buyer demand.

    Looking at our March 2020 report, we were unsure of the impact the pandemic would have on the local real estate market, which we now know has roared back despite a few months of limited activity last year. We will do our best to provide context to year-over-year figures in the next few months of reports – keeping in mind that sales activity for April and May, in particular, might look high in comparison to 2020 since sales were dampened in those months as a result of the statewide stay-home order.

    Although real estate was deemed essential in Idaho, the level of general uncertainty put a lot of home buyers and sellers on pause. In July, we began seeing year-over-year increases in existing/resale sales, while listing activity remained below 2019 levels throughout most of last year. This, compounded with the overall trend of year-over-year declines in existing inventory since 2014, further contributed to the insufficient supply compared to the demand problem we find ourselves in today.

    However, there are still homes available for purchase, even if they are selling quickly or over list price. These competitive conditions mean it is imperative for prospective buyers to work with a REALTOR® to help them through the process. Sellers, too, are finding that their REALTORS® provide tremendous value in helping them determine the best pricing strategy based on current market conditions specific to their property and managing multiple offer situations.

    If you are considering buying a home soon or anytime this year, talk to a REALTOR® right away. Together, you can make a plan that works best for your timeline, especially if you need to coordinate selling your current home and would like to negotiate a rent-back agreement.

    In this pre-purchase stage, your REALTOR® and mortgage lender will advise you on what's needed to prepare your search process, such as qualifying for a mortgage, firming up your down payment funds, establishing your search criteria, and timeframe. They can also prepare you for the financial and legal implications related to a home purchase, most importantly what to expect when making offers, including offers over list price, ways to compete with cash offers, how to avoid fair housing violations by skipping the buyer "love letter", holding off on any large purchases or credit pulls to protect your loan qualification, and discussing any contingencies that a seller may request be waived, such as an inspection or appraisal, and how that may create risk for you… and more.

    Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

    In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. To find a REALTOR®, please visit realtor.com/realestateagents.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for March, CLICK HERE.

     

    April
    5

    Your Guide to Getting Your Boise Garden Started

    Boise Garden TipsWarmer temperatures are rapidly approaching, and now is the time to think about your Boise garden. What would you like to add this season? From flowering plants to veggies, you'll have a lot of options to consider.
      
    Our real estate agents offer the following guide to getting your Boise garden started, from helpful tips to stores that are worth a visit:

    Helpful tips  

    1. Start with a plan.
      Take the time to plan your garden's layout and design before you put anything in the ground. Check out local garden stores to see what types of flower and vegetable plants and seeds are available, and plan out your space on a piece of graph paper. It's not important to be exact but map out an estimate of space and the location of existing plants, sun and shade hours, and where sources of water are located.
        
    2. Consult a planting guide for the Boise area.
      Following a planting guide to ensure that you're getting each type of plant into the ground at the correct time. If you plant too soon, you run the risk that they could be damaged by a late frost. The frost-free growing season for the Boise area starts on May 22 and ends on October 6, so some plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, should be started indoors and then later transplanted into your garden.
        
    3. Consider weed control.  
      Weeds can compete with your garden plants for space and nutrients from the soil, so take steps to reduce them before they have a chance to gain a foothold in your garden. If you're planting seeds in your garden, do it as soon as possible after tilling so weeds don't get a head start. Adding mulch like an organic material or fabric, and pulling weeds by hand are methods that will help reduce weeds.

    Local garden shops to visit  

    • Zamzows – several Boise locations, including 6313 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, Idaho 83704
      Zamzows is a go-to store for most of your garden-related needs, including weed control products, soil amendments, bug control, and more. You can also expand your gardening knowledge with the store's classes, including one that covers everything you need to know about growing and caring for berries. 
        
    • The Home & Garden Store – 4291 S. Cloverdale Rd., Boise, Idaho 83709
      You'll find plenty of plants, soil amendments, chemicals and fertilizers, and more at The Home & Garden Store. The shop also carries a wide variety of other gardening supplies, and if you need some advice on where or what to plant or how to deal with pests, the staff – including an Idaho-Certified Nurseryman with over 46 years of experience – is friendly and knowledgeable.
        
    • North End Organic Nursery – 3777 W. Chinden Blvd., Garden City, Idaho 83714   
      Want to make your garden organic? Then you'll want to visit North End Organic Nursery, which carries 100% organic fertilizers, pest and weed control products, and more. Over 300 varieties of certified organic vegetable starters are sold, so you can transplant them this spring and get your garden off to a great start. You'll also be able to select edible, native, and water-conserving plants for your garden to make it more environmentally friendly. And if you have questions, the nursery always has qualified horticulturalists on hand to help.

    Contact us if you're interested in looking at Boise homes for sale or would like to sell your home. Our agents know the area and its housing market very well and can help you buy or sell a home. 

    March
    12

    Beware of Fake Tax Websites

     

    Millions of Dollars are Lost Each Year to Tax Scams

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    The IRS provides a comprehensive list of things to look out for here: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts

    However, we are noticing a new trend on the rise; fake tax websites that mimic or look similar to TurboTax, or other popular online tax filing services.   We are also seeing a rise in phishing emails and malicious pop-ups claiming to be from these well-known tax filing sites.

    What can you do to protect yourself and your tax information?

    1. Make sure your computer is updated before starting and logging into any online tax service.
    2. Make sure your computer is clean before starting and logging into any online tax service. We recommend that you run malware removal software each time you login to any online tax program. (MalwareBytes is a free malware removal program that can be downloaded here: https://www.malwarebytes.com/mwb-download/ Select your operating system under the home section and install.)
    3. Do not visit a tax site from an email or advertisement on Google. Check the web address and make sure you are going to the correct site.  All tax sites have an SSL which means there is security on the site for logging in.  The address should always start with https:// Be cautious of any numbers, letters, or weird domain extensions in the web address.
    4. Do not click on any or call any numbers from popups that say they are from customer support.
    5. Be careful when calling for support, call the number from the tax filing website, not the ones from Google search results.
    6. When saving a copy of your tax return, password protect it. This can be done with Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader) or by putting it into a zip file. Or print and save a paper copy in a secure location.

     

    Please call our office at 208-288-4345 or email us at info@integrityidaho.com if you have any questions or would like an appointment to help with any of the above.

    March
    15

    Quick Sales & Home Prices Driven By Insufficient Supply

    Insufficient Supply & Rising Home Prices Continue 

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    Builders and prospective home sellers have been unable to keep up with the persistent demand from homebuyers, stemming from general population growth, Millennials "aging into" the traditional homeownership years, in-migration due to our comparative affordability, and now, the ability for many to work from anywhere.​

    These reasons, coupled with historically low​ mortgage rates, have resulted in buyer demand outpacing supply for years, which has been driving​ the growth in home prices and increasing the speed of the market.​ In February 2021, the median sales price was $452,400 — up 25.5% year-over-year — and the average days on market metric was 19 days — down 62.0% year-over-year.

    Rising home prices are good news for​ prospective sellers, allowing them to utilize​ any equity gained to help with the purchase​ of their next home or a variety of other opportunities. According to a recent Homeowner Equity Insights report from CoreLogic, Idaho ranked second among all states in which homeowners gained the most equity between 2019 and 2020, $48,500 on average year-over-year.

    Despite the equity sellers may bring to their next purchase, the tight supply of inventory has made some hesitate to put their current home up for sale until they find their next one.

    At the end of February 2021, there were just 168 existing homes for sale — 51.2% fewer than in February 2020. However, there were 65 more homes for sale at the end of February than in January, an increase of 63.1% month-over-month, which we hope is an early indicator of more inventory coming online as the weather warms up.

    Looking at weekly activity through the second week of March, new listings were nearly even with 2020 and just below 2019. This is a trend BRR will continue to monitor, keeping in mind any year-over-year comparisons to April 2020 will be skewed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

    For those shopping in the new construction segment, there were just 135 homes for sale at the end of February — 80.6% less than the same month last year, and a month-over-month decrease of 18.7%. However, we have heard from some builders that they are selling properties yet-to-be-built, meaning more new homes are available than indicated in the inventory counts.

    This tight supply has contributed to the fast, competitive market with homes receiving accepted offers quickly after being listed. Looking at just the existing/resale segment, in February, homes were on the market for just 10 days on average, compared to 32 days last year — a decrease of 68.8% and the fastest we have on record.

    New Listings by Week for Existing - Ada County

    If you are considering selling your home soon or anytime this year, talk to a REALTOR® right away. Together, you can make a plan that will coordinate your sale and purchase around a timeline that best suits you, keeping these fast market times in mind.

    In this planning stage and as part of this pre-sale consultation, your REALTOR® will advise you on what's needed to prepare your home, such as how to declutter, how much to invest in staging, repairs, or updates (or even if that is needed) and will then coordinate the professional marketing to help your home show best and be seen by the widest audience of potential buyers.

    Your REALTOR® can also prepare you for the financial and legal implications related to your home sale and purchase, including, but not limited to the following:

    • Determining the appropriate pricing strategy based on nearby sales and the demand for homes like yours.
    • How to best evaluate multiple offers and which contingencies you are willing to accept from buyers (or not).
    • How to avoid fair housing violations when marketing the home and evaluating offers.
    • Tips to keep you safe and your property secure as it relates to COVID-19, audio and video recording devices, property photos, and other potential risk factors.
    • Disclosure of adverse material facts that may be present on the property and whether a pre-listing inspection or home warranty may be worthwhile.
    • Ways to mitigate any capital gains tax, utilize a 1031 tax-deferred exchange or bridge loan, whether or not you should consider a leaseback… and much more.
    Stages of a Real Estate Transaction

    In each of our reports in 2021, BRR is focusing on the various phases of a real estate transaction to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market. 

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for February, CLICK HERE.

     

    March
    1

    Mountain Biking Trails to Explore in Boise

    Mountain Biking Trails Boise

    Ready to spend some time in the great outdoors? Mountain biking provides an invigorating workout in wide open, natural spaces, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Our real estate agents love to let off some steam at these favorite mountain biking trails, conveniently located in and around Boise. This time of year can be tricky weatherwise, so before you head out, be sure to check trail conditions at the Ridge-to-Rivers website, and please, please stay off muddy trails.

    1. Around the Mountain - 10.1 miles
      With its scenic route circling Bogus Basin Ski Resort, Around the Mountain gets high marks from riders as the best all-around trail near Boise homes for sale. Starting near the parking lot of Simplot Lodge, the trail goes up to Pioneer Lodge and back, looping past all the ski runs. Around the Mountain is dog-friendly, well-marked, and offers a ride that's suited for mountain bikers of all experience levels. As a bonus, Around the Mountain connects with a number of other trails so you can have a different ride with every visit.

    2. Ridge Crest - 1.2 miles
      Has your mountain biking experience been limited to multi-use trails, where you share the road with walkers, runners, and skaters? Located in Boise's historic Military Reserve, Ridge Crest is a good introduction to singletrack biking trails. There is a moderate amount of climbing, but the short length and lack of trees and other obstacles make it an ideal course for newbies, kids, and dogs. Want a longer ride? Pair Ridge Crest with Bucktail, a 1.3-mile trail that's also popular with beginners because of its wide, sweeping curves and display of wildflowers.

    3. Sidewinder-Fat Tire Traverse-Freestone Ridge - 3.5 miles
      Need a break from sitting at your desk? Whether you work at home or in an office, these trails are easily accessible, just minutes from downtown Boise. Start off at Camel's Back Park on the aptly-named Sidewinder, which leads to the connecting trail of Fat Tire Traverse. Finish with a blazing sprint down Military Reserve's Freestone Ridge, enjoying its wide-open sightlines. Dogs are welcome on all three legs of the trail.

    4. Lower Hulls Gulch Trail - 2.2 miles
      Ridge to Rivers is a unique network consisting of more than 190 miles of interconnected trails, constructed and maintained by a full-time crew. One section, Lower Hulls Gulch Trail, has achieved classic status among local riders largely due to its descent, which is moderately technical but still allows for some speed. Lower Hulls Gulch also has a sandier composition than many other trails, making it easier to ride during rainy conditions as the ground doesn't get muddy. Note: since this is one of the more heavily-used trails, pedestrians often make up some obstacles. 

    5. The Big Potato - 42 miles
      For serious riders looking for an all-day jaunt, it doesn't get much better than the Big Potato. This 42-mile loop through the Boise foothills, with thick vegetation, numerous obstacles, and elevation approaching 7,000 miles, is for expert riders only, but you'll be rewarded with spectacular views. Be sure to take plenty of food and water, as Simplot Lodge at Bogus Basin is the only place for supplies. Bring Fido along if he's in good shape. 

    Boise is a satisfying blend of urban attractions and outdoor activities. If you're buying or selling a home in the area, contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson for assistance from our friendly and knowledgeable real estate agents. 

    February
    16

    Economic News from Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Last Week's Labor Report Shows a Mixed Employment Picture

    Overview: Over the past week, news about the pandemic, government stimulus proposals, the labor market, and inflation caused some daily volatility for mortgage markets. The net effect of these influences was minor, however, and rates ended the week with little change.

    Friday's key labor market report contained mixed news, but it is clear that the pandemic has slowed the pace of hiring in recent months. In January, the economy gained 49,000 jobs, which was very close to expectations. However, revisions subtracted 159,000 jobs from the results for prior months. The unemployment rate unexpectedly plunged to 6.3%, below the consensus forecast of 6.7%. A significant portion of the decline was due to the departure of 406,000 workers from the labor force, though, which is a sign of weakness. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, were 5.4% higher than a year ago, which was well above the consensus forecast.

    The diminished economic activity resulting from the pandemic has caused inflation to fall, which is one of the factors responsible for the decline of mortgage rates to record-low levels. While investors are concerned that inflation may rise later in the year, current readings show no signs of this happening. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services. In January, core CPI was just 1.4% higher than a year ago, which was lower than expected and down from an annual rate of increase of 1.6% last month.

    Lawmakers continue to negotiate the details of additional coronavirus relief measures. President Biden proposed a $1.9 trillion package, and investor expectations for the final figures vary widely. Increased government spending is negative for mortgage rates since treasury bonds must be issued to fund it, which causes yields to rise.

    Looking ahead, investors will continue watching COVID case counts, vaccine distribution, and negotiations on the size of additional government relief measures. In addition, the retail sales report will be released on February 17. Since consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a key indicator of growth.

    For more detailed economic information, or to discuss how this affects you, please contact one of our mortgage loan officers by clicking the image below!

     

    February
    15

    Our Fast-Paced Housing Market Continues in 2021

    Insufficient Inventory and Low Mortgage Rates Continue 

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    The first month of 2021 saw a continuation of 2020 trends — insufficient inventory compared to demand, faster market times than a year earlier, and persistently low mortgage rates — which combined, led to a new record median sales price of $454,000 in January.

    Looking specifically at existing homes, the median sales price was at $443,500 in January, also a record, and an increase of 30.4% from last year. For many sellers, higher home prices usually mean greater equity, which can be used for another home purchase, to fund a business, send a child to college, or a variety of other opportunities.

    For some buyers, the higher prices have caused affordability challenges, while others have found the low mortgage rates have increased their purchase power, helping them buy despite the rising prices. The average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 2.73% in January 2021 compared to 3.60% last year.

    Most buyers and sellers have also experienced a competitive, fast-paced market where offers and decisions must be made quickly. To understand just how fast things have been moving, we looked at the average pace of existing home sales in Ada County over the last 15 years.

    In the chart below, the gray bars show the average time between when an offer to purchase a home was accepted and when the sale officially closed. That has remained at 34 days, on average during this period, and is the stage in which the buyer and seller, with the help of their REALTOR®, lender, home inspector, and title company, work through the final mortgage approval, and any appraisals, home inspections, or repairs.

    The stage that has sped up significantly is the time between when a home is listed and when an offer is accepted, as illustrated by the blue bars falling well below 30 days by 2020. This is important to point out because it is the reason sales can be higher year-over-year despite falling inventory. Here's why: Inventory is reported as a snapshot of what is available for sale on the last day of each month, so if a home were listed on the first day of the month and then when under contract on the 17th of the month, the home would show up as a pending sale in our monthly reports but never as an active listing or available inventory. While our market is experiencing low inventory, these fast turnaround times have created a misperception that there is "no inventory."

    DOM graphic Jan 21

    This acceleration has made the market feel frantic for many home buyers. In 2015, for example, after being listed a seller could expect to accept an offer in about 43 days, on average. Prior to then, they may have fielded multiple showings, had a few open houses and had some buyers back for a second or third showing before receiving an offer. By 2020, that timeframe dropped to just 17 days, on average, meaning, if a buyer saw a home they liked, they may only have a few days, or hours even, to decide whether to make an offer as there were likely others interested.

    In January 2021, that fell even further, as the average days on market for existing homes was at just 13 days — 66.7% faster than the same month last year.

    To be competitive in these situations, many buyers have offered full list price or more, which is another reason the overall median sales price rose again. In January 2021, the percent of the original list price received on existing home sales was 103.5%, compared to 97.2% in January 2020. This indicates that multiple offer situations are becoming more common, and buyers are willing to pay more to get an accepted offer. Among existing homes, the $400,000–$699,999 price range for existing homes was the most competitive, with the percent of original list price received reaching 104% or more, in January.

    Also, as more buyers purchased existing homes at higher price points — with the biggest increase among homes selling for more than $700,000 — that further contributed to a higher median sales price in January. For example, in January 2021, just 5.5% of the existing homes that sold were for more than $700,000, compared to 15.8% in January 2020. This mix of homes sold had a significant impact in pushing up the overall median sales price for the county.

    Existing homes by price range Jan 2021

    Market statistics are helpful indicators of the housing market overall, but what does the process of buying or selling look like for the individual?

    In 2021, BRR will dig deeper into the various phases of a real estate transaction, to help consumers be prepared before, during, and after a real estate transaction, showing them what their REALTOR® will be doing for them along every step, and the key data points they can look for to make sense of the market.

    These two scenarios outlined above – faster market times and more off-market sales – make it imperative to work with a REALTOR®.

    A REALTOR® provides buyers the advice and data needed to make informed decisions quickly and may be able to identify properties that are not yet on the market. Sellers find value in a REALTOR®'s ability to help evaluate multiple offers, oversee the negotiating process, as well as all the legal, financial, and administrative steps that come after the offer has been accepted in the pending stage. And for both groups, a REALTOR® can provide guidance in planning and preparing for a purchase or listing, long before any offers are accepted or for sale signs are put up.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for January, CLICK HERE.

     

    February
    1

    National Pizza Day: Order a Pie from These Boise Shops

    Pizza Boise

    National Pizza Day is celebrated on February 9, but even if you missed it, we invite you to head out to a Boise-area pizzeria and enjoy a slice of pie. From New York-style to Detroit-style and from traditional toppings to more exotic ones, you'll find various crusts and ingredients to suit your tastes.

    Our real estate agents suggest trying one of these Boise shops:  

    1. Flying Pie Pizzeria – 6508 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, ID 83704 (check website for additional locations)
      A beloved Boise-area institution, Flying Pie Pizzeria has been a pizza staple in the Treasure Valley since 1978. Named by USA Today as the best pizza in Idaho in 2010, Flying Pie is a leader in yummy pizza concoctions and creative marketing. Their self-titled "whirled famous" pizza includes their annual "Fire in the Mouth" double habanero pizza, which was featured on The Travel Channel's Man v. Food in 2009. Now with six locations across the valley, Flying Pie even opened a location on Overland Rd. in 2020. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
        
    2. Guido's Original New York Style Pizzeria – 235 N. 5th St., Boise, ID 83702
      Boise residents have enjoyed pies from Guido's Original New York Style Pizzeria for over 25 years at its casual, old-school-style locations. Order an 18-inch or 20-inch pie with cheese, cheese, and basil, or white pizza, each served with olive oil, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, parmesan, and mozzarella. The cheese and basil variety is a particular favorite among customers, as is the garlic bread and garlic salad dressing. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
        
    3. Red Bench Pizza – 2826 S. Eagle Rd., Suite 100, Eagle, ID 83616
      Located just around the corner from Eagle homes for sale, Red Bench Pizza prepares everything possible in-house, from making their own Italian sausage to creating their homemade sauces. Their ingredients are sourced locally, including Ferranti Pasta, Acme Bread, Eden Creamery Goat, and Chevre cheese. Pies are baked for two minutes in the restaurant's brick oven to achieve a thin, Neapolitan-style crust. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
        
    4. Idaho Pizza Company (IPC) – 1312 S. Washington Ave., Emmett, ID 83617
      You'll have a wide choice of pizza sizes at IPC, located near Emmett homes for sale. From a personal 7-inch size to a large 14-inch pie, there's one perfect for everything from a single diner to the whole family. You can also choose from original, thin, or gluten-free crusts. The Idaho Supreme is a customer favorite and features the restaurant's signature pizza sauce, two kinds of cheeses, and is loaded with meat and veggies. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m., 7 days a week.
        
    5. Spitfire Pizza – 2450 S. Vista Ave., Boise, ID 83705  
      Spitfire Pizza serves up the only Detroit-style pizza in Idaho, so you'll be getting a rectangular pizza with a crispy, chewy, thick crust. Or, if you'd prefer, order a pie with a hand-tossed, tavern-style (which is super thin) or gluten-friendly crust. You can get cheese or pepperoni pizza in either crust or try a customer favorite like the Detroit Sweet & Spice Pizza with natural casing pepperoni, jalapenos, and pineapple. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, noon-10 p.m. Saturday, and noon-9 p.m. Sunday.
        
    6. Pie Hole – 205 N. 8th St., Boise, ID 83702
      Located in downtown Boise, Pie Hole is open late 365 days a year to satisfy your craving for late-night pizza. Order a slice with toppings such as basil and roasted bell pepper or the rotating slice of the day. If you're ordering for a group, create your own pie or try pizzas like the Piehole Supreme, which comes loaded with pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, black olives, mushrooms, mixed bell peppers, and onions. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.  
        
    7. Chicago Connection – 7070 Fairview Ave., Boise, ID 83704
      Founded in Boise in 1982, Chicago Connection introduced Chicago-style deep dish pizza and quickly became known for its fresh ingredients (and plenty of cheese), great salad bar, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. Chicago Connection's "Hot Oven" trucks travel over a million miles a year delivering hot and yummy meals all over the Treasure Valley. With restaurants from Boise to Nampa, Chicago Connection is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-9 p.m. on Sunday.

    Contact us if you're interested in selling your home or you'd like to see Boise homes for sale. We can also give you more information about our local businesses, recreational opportunities, and other attributes that make our community a great place to live.    

    January
    13

    Ada County Real Estate in 2020 - An Overview

    2020 Ada County Real Estate Market Outpaced Previous Years Despite COVID-19

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    We cannot have a 2020 review without first addressing the impact that COVID-19 had on the real estate market locally. 

    The year started strong with January 2020 sales 21.5% higher than in January 2019 but began to taper off in February and March as the uncertainties of the pandemic made their way to our local market. In April and May, when our spring market typically begins to ramp up, sales activity dropped by 19.5% and 29.7%, respectively, because of the government-mandated shutdowns and restrictions.  

    Sales began to pick up in June, then jumped 22.0% year-over-year in July, and remained elevated through November, compressing nearly a year's worth of activity into just six months. 

    Despite the many challenges to buying and selling homes during the pandemic, home sales were able to continue due to a greater adoption of virtual technology for showings which limited in-person activities, as well as additional steps taken by REALTORS® to protect clients and properties when meeting in person, couldn't be avoided. 

    In total, 11,728 homes sold in Ada County in 2020 — 5.2% more than in the previous year. The only other time we saw more sales in one year was in 2005 which had 11,974 sales. This represents existing and new construction combined. 

    Low Mortgage Rates Increase Purchase Power 

     Historically low interest rates allowed home sales to quickly recover and then outpace 2019 levels. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the U.S. was at 3.11% on average in 2020 — the lowest ever based on data going back to 1971. These low rates increased purchasing power for buyers, allowing them to buy despite rising prices, and in some cases, compete in multiple offer situations. 

    Home Prices Driven by Supply vs. Demand 

    A major factor that pushed home prices up was insufficient supply compared to demand, especially for existing inventory. For most of the year, the average Days on Market metric (DOM) for existing homes was at 20 days in 2020, on average, compared to 42 days in 2019. Then in October, DOM dropped to just 13 days — a record low based on data going back to 2004. This meant buyers had to act quickly and write a competitive offer when they found a home. 

    On the last day of December 2020, there were just 333 homes available for sale, for both existing and new construction combined — 79.6% lower than December 2019 and a record low based on data going back to 2004. More inventory is needed to bring balance back into the market at all price points and product types. 

    This begs the question, "How can home sales be up while inventory continues to drop?"  

    Unlike the closed sales metric which reflects all homes sold during the month, the inventory metric fluctuates daily and is based on the number of homes listed as "active" in the multiple listing service on a given day. For our monthly reports, it's the last day of the month. This "snapshot" of inventory compared to a monthly total of sales is one reason we can see more closings than available inventory.  

    Additionally, once a seller accepts an offer, the home is no longer considered available inventory. With the average Days on Market at less than a month, many properties that were available during the month are not reflected in the reported inventory "snapshot" at the end of the month. 

    Factors Restricting Inventory 

    The historically low mortgage rates mentioned earlier also caused a surge in refinancing at the beginning of the year (SOURCE) which likely kept some of the existing homes that may have otherwise been listed for sale off the market. Then after COVID hit, it further reduced the number of homeowners willing to sell due to safety concerns or general uncertainty. While we cannot quantify how many homeowners held back from listing, it was something we heard often from REALTORS® throughout the year. 

    In addition to the impacts of refinancing and safety concerns, there were a variety of other reasons existing/resale inventory has been so limited. Many homeowners have delayed listing until they find their next home, which takes longer due to already limited and fast-moving inventory; some homeowners may not have felt they could "trade up" from their current home due to current prices, despite equity and low mortgage rates; or people may have been unable to manage a sale while working from home or if they had children at home for school. 

    Interestingly, the push to stay home for work and school as a result of COVID had people across the country re-evaluating where they wanted to live. Wills added, "It's no secret that Idaho has been one of the top states experiencing growth over the past few years, and the ability for many to work from anywhere brought more interest than ever, equating to even more demand for homes in our market." 

    The Role of New Construction 

    The lack of existing/resale inventory put tremendous demand on builders, and they have been responding. According to Construction Monitor, 3,336 permits were approved for new single-family homes throughout Ada County during 2020. When we compare this permit count to the 4,010 new homes that sold in 2020, it suggests that we are not overbuilding as demand is absorbing all supply that becomes available, reinforcing the need for continued building.  

    New home sales made up 34.2% of all sales in 2020, up slightly from 2019. New construction typically costs more than an existing home, due to higher increasing land, labor, and materials, so as the share of new home sales increases, it pushed up the overall median sales price. The median sales price for new construction in Ada County in 2020 was $424,995 compared to $375,000 for existing homes. Taking the two segments together, the median sales price for the market overall was $392,230 in 2020. 

    Looking Forward 

    Looking forward to 2021, the Boise Metro area continues to be among many economists' top picks for markets that should see continued growth. The National Association of REALTORS® even included Boise in their list of markets that are "expected to perform well in a post-COVID-19 environment." (SOURCE)  

    To help balance the market out, again, we need more inventory among new and existing product. We hope to see more homeowners list in the coming months and take advantage of the ongoing demand. One additional opportunity for more existing inventory, though, comes from investors holding single-family properties. Investors should talk to a REALTOR® and tax professional to understand their options for selling their rental homes and potentially rolling proceeds into other sectors such as commercial or multi-family to diversify their portfolios. 

    A fast, competitive market like ours presents challenges and opportunities to buyers and sellers alike. Whether you're looking to buy or sell, it's never been more important to work with a REALTOR®. They will help identify potential options for purchase, connect you with a mortgage lender, help craft a competitive offer, and negotiate on your behalf, allowing you to make decisions confidently and quickly to achieve your real estate goals. 

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for December, CLICK HERE.

     

    January
    12

    Housing News from Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Housing Ends the Year Strong

    Overview: As usual, trading volume was considerably reduced during the last couple of weeks of the year. The market reaction to the economic news was minor, and mortgage rates remained near-record-low levels.

    The remarkable rebound in the housing market has continued. In November, existing-home sales, which account for roughly 90% of the market, were 26% higher than a year ago and near the best levels since 2006. The median existing-home price was 15% higher than a year ago, also close to record levels. The one drawback was that inventory levels were down 22% from a year ago. The number of homes for sale was at a record-low 2.3-month supply nationally, well below the 6-month supply that is considered a healthy balance between buyers and sellers.

    Sales of new homes, which make up the remaining 10% of the market, also continued at a blistering pace. In November, new home sales were 21% higher than a year ago, yet a lack of inventory has been a constraint in this area as well. Builders say that they are putting up new homes as quickly as possible, but that a lack of land, labor, and materials is limiting the pace of construction.

    Congress passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, which will provide additional assistance to households, small businesses, and healthcare providers. The bill includes an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 per month and direct payments of $600 to qualifying individuals. Lawmakers continue to discuss whether to increase the amount of these payments.

     

    January
    4

    Go Snowshoeing on These Trails Near Boise

    Boise Snowshoeing

    It's time for snowshoe season once again! This is the perfect year to return to one of your favorite outdoor hobbies or to try snowshoeing for the first time as you explore Boise from a whole new perspective. Snowshoeing is a family-friendly activity, it's easy to learn, and it offers a great workout while you enjoy the outdoors. Ready to hit the trails and immerse yourself in some of the best views that Boise has to offer? Our real estate agents have all the details on 5 snowshoeing trails around Boise that you definitely won't want to miss this winter.

    • Adelmann Mine – Adelmann Mine Trailhead, Boise, ID 83716
      Learn about local history and enjoy some scenic views when you explore the Adelmann Mine trail, which is located near Boise homes for sale. This trail checks in at just under 5 miles, with relatively easy terrain to traverse if you're just getting started with snowshoeing. At the end of the trail, you will arrive at Adelmann Mine, a historic mine that has largely been preserved to the present day. There's a bit of a climb before you reach the mine, but the effort is worth it.

    • Bogus Basin – 2600 N Bogus Basin Rd., Boise, ID 83702
      A unique, non-profit winter recreation area with tons of trails to explore, Bogus Basin offers excellent snowshoeing for all experience levels. This is also a great place to visit if you want to spend a full day and mix in some other winter sports. The skiing here is fantastic, and the mountain is open at night if you want to try some snowshoeing after dark. As one of the only non-profit winter recreation areas in the country, Bogus Basin is a must-visit.

    • Corrals Trail – 31 Corrals Trail, Boise, ID 83702
      Running through the foothills around Boise, the Corrals Trail Loop is a busy, 5.5-mile trail with beautiful views all around. It's a point-to-point trail, so you'll either need to plan ahead for transportation or snowshoe both ways for an 11-mile round trip. Either way, you'll enjoy some great views of the foothills as you travel.

    • West Highland Valley Trail – 7596-7536 #11 West Highland Valley Trail, Boise, ID 83716
      If you're looking for a less crowded trail that still offers amazing views, be sure to check out the West Highland Valley Trail. This trail is also ideal if you're experienced with snowshoeing and looking for a bit of a challenge. It's a steep trail that lasts about 6 miles, with the first couple miles offering an especially challenging climb. You can travel the loop clockwise or counter-clockwise, with different views to enjoy depending on which way you travel.

    • Central Ridge Trail – 750 Mountain Cove Rd., Boise, ID 83702
      Enjoy a trip along the river when you travel the Central Ridge Trail, a popular loop that connects with various other trails in the area. When you combine the nearby Bucktail and Shane's trails with the Central Ridge Trail, you get a nearly 7-mile loop that features gorgeous views of the Boise River throughout your trip. This is an accessible trail with a moderate rating, so it's a fun place to snowshoe no matter your experience level.

    No matter the season, you're never far from your next outdoor adventure when you live in Boise. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Boise, ID area.

    December
    16

    Economic Information from Our Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Job Gains Slow; Manufacturing and Services Remain Strong

    Overview: The past week was relatively quiet for mortgage markets. While the key labor market data was a bit weaker than expected, the other major reports were right on target, and they all caused little reaction. Mortgage rates remained near-record-low levels.

    According to the most recent data, the solid rebound from unprecedented job losses has continued, albeit at a slower pace. In November, the economy gained 245,000 jobs, below the consensus forecast of 450,000. The economy has now recovered more than half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April.

    The unemployment rate matched expectations at 6.7%, falling from a peak of 14.7% in April and a level of 6.9% last month. Average hourly earnings, an indicator of wage growth, were an impressive 4.4% higher than a year ago.

    Two significant reports from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) released this week were close to anticipated levels. The ISM Services Index came in at 55.9, far above the level of 41.8 seen in April following the partial shutdown of the economy. Readings above 50 indicate an expansion. The ISM Manufacturing Index was even stronger, at 57.5. Since many consumers are spending less money on travel and leisure activities, they are buying more goods, which has boosted manufacturing activity.

     

    January
    11

    How Pet Owners Should Prepare for a Showing

    Pet Owners Boise

    Man's best friend does make for a good housemate, but unfortunately, not so much of a great real estate agent. Pets are an interesting element of the real estate process. Many of the buyers attending a showing may love animals and even have pets themselves. However, that doesn't mean that they're crazy about moving into a new home that has lingering traces of cats, dogs, or other animals. There are also those who do not like animals and aren't particularly interested in purchasing a home that once housed pets. If you're a pet owner, our real estate agents suggest these tips on how to prepare for a successful showing:

    • Step 1: Find a place for your pet.
      You definitely need to find a temporary place for your pets. First, ask your neighbors if they can watch your animal for a few hours. If they cannot, consider taking the animal to a friend or family member's house or a pet sitting service.


    • Step 2: Remove evidence of pets.
      As you prepare to stage your home, you'll need to remove all evidence of your animals. Before thinking about cleaning or damages, first, focus on physical items that either belong to your pets or represent your pets. Water and food bowls, beds and furniture, toys, and supplies, all of these items should be stored away. You may also want to remove any photos or décor that may alert prospective buyers to the fact that you share your space with an animal.


    • Step 3: Repair all damages inside.
      It's best to take care of any repairs in the home before cleaning so that you can ensure the whole home is completely clean. Go around each room and seek out damages from your pet. Keep an eye out for claw marks on the floors or furniture, wall marks where pets or their furniture rub, carpet stains, and hair clumps under furniture. If you can, throw away and replace heavily used spots like area rugs.


    • Step 4: Professionally deep clean your home.
      Though it should go without saying, you should always invest in a professional cleaning service to make your home sparkle. If you have pets, choose a cleaning service that knows how to combat animal odors and debris. Some scents may be imperceptible to the human nose, while some pet dander can linger even after a good dusting. An experienced cleaning company specializing in pets will make your home look, feel, and smell like no animals are on the lease.


    • Step 5: Repair all damages outside.
      Now that your interior has been taken care of, it's time to focus on the exterior. Many pet owners don't notice just how much of their outdoor space receive wear and tear from pets. Fill all holes in the yard and clean up any "presents" left behind. Remove all outdoor pet toys or furniture. Fix any areas where damage may be noticeable, such as scratch marks on a wooden fence or bite marks on any outdoor human furniture.

    A pet is a wonderful guest to have in your home, but you should also understand why buyers may not be wagging their tails at the thought of sharing the same space. Contact us today for more pet-proof staging advice before listing your property alongside our Boise homes for sale.

    December
    14

    Ada County Home Prices Driven by Insufficient Supply Compared to Demand

    Ada County Home Prices Driven by Insufficient Supply Compared to Demand, Fueled by Low Mortgage Rates

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    There were 887 homes sold in Ada County last month with a median sales price of $425,000 — the point at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. This new record is a result of insufficient supply compared to persistently strong demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates. 

    As mortgage rates have fallen, homebuyers' purchase power has increased and for some, so has their willingness to offer higher purchase prices to be competitive, which has also had an impact on the overall median sales price. 

    The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 2.77% on average in November 2020, according to Freddie Mac — down 24.3% from last year. Based on the median sales price, a buyer with this rate could expect a monthly mortgage payment (principal and interest only) of $1,565 if they put 10% down or $1,391 if they put 20% down.  

    For buyers who are selling a property and then purchasing another, their down payment often comes from the incredible equity that has built up over the past few years, as home prices have risen. However, many first-time homebuyers report securing a down payment was the most difficult task in the home buying process.  

    [NOTE: There are a variety of down payment and closing cost programs available through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, the City of Boise, and the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, among others. Reach out to a REALTOR® and mortgage lender to find out what resources may be available for your specific needs and situation.] 

    In a report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 22% of non-homeowners surveyed nationwide said that rising rents was holding them back from saving from a down payment, second only to their income level.  According to data from Apartment List.com, the average monthly rent in Ada County was at $1,106 in November, up 10.6% or approximately $106 per month compared to last year. 

    A $1,106 monthly mortgage payment, based on the latest interest rates and a 20% down payment, is roughly the equivalent of a $270,000 home. In November, 138 homes sold at or below that price, which represented 14.4% of all sales.  

    While rents remain more affordable than purchasing when looking at market averages, the pressure of rising rents and increased purchase power due to low mortgage rates is pushing many renters to become homebuyers, adding additional demand to the market. 

    As noted, 887 Ada County homes sold in November, another 1,700 were under contract and should close within the next month or so, and an additional 408 homes were listed as available inventory. 

    These numbers beg the question, "How can there be more home sales than homes available for purchase in a given month?" While we explained this in detail in last month's report, it's important to note that our inventory data is a snapshot of what's available for purchase on the last day of each month, not a cumulative total of the homes that were available for purchase throughout the month. 

    As the supply of homes remained insufficient compared to demand, and as more buyers compete for the inventory that is available, the speed of the market continued to accelerate. 

    In November, the number of days between when a home was listed and went under contract was at 13 days for existing homes (compared to 32 days in November 2019) and 29 for new construction (compared to 57 days). Meaning that properties can be listed and go under contract without ever being reflected in our inventory numbers. As long as the average days on market metric remains below 30 days, we could continue to see higher monthly sales numbers compared to available inventory. 

    A fast, competitive market like ours presents challenges and opportunities to buyers and sellers alike. We are not seeing a typical winter slow down. In fact, throw out all of your preconceived notions about the best time to buy or sellIf you're ready to enter the market as a buyer or seller, a REALTOR® will be your most valuable resource in helping you make decisions quickly, navigate

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for November, CLICK HERE.

     

    December
    7

    Where to Find Unique Holiday Gifts in Boise

    Boise Holiday Gifts

    Still searching for the perfect holiday gift for the person who has everything? When you live in Boise, that's no problem! From local delicacies to art, candy, antiques, and so much more, the small businesses of Boise are sure to have just the right gift for everyone on your list. Many local businesses are also offering curbside pickup during this holiday season to make your shopping experience as smooth and convenient as possible. Our real estate agents have the details you need on 5 great Boise businesses where you can find unique holiday gifts this year.

    1. Boise Art Glass – 1124 W Front St., Boise, ID 83702
      Boise Art Glass 
      is one of the most distinctive small businesses located near Boise homes for sale, with a reputation for producing beautiful, artistic glass pieces that can add to the atmosphere of any home. Operated by local artists Filip Vogelpohl, Austin Grill, and Kevin Gray, Boise Art Glass is known for its colorful, creative glass designs that can brighten any room. You can shop from the extensive selection of items already available in the shop or order a custom piece when you truly want to surprise someone special.

    2. City Peanut Shop – 803 W Bannock St., Boise, ID 83702

      Whether you're searching for a great stocking stuffer or a small, savory gift perfect for a gift exchange, you're sure to find something delicious at City Peanut Shop. Simplify your shopping by ordering from a wide selection of holiday gift boxes, which include items like peanut butter, peanut brittle, gourmet popcorn, chocolate, and of course, fresh roasted peanuts. There are also plenty of smaller gift items available, perfect for creating your own basket of holiday cheer.

    3. The Mixing Bowl – 216 N 9th St., Boise, ID 83702

      Inspire the chef in your life when you give them something from The Mixing Bowl. This downtown shop is stocked with cookware, bakeware, bowls, kitchen gadgets, and more. From fun to functional finds this local shop is sure to impress. Be sure to stop in next time you're downtown, or purchase an e-gift from their website. 

    4. The Chocolat Bar – 805 W Bannock St., Boise, ID 83702

      A gift that satisfies the sweet tooth never goes out of style, and The Chocolat Bar is creating plenty of special treats just in time for the holiday season. You can shop for holiday favorites like peppermint bark, peppermint caramel, and eggnog truffles, all created fresh by your Boise chocolate experts. Order online to make buying delicious gifts a breeze.

    5. Molly's Healthy Pet Food Market – 817 W Idaho St., Boise, ID 83702

      Searching for a healthy gift for your beloved pet or your favorite pet owner? Then Molly's Healthy Pet Food Market is sure to have something for you, with free delivery available in the Boise area. From raw food to fresh-made treats and pet outerwear to unique home accessories, Molly's offers a little bit of everything for your four-legged friend. There's even a special selection of holiday-themed gifts, including new toys, ornaments, stockings, and even clothing items for pet owners. 

    What could be a better gift for your family than finding the perfect home to call your own this holiday season? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Boise, ID area.

    November
    13

    Ada County Home Sales Remain Strong Despite Low Supply

     

    Home Sales in Ada County are Strong Despite Low Inventory

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    For years now, Boise Regional REALTORS® has reported on how the demand for homes has outpaced supply and the impact that has had on home pricesOctober 2020 was no exception as the median sales price for homes sold in Ada County was $406,684 in October, up 14.7% year-over-year, but down slightly from September 2020. 

    This was based on 1,112 home sales, aincrease of 11.9% compared to October 2019. But looking at the supply of homes for sale, according to data from the Intermountain MLS (IMLS), there were 443 of single-family homes available for purchase at the end of October, down 73.7% compared to the same month last year. 

    This begs the question, "How can home sales be up while inventory continues to drop?" 

    It's important to note that the inventory metric fluctuates daily and is based on the number of homes listed as "active" in IMLS on any particular dayFor consistency purposes, our reports use the number of single-family homes available for sale on the last day of each monthso it does not represent the total number of homes that may have been available for sale throughout the month; however, the closed sales metric reflects all homes sold during the month. 

    That one-day "snapshot" of inventory compared to a monthly total of sales is one reason we can see more closings than available inventory in our monthly reports 

    Adding to that, once a seller accepts an offer, the home is no longer considered available inventory. With homes spending an average of only 20 days on the market before going under contract, some may not make it into the reported inventory numbers.  

    Looking specifically at inventory trends for existing/resale properties, there are a variety of reasons the supply has been so constricted: homeowners delaying listing until they find their next home, which takes longer due to already limited inventory; some homeowners may not feel they can "trade up" from their current home due to current prices, despite equity and low mortgage rates; the surge in mortgage refinancing may have reduced some homeowners' monthly payments, making it more affordable compared to what they may spend on another home; and in response to COVID-19, some have delayed listing to limit the number of people in their home, or, they may be unable to manage a sale while working from home or if they have children at home for school 

    These kinds of situations are when a REALTOR® can be incredibly valuable to a homeowner in helping them understand their options. Discussing new construction opportunities for those worried they won't be able to find their next home, or explaining how virtual open houses and showings can limit in-person visits while still exposing the home to the widest pool of potential buyers can help homeowners find a path forward.

    New construction inventory was also down significantly, year-over-year, while sales were up by 16.7%. With new homes selling almost twice as fast this year than last year, similar to existing homes, it reduces the numbers captured in our monthly inventory snapshot. But as many builders have had to alter their construction timelines, with fewer tradespeople or difficulty obtaining materials (including home appliances) causing delays, some have also delayed when or how they list a home as available in IMLSSome builders are able to pre-sell units through model homes, which then later show up in our reports as a closed sale but never as active inventory. 

    The low inventory conditions have put tremendous demand on builders, and they have been responding. Between January and September of this year3,374 permits were approved for new single-family homes throughout Ada County, according to Construction Monitor, and another 380 permits were approved in October. While a few of the newly approved permits were for existing owners, most were for homes that will be available for purchase in the coming months. 

    Again, this is where working with a REALTOR® is so important for home buyers. They can help guide you through the complex process of a new buildand often, can identify new construction options before the ground has even been broken, or, for existing homes, they may have insights on those that may be getting ready to sell. So, while inventory remains low compared to demand, higher year-over-year sales show that there are properties available to be purchased. 

    NOTE: While this month's report provided an explanation on our inventory metrics, even with the variables that affect the monthly counts, the information from IMLS remains the most complete and reliable database for tracking our local housing market, helping home buyers, home sellers, and their REALTORS® make the best decisions for their unique situations 

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for October, CLICK HERE.

     

    November
    16

    How to Make Your Own Wreath This Holiday Season

    Holiday Wreath Tips

    Any time our real estate agents consult with homeowners about listing their Boise homes for sale, they always recommend dressing up the porch to improve the curb appeal. Some potted plants, a welcome mat, and a simple wreath can make a major difference. 

    Even if you're not thinking about selling your home, decorating your porch for the holidays is a great idea! If you want to make your decor even more special, consider making your own holiday wreath this year. 

    It's easier than you might think! Follow these step-by-step instructions, and you'll have a beautiful wreath in no time. You may even decide to make extras and give them away to family and friends. 

    1. Gather Your Supplies
      It's a great idea to keep all of your decorating supplies together in one place so you can easily see all of your options and tap into your creativity. You also don't want to get part-way through your project and find that you're missing something important. Prevent this by gathering all of your supplies before you start. For this project, you'll need:
    • Round metal wreath frame
    • Floral wire
    • Pruning cutters
    • Wire cutters
    • Evergreen tree cuttings 
    • Pinecones
    • Holly berry or holly branches (real or faux)
    • Holiday ribbon
    • Gold spray paint
    • Holiday floral decorations (optional)
    1. Spray Paint Some Pieces 
      To give your wreath some dimension, you may want to choose a few clippings and berries and paint them gold (or another color). Do this ahead of time and make sure the pieces are dehydrated before you add them to your wreath. 
    1. Attach Your Branch Cuttings
      If necessary, cut your branches into smaller, workable pieces (approximately six to eight inches). Then, choose a small bundle of greenery and lay it on top of the wreath frame. Use the floral wire to attach the stems to the frame, wrapping it around tightly three times. Do not cut the wire. Continue adding bundles, overlapping each one half-way over the previous one, and wrapping the wire around the stems. (Take a look at this helpful video for more detailed instructions.) Keep repeating this process until you get back to your starting point. Tuck the wire into the underside of the frame and tie it off. Finally, cut the wire, leaving a few extra inches on the end. 
    1. Add the Cones and Berries
      Once your frame is completely covered with the branches, it's time to add some cones and berries. Use the wire to attach them to the frame, making sure to do it carefully so the wire doesn't show. 
    1. Trim Your Wreath
      Now, you'll want to trim the outside edge of your wreath so it takes on a rounded shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, and you don't want to overdo it. Trimming is often easier if you hang the wreath up and look at it from a distance as you work. 
    1. Add Some More Decor
      You're almost done! The last step is to add the finishing touches. This may include beads, ribbon, and other types of holiday decorations. There's no right or wrong way to do this, and you can keep making tweaks until you love it.

    If you're planning to hang the wreath on your front door, you may need to create a wire loop and attach it to the back of your wreath. That's it! Hang your wreath up and enjoy it. 

    Are you thinking about buying or selling a home before the holidays? We're here to help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 

    November
    17

    National Go To an Art Museum Day - and Any Day: Art Museums and Galleries Throughout Boise

    Boise Art Galleries

    The art scene in Boise offers something for everyone. National Go to an Art Museum Day was on November 9th, but any day is perfect for exploring the artistic side of the city! There are various art museums, galleries, and studios located throughout Boise, including places where you can learn to create your own art. Supporting these local galleries and museums is a great way to learn more about art and find unique decorations for your home. 

    1. Boise Creative Center – 1204 W Front St., Boise, ID 83702

      Part art gallery, part studio, and part learning center, the Boise Creative Center is the perfect place to explore your creative side. Artist Alex Vega founded the Boise Creative Center to connect locals with unique art and teaches many of the classes at the facility himself. The studio features an extensive collection of custom artwork, including murals, canvas paintings, and unique graphically designed prints.

    2. Boise Art Glass – 1124 W Front St., Boise, ID 83702

      Art takes many forms, and glass art can be as spectacular as any painting or sculpture. Boise Art Glass specializes in artistic glass, with beautiful fine glass to view and various classes to help you make your own creations. Much of the glass art here is created by three local artists, who also serve as instructors for the classes at Boise Art Glass. There are also plenty of unique pieces that you can purchase for your own home.

    3. Boise Art Museum – 670 Julia Davis Dr., Boise, ID 83702

      With an exceptional collection of permanent displays, rotating exhibitions, special events, and classes for all experience levels, the Boise Art Museum truly offers something for everyone. Stop by anytime to explore the museum yourself or schedule a tour to learn more about the stories behind the art on display. Founded in 1937, the Boise Art Museum has grown extensively over the decades and continues to expand its offerings today.

    4. LaBry Fine Art – 404 S 8th St., Boise, ID 83702

      Whether you're interested in exploring the work of local artists or shopping for the perfect piece of art to bring home, LaBry Fine Art is sure to have something that you'll enjoy. Every piece of art here is selected for both technical expertise and the ability to elicit an emotional reaction from the viewer. With new art rotating in regularly, there's always something new to see when you visit LaBry Fine Art.

    5. Delia Dante Gallery & Fire Fusion Studio – 1322 W Main St., Boise, ID 83702

      Searching for something a little different for your National Go to an Art Museum Day celebration? Delia Dante Gallery & Fire Fusion Studio features a wide variety of art made from welded metal and enamel, including unique jewelry that allows you to show off your Idaho pride. There are regular classes from beginner to advanced for welding and enameling, taught by instructors who are experts at the craft. You can also shop for unique jewelry, view metal sculptures, and explore work from local artists in various media.

    Whether you're seeking an engaged audience for your own art or a place where you can explore the work of others, you'll find that Boise is a great place for art lovers to call home. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Boise, ID area.

    October
    14

    From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Home Sales Surge Nationwide

     

    Overview: Over the past week, the primary economic news came from the surprisingly strong housing sector. Mortgage rates experienced some volatility during the week but ended with little net change. 


    The past week's housing data has again revealed that recovery from the economic impact of the coronavirus has been much faster than anticipated. In July, sales of previously owned (existing) homes, which make up about 90% of the market, unexpectedly jumped a record 25% from May to the best level since 2006. National median existing-home prices were up 9% from a year ago. A shortage of inventory remained the primary trouble spot, as the number of homes for sale was at just a 3.1-month supply nationally, well below the 6.0-month supply that is considered a healthy balance between buyers and sellers.

    New home sales, which account for the remaining 10% of the market, also far exceeded the consensus forecast. In July, they too rose to the best level since 2006 and were 36% higher than a year ago. Unlike existing home sales, which are based on closings, new home sales measure contracts signed during the month.

    On August 12, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) unexpectedly announced that a new refinance fee of 0.5% will be assessed for cash-out and no-cash-out refinances sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after September 1. Many members of the mortgage industry quickly expressed strong disapproval of the new policy. In response, the FHFA announced on Wednesday that the implementation date for the new 0.5% fee will be postponed from September 1 to December 1 and that refinance loans with loan balances below $125,000 will be exempted.

    Looking ahead, investors will continue focusing on news about medical advances to fight the pandemic, government stimulus programs, Federal Reserve monetary actions, and the pace of the reopening of the economy.

     

    November
    9

    5 Tips for Buying a Home in a Different State

    Buying a Home in a New State

    When exploring Boise homes for sale, your to-do list will look a little different if you're moving from a different state. Interstate home purchases require careful planning and preparation to minimize the expense and hassle associated with purchasing a home while you're living in another state. Check out these helpful tips to follow to help the process go as seamlessly as possible. 

    1. Research All the Costs Associated with Living in a Neighborhood
      If you're buying a home in another state, see that you research all the costs associated with living in a specific area. It's easy to focus only on the amount of your potential mortgage payment, but this is just one portion of your housing expenses. You should also consider:
      • Property taxes
      • Housing insurance (more expensive for some neighborhoods)
      • Homeowner's association dues
      • The city's cost of living
    1. Look for Neighborhoods That Fit Your Lifestyle
      To ensure you'll be happy in your new home, you want a neighborhood that's compatible with your lifestyle. For example, if you prefer a home with lots of shops and eateries within walking distance, you're unlikely to be happy in a house that's nestled out in the country where it's a necessity to own a car. Getting a feel for a neighborhood can be tricky when you're doing the majority of your home shopping out of state. When you contact our real estate agents, tell us what you're looking for in a neighborhood. This will help us match you with properties that meet your priorities. Social media groups and online neighborhood groups are two other useful resources to help you get a better feel for the environment in a neighborhood. 
    1. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
      An experienced real estate agent is always a valuable resource, but their expertise is even more invaluable when you're buying a property out of state. Look for a real estate agent who has extensive experience selling homes in the area you're interested in.
    1. Utilize Technology To Learn More About Potential Homes
      While a virtual tour can't completely replace an in-person examination of a potential house, it's the next best thing. Look for an agent who is willing to conduct video walkthroughs of properties that you're interested in. Don't be afraid to ask the agent to zoom in on any areas that you want to reexamine or that warrant a closer look. Virtual tours can cut down on the amount of travel associated with purchasing your new home, as they can help you decide which homes have characteristics that are deal-breakers.
    1. Prioritize Attending the Home Inspection Over Other Home Buying Milestones
      Some out-of-state buyers can't see their homes in person at all until after closing; if you can only see the home once, try to make it to the home inspection. This will give you a chance to learn about any prospective problems the home has and receive an explanation as to how the major systems work (like the HVAC system or fireplace). Your home inspector is also a fantastic resource for what items in the home will require ongoing maintenance.

    Ready to get started on your out-of-state home purchase? Contact us today!

    October
    13

    Ada County's Fast-Paced Real Estate Market Continued in September

     

    Home Prices Rise Again in September

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    Home prices in Ada County were up again in September — a result of the competitive housing market which is being fueled by low mortgage rates and limited supply compared to demand.

    The overall median sales price, including existing and new home sales, reached $409,945 last month, an increase of 17.2% year-over-year.

    According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 2.9% in September, a decrease of 19.7% compared to the same month a year ago. While the actual interest rate a borrower receives is based on a variety of factors, the very low rates, as well as increasing rents (as reported by BoiseDev) may be encouraging more people to consider a home purchase.

    One way to measure that supply vs. demand relationship is with the Months Supply of Inventory metric (or MSI) with a balanced market tracking at 4-6 months of supply. In September, MSI was at just 0.4 months, meaning, if no additional homes were listed for sale, Ada County would run out of homes to buy in under two weeks.

    Homes are also going under contract faster — another indicator of a competitive market. In September, existing homes spent an average of only 17 days on the market, compared to 26 days in September 2019.

    REALTORS® are a homebuyer's best resource to help navigate inventory options and offer strategies, as well as help sellers' field multiple offers or coordinate a simultaneous sale and purchase. They can also help connect consumers with lenders and other financial resources. Whether you are just getting started and you need help finding a lender or down payment assistance, or if you're pre-approved and ready to find your next home, a REALTOR® can provide valuable expertise and guidance.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for September, CLICK HERE.

     

    October
    12

    Zoo Boise - One of Idaho's Greatest Gems

     

    History, Conservation, and Fun

    There's a lot to see and do at Zoo Boise, whether you take a lunch-hour stroll, or make it a family outing. There's a fascinating history, as well as much to learn, too. You might even say Zoo Boise has definitely evolved. In fact, the zoo came about almost by accident.

     

    Exotic birds and an escaped circus chimp!

    In 1916, Zoo Boise began as a menagerie to house a collection of exotic birds and an escaped circus chimp. For the last 100 years, Zoo Boise has continued to grow, adding new exhibits and programs to become a community treasure that provides a wonderful educational and recreational opportunity for more than 340,000 visitors annually making Zoo Boise one of the largest attractions in the state.

    Unfortunately, as Zoo Boise has grown, so have the threats facing animals in the wild.  Elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, gorillas, pandas, polar bears, and countless others—all face extinction within a couple of decades.

    For Zoo Boise, simply being a nice place to bring your family to learn about animals is no longer enough. We had to do more in order to address this crisis that threatens the world's most iconic species, the same species our children hold so dear.

     

    Zoo Boise turns the act of visiting a zoo into a conservation action!

    In 2007, Zoo Boise became the first zoo in the country to create a conservation fee. The 50¢ fee, charged in addition to the admission price, was designed to fund conservation projects taking place in Idaho and around the world. More importantly, it changed the purpose of a zoo visit—empowering visitors to help save the very creatures they were seeing.

    Additional mechanisms were created, including a conservation fee on memberships, the chance to feed a giraffe or a bear in exchange for a small fee, the opportunity to take a conservation cruise to see monkeys or feed goats and sheep in our Zoo Farm. All these little conservation fees, multiplied by our hundreds of thousands of visitors, have now generated $3 million to date for the conservation of animals around the world.

    While we all care about animals and want to protect them in the wild, knowing how to help can be a challenge. So, Zoo Boise has redefined itself as a vehicle to help our visitors save endangered species. Now, when families visit Zoo Boise, they don't just see animals, they help save them as well.

    Learn more by visiting www.zooboise.org/conservation.

     

    Gorongosa National Park Exhibit and other iconic species!

    Zoo Boise is home to more than 100 different species including lions, tiger, giraffes, sloths, penguins, bald eagle, snow leopards, spider monkeys, Komodo dragon, and red pandas.

    In 2019, Zoo Boise opened its brand new Gorongosa National Park Exhibit! Gorongosa was once one of the greatest parks in Africa but was destroyed during 25 years of war in Mozambique. Zoo Boise is part of a partnership to rebuild the park, increasing animal populations while also addressing the needs of the very poor people who live nearby.

    Besides housing amazing animals like Nile crocodiles and baboons, the exhibit also tells the story of the agricultural, medical, and education programs that are in place to partner with the people of Mozambique.

    Ever-evolving, Zoo Boise is a fantastic place for everyone in groups or by oneself. Make a plan to visit today!

    *************

    The City of Boise is closely monitoring COVID-19. Zoo Boise is following City recommended guidelines and policies for the safety of our guests, employees, and animal collection. Advance tickets may be required. Visit www.zooboise.org to learn more about current ticketing and operating guidelines and to find out what exhibits, animal encounters, buildings, and play structures are currently open or closed.

     

    October
    5

    National Cookie Month: Bakeries in Boise You'll Love

    Bakeries in Boise

    Visiting Boise homes for sale and need something for your sweet tooth? You're in luck!

    National Cookie Month is coming in October – and our real estate agents sure won't blame you for stopping at multiple bakeries to celebrate. After all, Boise is chock full of family-owned bakeries that provide delicious and imaginative cakes, cupcakes, and (of course) cookies.

    If you're out on the town, you can visit your favorite bakery to enjoy all of the sights and smells that go into making your treat. Or, if you're in a hurry, many Boise bakeries now do local delivery and fast in-store pickup. Just call your order in or use the bakery website.

    Warm, soft, delicious cookies will be waiting whenever you're ready!

    With so many bakeries to choose from, it's hard to know where to start – especially if you just moved into the area. But we hope this list will help you find your new favorite bakery in Boise:

    1. Sweet Valley Cookie Co. – 4103 West State Street, Boise, ID 83703
      Sweet Valley Cookie Co. is a full-service bakery with local delivery. Most goods are sold by the dozen, including an array of unforgettable cookies: From chocolate chip to chocolate crinkle, frosted sugar, ginger, lemon burst, and more. One of the most popular products is the 18-inch Brookie ("brownie cookie"), which is emerging as a new mainstay for birthday parties.
    2. One Haute Cookie – 257 East State Street, Eagle, ID 83616
      Just about twenty minutes from Boise, minutes from Eagle homes for sale stands One Haute Cookie. Founded in 2010, it has established a dedicated following through its delightful cookie sets, special orders, and baking classes where you can learn cookie secrets from the pros. The fresh-baked cookie sets run the gamut from birthday, holiday, and housewarming themes with a range of classic flavors.
    3. Pastry Perfection – 5855 North Glenwood Street, Garden City, ID 83714
      A long-time local institution, Pastry Perfection has been around since 1983 and is still going strong. Right around the corner from Garden City homes for sale, "choice and variety" are the watchwords here. Pastry Perfection creates donuts, cookies, Danishes, coffee cakes, and much more every day. Don't miss out on the coconut macaroons, chocolate dipped butter cookies, or English crunch.
    4. Marsh Cakes – 611 East State Street, Eagle, ID 83616
      Best known for its award-winning wedding cakes, Marsh Cakes goes the extra mile in quality with everything it does. Its artisanal, small-batch cookies are based on its beloved cake recipes and reflect a creative approach to flavor. Sea salt chocolate chip is the Marsh Cakes take on America's most beloved cookie, while their birthday cake flavor brings the sugar cookie to a scrumptious new level.
    5. Goldy's Corner – 625 West Main Street, Boise, ID 83702
      Goldy's Corner is a hangout spot with a relaxed atmosphere. It welcomes leisurely visits to study, chat, or even hold a meeting. While you can find all kinds of drinks and snacks here, the pastry menu truly stands out. It offers a showcase of traditional, gluten-free, and vegetarian baked goods. Brownies, cakes, muffins, and even pastry bars round out the selection of more than a dozen cookie varieties.

    Around Boise, Eagle, Garden City, and all throughout the area, you'll never find yourself far from a sweet indulgence. For fresh-baked information on local real estate opportunities, contact us today.

    September
    18

    Fraud Alert! News From Our Technology Partners

     

    Online Merchant "Brushing"

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

    In this day and age where many people are resorting to buying online rather than going in-store for purchases, this is becoming a rampant trend. 

    What is brushing?

    Simply put, it's receiving an unsolicited package from an online retailer.  You may have heard about the mysterious seed packages being sent from China (which the US and Idaho Dept. of Agriculture are requesting you do not plant and report the receipt of such packages to them), but it isn't just seeds.  Clothing, technology, beauty products, and sundries are often being sent to unsuspecting consumers.

    So, what is the problem with receiving these free "gifts"? It means that your personal information (such as name, address, and phone number, at the very least) is out there on the internet and being bought and sold illicitly. Online retailers are using this information to create fake reviews to boost product and seller ratings.

    What can you do?

    Notify the marketplace of the seller.  You can either keep or discard the items; that part does not matter.  However, use this as an alert to start monitoring and adjusting how you buy things and what information you are providing to anyone requesting it, both in-person and online.

    A few recommendations to safeguard your information:

    1. Be cautious about entering in personal details on any website or platform (even loyalty rewards programs). Any customer database has the constant threat of being hacked where customer database information is stolen and sold.
    2. Do not buy things from web platforms that are not retailers, such as Facebook or TikTok.
    3. Be very cautious about purchasing items from Wish or overseas retailers that have less than strict data management and information retention policies or those that cannot be enforced here in the US.  You can usually tell an overseas retailer by a very long shipping delay.
    4. If you buy from online marketplaces such as Walmart, Amazon, Newegg, or any others, check the seller reviews.
    5. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Is saving $20 on a new TV, monitor, computer, or any other purchase worth selling your personal information and having it possibly land in unsavory hands? 
    6. Be careful what you click on! This year we have the one-two punch of Coronavirus and an election.  Overzealous advertising with clickbait is extremely rampant.

    Read more here: https://www.bbb.org/article/news-releases/20509-brushing-scam-indicates-a-serious-problem-for-victims

    If you have any questions about any of the above you can always check in with us!  If you have an urgent need, please call or email our office.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Reminder: Coronavirus – technology cleaning best practices:  

    1. Wash your hands before and after using your own or any community computer.
    2. Regularly sanitize your own phones and computers, especially if used by multiple people.
    3. Once a week (or once a day), turn your computer off and using an alcohol swab (preferred) or Lysol wipe, thoroughly wipe down your keyboard and mouse, and really any common surface that is touched.  Make sure to get in between the keys and the scroll wheel on the mouse.  If you have a touchscreen, make sure to wipe the screen.  If you have a laptop, wipe the entire case, open and closed.  Be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
    4. For phones, do the same, but be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and input jacks/ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
    5. If using Lysol or Clorox wipes, make sure to read the label and keep the surface wet for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer.

    *We are seeing an increased amount of port damage due to Lysol wipes; please be very cautious using these around the ports in your phone and computers.*

    We recommend using rubbing alcohol rather than wipes. You can find the rubbing alcohol wipes in the first aid section of most stores.

    If you have any questions about updates, pop-ups, emails, or need a clean-up, this can be done remotely.  Please contact our office via phone at 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com if you need immediate assistance.

     

    September
    17

    From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    The Fed Remains Accommodative; Retail is Bouncing Back

     

    Neither the Federal Reserve meeting nor the economic data had much impact on mortgage markets over the past week. Rates again ended little changed, close to record-low levels.

    At Wednesday's meeting, Fed officials confirmed what most investors had anticipated for quite a while. In short, to help support the economy, the Fed has no plans to raise the federal funds rate for the next few years. According to the statement, the Fed will maintain short-term rates near zero until the labor market reaches "maximum employment" and inflation has risen above 2%. Officials also revised their 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) projections from June, which forecasted a decline of 6.5%, to a smaller drop of 3.7%.

    Since consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of all economic activity in the U.S., the retail sales data is a key indicator of growth. Following large declines in March and April due to the pandemic, retail sales have bounced back rapidly, and the trend continued in August with a solid increase of 0.6% from July. Purchases of clothing and furniture were particularly strong.

    The reduced economic activity from previous months has caused a significant decline in inflation. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services. In August, core CPI was 1.7% higher than a year ago. While this was up from recent levels of just 1.2%, it still was far below the readings of around 2.3% seen during the first few months of the year, prior to the pandemic.

     

     

    September
    21

    World Tourism Day: Be a Tourist for a Day in Boise

    Boise Tourism

    Sunday, September 27th, was World Tourism Day, and although we may not be able to travel the globe right now, we can still discover new and interesting places in our own backyards. Don't despair if you missed the actual Tourism Day! You can still spend some quality time being a tourist in Boise. Idaho's capital city has so much history and culture to explore that you may be surprised what you can stumble upon without venturing far from home.

    1. Idaho Botanical Garden – 2355 Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, ID 83712
      Grab a breath of fresh air at the Idaho Botanical Garden. As one of the oldest and original botanical gardens in the state, the Idaho Botanical Garden continues to welcome residents and visitors alike to stroll its fifteen lush acres. Located in the Boise Foothills and the Old Penitentiary Historic District, this self-guided and small group tours are available where you can learn about local conservation efforts and admire the wonderful pieces of art around the garden.

    2. Oregon Trail Reserve – 4500 E. Lake Forest Dr., Boise, ID 83716
      The Oregon Trail is an iconic America route that crossed through part of Idaho. A visit to the Oregon Trail Reserve will let you retrace the steps of Western settlers that spanned 2,170-miles from the Missouri River to Oregon. Along the trail are actual pieces of wagons left behind by these pioneers. The Oregon Trail Reserve is a fascinating place to learn about our nation's history while enjoying our state's natural beauty.

    3. Zoo Boise – 355 Julia Davis Dr., Boise, ID 83702
      Visit your wild neighbors at Zoo Boise. Home to over 300 animals representing more than 100 species, Zoo Boise gives you an up-close and personal look at these stunning creatures. Their engaging special attractions include encounters with sloth bears and giraffes, a petting zoo, a butterfly area, animal presentations, and a conservation cruise. Grab your tickets in advance and meet the newest member of Boise's community, a female nyala calf.

    4. Boise Art Museum – 670 Julia David Dr., Boise, ID 83702
      The Boise Art Museum invites you to wander their exceptional exhibits, stunningly curated collections, and learn about in nearly every form. Current exhibitions include Io Palmer's 'Desired Interruptions,' a collection of ceramics and textiles from the Southwest, and three impressionist masterworks from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Tours of the gallery are available, but if you'd like to unleash your creative juices, BAM has classes and workshops for artists of every skill level.

    5. Old Idaho Penitentiary – 2445 Old Penitentiary Rd., Boise, ID 83712
      We encourage you to go to jail during your tour of Boise! The Old Idaho Penitentiary is one of the most interesting sites in the city. Opened in 1872, some of the cruelest criminals in the West were contained inside. Today, guests can take an exciting tour throughout the site's 30 buildings. There are educational events, exhibits, and tours throughout the year, which will teach you everything you've ever wanted to know about the daring escapes, scandals, and executions the Old Idaho Penitentiary has witnessed.
    September
    14

    Lack of Inventory Continues to Drive Home Prices

     

    Valley Home Prices Continue to Rise Amid Low Inventory

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    The median sales price for all homes sold in Ada County in August reached $400,000, up 12.7% year-over-year, surpassing the previous high in July 2020 of $390,000.

    Our home prices continue to be driven by a shrinking supply of existing homes available for sale compared to demand, more new homes selling at ever-higher prices, increased purchase power due to low mortgage rates, and now, buyer activity being compressed into a shorter time period as a result of COVID-19.

    First, the number of existing homes for sale has trended down for years now, and there were only 239 existing homes available for purchase at the end of August. This is a dramatic decrease of 72.1% compared to the same month last year, and a record low since BRR began tracking the metric in May 2006.

    To further illustrate this imbalance, the months supply of inventory for existing homes in Ada County was also at a record low of 0.3 months as of August. For reference, a balanced market would be between 4.0-6.0 months. This lack of inventory is putting tremendous pressure on existing home prices, which reached a median sales price of $385,500 in August.

    Another factor impacting prices is the mix of sales. With fewer choices among existing inventory, many homebuyers are purchasing new construction, increasing the demand in that segment. In August, new homes made up 32.9% of all closed sales, at a median sales price of $444,900. In addition to greater buyer demand, new construction prices are being driven by rising lumber prices. According to the National Association of Home Builders, "The price of lumber has staged a staggering increase in recent months, rising roughly 80% since mid-April… [which is adding] thousands of dollars to the cost of a typical newly-built home."

    Third, the historically low mortgage interest rates are allowing buyers to purchase at higher price points. For comparison purposes, the rate in August 2006 (the market's previous peak) was at 6.5% versus 2.9% in August 2020. This has kept monthly payments at roughly the same as what they were during the previous peak in 2006, despite the increase in home prices.

    Finally, after a brief COVID-related slowdown earlier this spring, home sales rebounded in August with 1,251 homes closing during the month, up 18.9% compared to August 2019. Interestingly, closed sales year-to-date versus the same period last year were nearly even, with 7,737 and 7,547 sales, respectively.

    Off-market new inventory is allowing us to have consistent sales numbers despite low inventory. With so many buyers looking at new construction, builders can sell homes that are not yet built, and therefore, not yet reflected in the IMLS as inventory.

    In August, nearly 25% of newly built homes sold were not previously listed on the MLS showed up as a closed sale. This should give hope to homebuyers that while inventory is low, there are options available. Identifying new construction opportunities, in addition to options in the existing market, is just one more way a REALTOR® can bring value to your home search.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for August, CLICK HERE.

     

    September
    16

    Outdoor Adventure in Boise

     

    Get into Outdoor Learning

    The City of Trees, the valley's many parks, and the surrounding foothills are rich with learning opportunities for all ages. With most of the valley's schools in some combination of online school and after a summer of social distancing and activities that were likely far from normal, parents might feel exhausted at the possibility of coming up with something new to get their kids away from the screen.

    Fortunately, there are plenty of outdoor places to explore. From area parks and the Greenbelt to foothills trails, now is one of the best times to make your own adventure.

    Identify birds common in SW Idaho – visit whatbirdsareinmybackyard.com and challenge the kids to make a list of the birds they see. If they have cameras or smartphones, encourage some picture-taking. Keep track and set out each time to add to your list.

    Take part in some autumn science – as the summer turns to fall, what changes are you seeing around your yard, a nearby park, or on your street? Keep track of where the sun is on the horizon at the same time each day for a week. How much has it changed? Ask the kids to draw pictures that include the differences the observe.

    Check out kindercare.com for some fun ideas you can all do with the leaves that will start falling soon. Make it a family affair with everyone participating. Even mom, dad, and the older kids will have fun making art, tossing maple seed pods in the air and watching the helicopters spin to the ground, and enjoying cooler evenings.

    Pack a picnic and visit Hyatt Hidden Lakes Reserve – Nestled between Maple Grove and McMillan and just south of Chinden, this lesser-visited park is a wonderful treasure waiting to be explored. This 44-acre park provides a haven for birds and wildlife. Well-maintained trails and educational signage provide a learning experience for the whole family. Because this is a reserve, pets are not allowed. Make note that restrooms are closed for the time being due to COVID-19.

    Take in the MK Nature Center in SE Boise – This 4.6-acre site runs along the Greenbelt offers visitors a unique view of nature tucked in the city. The StreamWalk offers underwater viewing windows so visitors can see fish in their natural habitat. Bird and wildlife viewing is plentiful, as well. There are four online lessons available that you can watch before your visit, and a mobile-friendly brochure lists 30 fun things to discover while you are there.

    Challenge yourself with the Great Boise Scavenger Hunt – Put on your walking shoes, head downtown, and learn about the history of Boise while solving puzzles and discovering treasures. The approximate two-mile course generally takes between two and three hours to complete, depending on stops in between. Using smartphones, teams (who must register/purchase tickets) will be given clues to solve about monuments, parks, statues, and more. Points of interest include the Basque Block, Freak Alley, and the Anne Frank Memorial.

    Boise and the surrounding cities have much to offer, so take a break from sitting in front of a computer screen, and go outside to play!

    September
    8

    Best Places to Go Paddling Near Boise

    Boise Kayaking Spots

    Healthcare professionals have long promoted spending time around water as an effective method of relieving stress. Nearly 23 million people each year participate in paddlesports as an eco-friendly way to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of water-based activities. 

    Fortunately, Boiseans have convenient access to some of the best lakes and rivers in the western United States. Whether you're a newcomer or experienced paddler, check out these scenic locations and great shops for an exciting experience on the water.

    1. Boise Whitewater Park - 3400 W. Pleasanton Ave., Boise, ID 83702
      Who says the words "urban" and "paddlesports" are incompatible? Boise Whitewater Park, one of the largest urban boating and boarding centers in the country, is an elite facility that's been years in the making. Esther's Pond and Quinn's Pond comprise an "outdoor gym" for canoeing, kayaking, and paddleboarding, including SUP yoga and fitness classes. Adjustable wave features make BWP an ideal spot for beginners to train. Check out current conditions on the site's webcams. Park hours are sunrise to sunset daily.

    2. Idaho River Sports - 601 N. Whitewater Park Blvd., Boise, ID 83702
      Do you need advice picking the right kayak to buy? Maybe your damaged paddleboard needs a little TLC. Since 1987, Jo and Stan of Idaho River Sports have been helping paddle sports enthusiasts make the most of their outdoor activities. Top brands of kayaks, rafts, and paddleboards are available for rental or purchase, along with a comprehensive selection of clothing, gear, and accessories. IRS also offers fun and educational classes in SUP yoga and introduction to kayaking and paddleboarding. Located on the Greenbelt across from Boise Whitewater Park, IRS is open seven days a week year-round.

    3. Centennial Waterfront Park - Canyon Springs Rd, Twin Falls, ID 83301
      Idaho's Magic Valley earned its name thanks to the way the system of dams and canals "magically" transformed land that was thought to be uninhabitable. But the term could apply equally to the stunning scenery, especially majestic Shoshone Falls, known as the "Niagara of the West." Enjoy the leisurely two-hour drive from Boise to Centennial Waterfront Park for a paddling trip that takes you past the I.B. Perrine Bridge and BASE jumpers before reaching Shoshone Falls. Not yet ready for the full trip? Make halfway-point Pillar Falls your destination. AWOL Sports has a convenient kayak, and paddleboard rental stand onsite. 

    4. Blue Heart Springs - 1128 Banbury Rd., Buhl, ID 83316
      If you've ever daydreamed about a trip to the tranquil blue waters of the Caribbean, your wish may be closer than you think. Blue Heart Springs, a secluded cove off the Snake River near Hagerman in the Magic Valley, will make you feel worlds away from civilization. Surrounded by canyon walls and brush, the crystal-clear water is a mesmerizing shade of blue that must be seen to be believed. Blue Heart Springs is accessible only by water, and motorboats are required to kill their engines, so the cove is truly a private oasis. Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented at Banbury Hot Springs

    Boise has a wide range of outdoor and cultural attractions to accommodate any lifestyle. Let Coldwell Banker Tomlinson handle your real estate needs, so you have more time for fun. Contact us today for more information.

    August
    12

    The Residential Housing Market in Ada County Sees Record-Setting Numbers

     

    Ada County Housing Market Sets Records in July

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    In July, the median sales price for homes sold in Ada County reached $390,000, inventory bottomed out at 743, closed sales hit a high mark at 1,402, and pending sales soared to 2,046.

    These were all new records since 2004 when BRR started tracking these metrics, and the results of the spring and summer markets being compressed into a shorter time frame after COVID-related slowdowns in March and April.

    At $390,000, the median sales price was up 11.7% compared to July 2019 and continues to be driven by the mix of sales. New homes made up 31.1% of all closed sales in July, at a median sales price of $425,000, which was up 9.1% from the same month last year.

    The median sales price for the existing segment rose as well, reaching $380,000 in July, an increase of 15.2% year-over-year. Looking more closely at the mix of sales, we see a drop in the number of homes listed and sold between $200,000-$299,999, and a sharp increase in those priced above $500,000, which pushed up the median for the segment and market overall:

    There are a number of variables at play when it comes to home prices, but the bottom line is that buyer demand continues to outpace the supply of homes for sale. The existing homes that are available for purchase are often being listed and are selling at higher prices than in what we saw in 2019. Our market has faced low inventory for years now, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recession have put even more pressure on the supply/demand relationship.

    At the end of July, there was a record low 743 homes available for sale in Ada County, down 56.8% year-over-year. Of those listings, 337 were existing and 406 were new construction.

    As mentioned in previous reports, we expected a rebound in closed and pending sales due to pent up buyer demand even before the pandemic hit, so the July sales numbers did not come as a surprise. There were 1,402 home sales in Ada County in July, up 22% compared to the year before and the highest number of sales on record since we began tracking the metric in 2004.

    And don't expect things to slow down just yet: Pending sales hit an all-time high of 2,046 in July, which will be reflected in closed sales data in the coming months. The concept of a "traditional buying or selling season" has been forgotten in 2020. As the market continues to change, buyers and sellers are finding it's more important than ever before to rely on the guidance and expertise of a REALTOR®.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for July, CLICK HERE.

     

    August
    11

    From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    The Services Sector Improves; Inflation Falls

     

    Overview

    Over the past week, the economic data continued to reflect a stronger than expected recovery following the partial shutdown due to the pandemic. Mortgage rates held relatively steady near-record-low levels.

    The major economic reports have broadly revealed a rapid rebound in June and July from the historic weakness seen in April and May, and recent data from the services sector continued the trend. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Services Index rose to 58.1, which was well above the consensus forecast of 55 and the highest level since February 2019. Services account for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, and readings above 50 indicate an expansion in the sector.

    The decline in economic activity due to the coronavirus has caused inflation to fall, which has helped keep mortgage rates low. In June, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index was just 0.9% higher than a year ago, which was down from an annual rate of increase of 1% last month. Core PCE is the inflation indicator favored by the Federal Reserve (Fed), and officials have stated that their target level for annual inflation is 2%.

    Gross domestic product (GDP) is the broadest measure of economic growth. Economists had long been forecasting massive declines of around 30% to 35% for the period from April through June due to the pandemic, and the actual report revealed that second-quarter GDP fell a record 32.9% on an annualized basis. Early estimates for third-quarter GDP growth are about 20%, which reflects the improvement in more recent economic data.

     

     

    August
    3

    Geocaching Day: Where to go Geocaching in Boise

    Geocaching in Boise

    Let's go on a treasure hunt in Boise! Even though we may be a few hundred years late for the Idaho Gold Rush, we're right on time to scour the City of Trees for a new kind of treasure. Saturday, August 15th, is International Geocaching Day and it's the perfect time to discover the unique gems hidden in plain sight! We challenge you to find these unique treasures hidden in the Treasure Valley.

    Geocaching 101

    What is geocaching? In a sense, it's the ultimate scavenger hunt! Geocaching is a modern-day outdoor treasure hunting game that spans the entire planet! A geocache, also known simply as a "cache", is a unique trinket or group items usually concealed within a container. Items could be anything and geocache capsules can be any size, though typically most geocaches are small tokens hidden inside containers the size of coffee cans.

    Instead of using a physical paper map, geocaches are marked with GPS coordinates online. These coordinates point geocachers to a general location, such as a local park. A clue is then tied to the GPS coordinate to give the geocacher a specific hint as to where to look, such as by the monkey bars in the park. When you find the geocache, there will usually be a small logbook where you can add your name to the list of those who have successfully found it. While you shouldn't remove the geocache, you are allowed to take a token from it as long as you replace it with a token of equal value.

    Geocaching in Boise

    Before you set out on a quest to find all of the geocaches around Boise, you must first become an official geocacher. Signing up is easy and free on the geocaching website. Unfortunately, you won't be able to view the list of Boise geocaches unless you are a member so be sure to sign up ASAP. Now that you're ready to go on your treasure hunt, allows us to point you to a few of our favorites geocaches:

    Of course, you don't need to geocache to have outdoor fun in Boise. If you need to stretch your legs and get a breath of fresh air with the family, we encourage you to check out one of these great local parks. Just be sure to keep your eyes peeled for geocaches; you never know where one might pop up!

    Searching for a gem of a home in the city? We have the GPS coordinates of the best Boise homes for sale

    July
    28

    Tips for Moving During COVID-19

     

    Planning on moving soon? Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and your belongings.

    By Laura McHolm, co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company

    Coldwell Banker Blue Matter

    Over the past few months, we have all been learning how to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of our social events or travel plans have been put on hold, moving does not have to be. Moving and Storage are actually considered essential businesses, which means they remain open. With a little extra planning and by following the CDC and WHO safety measures, you can safely move during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are some of our top safety tips for moving during COVID-19 to protect your family and belongings.

    What to do before your move:

    1. Plan a Contactless Move during COVID-19

    As you begin researching moving companies online, remember to also ask questions on how they are mitigating the health risks of COVID-19. A few movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home visits. The video estimate feature allows you to get the cost of your move without having an onsite estimator in your home. You can also use this handy moving box calculator to figure out how many moving boxes you will need.

    2. Get packing supplies delivered to you

    Since studies have shown that the coronavirus can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, it's best to purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover. Eco-friendly moving companies, like NorthStar Moving, use moving boxes made of 100% recyclable materials and also give you a discount when you recycle them back. Even during a pandemic, we can do our part to care for our environment.

    3. Let others know ahead of time

    If you are moving out or into an apartment building or condominium complex, notify your management company of the time and date of your move. Remember to make these arrangements ahead of time on both ends of the move. Ask your management team about using a service elevator for the day of your move and special arrangements needed for parking the moving truck. You should also notify your neighbors by phone or email so that they can be aware to keep a safe distance in halls and elevators on your moving day.

    4. Donate unwanted items during this time of need

    As you prepare for your move, mark boxes of unwanted clothing and non-perishable food items that can be donated to Goodwill or local food banks. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused food insecurity for many families; donating your shelf-stable foods is a great way to lighten your load and give back to your community.

    What to do during your Move:

    5. Extra Sanitary Precautions while moving during COVID-19

    Movers should come prepared with their face masks. Keep your distance from movers and avoid handshakes. Keep soap, running water, and paper towels available for movers and your family to wash your hands throughout the day. As much as possible, keep windows opened to allow plenty of fresh air to circulate.

    6. Label rooms and boxes to make the move seamless

    Take the time to label your boxes and the rooms in your new home before your movers arrive. Clear signs will help movers know where to place each moving box and large furniture without you having to come into close contact with them. Creating a simple floor plan ahead of time will save you time and money.

    What to do after your Move:

    7. Clean your new home before unpacking

    After the movers leave, take some time to disinfect any areas that are high touch zones. Wipe down door handles, light switches, and bathrooms before you finish unpacking. Get rid of any germs that could have been brought in on foot traffic by sweeping and mopping your floors. 

    8. Pack your patience and an overnight bag

    Finish unpacking by disinfecting boxes or simply wait 24 hours. Pack a fresh set of sheets, pajamas, and toiletries in your overnight bag. This will come in handy after a long day of moving.

    Stay informed while moving during COVID-19

    Keep in mind, as we all continue to adapt to the changing times, it's important to stay informed and follow any local or state restrictions. At NorthStar Moving, we want to alleviate the anxiety and stress of moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. Please consider all of the extra safety precautions our team is taking during moves and in our offices. If you are not ready to make the move yet, learn how to transform your home for stay-at-home needs.

     

    Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award-winning, "A+" rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

    July
    16

    From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Low Inflation Helps Keep Rates at Record Lows

     

    Overview

    During a light week for economic data, investors remained focused on the concerning spread of the coronavirus in many regions. Mortgage rates dropped slightly to new record-low levels.

    Reduced economic activity resulting from the pandemic has caused a significant decline in inflation, which has helped keep mortgage rates low. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a widely followed monthly inflation report that looks at the price change for goods and services.

    In June, core CPI, which excludes the volatile food and energy components, was just 1.2% higher than a year ago — the same annual rate of increase as last month. This was down compared to readings above 2% during the first three months of the year.

    Both Freddie Mac and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) reported that average rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages reached record-low levels again this week, in part due to recent tame inflation data like CPI. In addition, the MBA revealed that applications to purchase a home were 16% higher than a year ago at this time, and refinance applications were a massive 107% higher.

    New claims for unemployment benefits continued to decline this week after spiking dramatically due to the pandemic. During January and February, jobless claims typically were a little more than 200,000 each week. Beginning in late March, there were three weeks of readings above 6 million. Since that time, however, they have steadily dropped each week, and the latest results came in at a relatively better level of 1.3 million.

     

     

    July
    15

    Ada County Home Sales Pick Up in June

     

    Ada County Home Sales Pick Up in June

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    Following two consecutive months of year-over-year declines, home sales in Ada County were up 3.4% in June 2020 compared to June of 2019. Pending sales, or properties with an accepted offer that should close within 30-60 days, were also up 17.0% year-over-year.

    This rebound in closed and pending sales was due to pent up buyer demand and the fact that our market was strong before the pandemic hit our region. While our local housing market may continue to be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis on some level or another, this uptick in sales and homes under contract is a good sign.

    Home prices also increased in June with the overall median sales price reaching a new high at $375,000. This was 6.3% higher than in June of 2019, and less than a percent higher than the previous high from April 2020 of $374,900. Prices continue to be driven by a lack of existing supply compared to demand, and more than one-third of all home sales represented by new construction.

    One way to measure the supply vs. demand relationship is by using the Months Supply of Inventory metric (or MSI), which compares the number of sales (buyer demand) to available inventory (supply). A balanced market — not favoring buyers or sellers — is between 4-6 months. In June 2020, the overall months' supply of inventory was at just 1.0 months — the lowest number we've seen since January 2016 when we began tracking MSI. Inventory is constricted even further in the existing/resale segment with only 0.6 months' supply in June.

    Inventory is needed across the board, but demand is especially high for existing homes. If you're considering selling but want to limit interactions with the public, talk to your REALTOR® about virtual tours, tactics to minimize foot traffic, personal protective equipment, and other ways to keep yourself and others safe.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for June, CLICK HERE.

     

    July
    20

    Where to Play Pickleball in Boise this Summer

    Pickleball in Boise

    Boise, are you ready to play ball? Pickleball is one of the nation's fastest-growing sports. This fun hybrid of tennis, badminton, and table tennis is catching on in schools, senior centers, and local outdoor spaces. Players can play one-on-one or in teams of two, taking turns hitting a plastic ball over a net with a paddle. With the ability to play indoors and outdoors, it's fairly easy for you to get out and join a pickleball game! Following is a list of just a few of our area's courts. Check HERE for a larger list and a map.

    Outdoor Pickleball Courts

    • Manitou Park – 2001 S. Manitou Ave., Boise, ID 83706
      Grab some fresh air at Manitou Park. This 11-acre green space features mature trees that perfectly shade the area. Open space for play, a small playground, and an off-leash dog park make this the perfect park for your whole family. Along with a basketball court, there are also two tennis courts which you can reserve for a pickleball game.

    • Willow Lane Park – 4618 W. Willow Ln., Boise, ID 83703
      On the northwest side of Boise, you'll find the quaint Willow Lane Park. Although it's only situated on three acres, it does have a full athletic complex in addition to a standard park. The complex features basketball hoops, a BMX jump park, open play areas, and six dedicated pickleball courts.

    • Peppermint Park – 11855 W. Peppermint Dr., Boise, ID 83709 
      A 7-acre jewel in SW Boise, Peppermint Park is a delightful neighborhood park located next to Pepper Ridge Elementary School. Two outdoor courts share nets with the two tennis courts. Other park amenities include a playground, a basketball court, open play areas, pathways, and restrooms. 

    • Rita Huskey Park – 2887 Tubac Dr., Meridian, ID 83646 
      Just opened in February 2020, Reta Huskey Park is located along Five Mile Creek off N. Ten Mile Road between Ustick and McMillan. The 8.9-acre park includes 3 pickleball courts, as well as a picnic shelter, climbing features, exercise equipment, a playground, and sport court.

    Indoor Pickleball Courts

    • YMCA Downtown – 1050 W. State St., Boise, ID 83702
      The Treasure Valley Family YMCA located in downtown Boise hosts pickleball games throughout the week. These typically take place every Monday and Wednesday morning between 9 am and 11 am, however, you should check their play schedule for playtime updates.

    • Fort Boise Community Center – 700 N. Robbins Rd., Boise, ID 83702
      The Fort Boise Community Center invites you to join their Drop-In Pickleball sessions throughout the week. All skill levels are encouraged to attend. Lessons run Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 am while games are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4 pm and on Fridays alternating between 9 am to 2 pm and 6 pm to 10 pm depending on the week. Monthly passes are available but single-game fees are $3.00 for seniors and $4.00 for adults.

    • Boise State University – 1910 University Dr., Boise, ID 83715
      Pickleball can be played on the courts of the Student Recreation Center on the campus of Boise State University. However, any member of the public that is not a student, employee, or alumnus must be sponsored by one of these individuals to play on campus.

    Would you like to live in a community close to a pickleball court? Let us do the searching for you!  

    June
    15

    Have Ada County Home Sales Slowed Due to COVID-19?

    Home Sales in Ada County were Slower for the Second Month Due to COVID-19

    By Breanna Vanstrom, Chief Executive Officer, Boise Regional REALTORS®

     

    For the second consecutive month, home sales in Ada County were lower than the same month in 2019, as REALTORS® and consumers heeded Idaho's stay-home order for any non-essential transactions.

    Closed sales were down 29.7% compared to May of 2019, but as this is a backward-looking metric, it primarily reflects buyer activity during March and April when more restrictions around showings and open houses were in place.

    However, pending sales, or properties with an accepted offer that should close within 30-60 days, were up 4.7% in May 2020 compared to last year, and up 25.4% compared to April. The 1,957 pending properties, which were almost evenly split between the new construction and existing/resale, will be reflected in the sales data in June and July.

    While the Ada County housing market has indeed been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, we believe the stage is set for a rebound in sales, due to the strong market position at the beginning of the year and continuing buyer demand compared to supply.

    The median sales price in May 2020, for new construction and existing/resale combined, was $360,450, up 6.0% year-over-year but down 3.9% from the record high in April of $374,900.

    This month-over-month dip was primarily driven by the mix of sales. Previous record highs were the result of new construction making up a large share of closed sales. While still significant in May at 31.8%, the share of new construction sales was down from 35.0% in April, helping to bring down the overall median sales price for the county.

    Whenever you're ready to buy or sell a home, REALTORS® are here to help. Across the valley, brokerages and builders are taking extra precautions to protect clients. Additionally, REALTORS® have access to local, up-to-date market data, and are able to customize it to your unique situation.

    To view the Treasure Valley Market Report for May, CLICK HERE.

    June
    15

    Shop Local: Boise Farmers Markets for Summer Produce

    Summer Produce in Boise

    There are a lot of reasons to welcome summer with open arms. We're especially excited about the return of all our favorite Boise farmers markets. With a long growing season ahead, we are thrilled to recommend these great spots in the Boise area to find fresh, local produce!

    1. Boise Farmers Market - 1500 Shoreline Dr, Boise, ID 83702
      Held from April through October, the Boise Farmers Market is the flagship farmers market in our home city. This outdoor market in the heart of downtown Boise attracts farmers and growers from all over the region, bringing the best fruits, vegetables, and other local goods. The Boise Farmers Market happens every Saturday morning from 9 am to 1 pm.

    2. Capital City Public Market - operating at this time as the 34th St. Market, 303 E. 34th St., Garden City
      Not to be outdone, the Capital City Public Market also takes place on Saturdays during the warmer months, just across town from the Boise Farmers Market. You'll find all kinds of local foods here, from produce and fresh-baked bread to jams, spices, and locally roasted coffee. Catch the 34th Street Market on Wednesday evenings from 5:00 to 8:00 pm and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. 

    3. Farm to Fork Farmers' Market - 120 S. Kimball Ave, Caldwell, ID 83605
      The city of Caldwell is in the heart of Idaho's rich agricultural region and is home to one of our favorite local markets. The Farm to Fork Farmers' Market takes place every Tuesday evening starting at 5 pm and offers a chance to pick up the freshest locally grown produce. With offerings that change with the seasons, there's always an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables available. Caldwell is about 30 minutes from Boise.

    4. Emmett Farmers Market - 4504 W. Park St, Emmett, ID 83617
      Held twice a week in Blaser Park, the Emmett Farmers Market provides an opportunity for shoppers to connect with local farmers in the small city of Emmet, Idaho. With an ever-changing selection of fruits, vegetables, and local foods plus handmade arts and crafts, this farmers market takes place Wednesday evenings from 3 pm to 6 pm, and Saturday mornings from 9 am to 1 pm. 

    Here in Idaho, we're blessed with many great options when it comes to shopping local!

    June
    15

    From Our Lending Partners at Idaho Central Credit Union

     

     

    Economic Activity Picks Up

     

    Overview

    The data released over the past week revealed an unprecedented decline in economic activity resulting from the pandemic, but also indicated that recovery has already begun. Mortgage markets have been relatively quiet, and rates again ended the week with little change.

    Following growth of 2.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, fell 5.0% in Q1 2020, which was the weakest reading since 2008. As bad as that was, however, it does not even come close to the expected decline for the second quarter. The Federal Reserve publishes an estimate of GDP growth, which it updates every few days based on the most recent data. On Tuesday, the Fed projected that GDP will fall over 50% during the second quarter, which is roughly in line with Wall Street forecasts. After that, early estimates from economists for the second half of the year predict sizable gains.

    Despite the Fed and Wall Street's dire predictions, the more recent results have shown clear signs of a rebound. Two of the most significant reports released each month, which reflect the most current economic activity, are from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The May ISM Services Index rose more than expected to 45.4 from a reading of 41.8 in April. Similarly, the ISM Manufacturing Index increased to 43.1 from 41.5 in April.

    The reduced economic activity resulting from the pandemic has caused a decline in inflation, which has helped keep mortgage rates low. In April, the core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) Price Index, the inflation indicator favored by the Fed, was just 1.0% higher than a year ago, down from an annual rate of increase of 1.7% last month. Fed officials have stated that their target level for annual inflation is 2.0%.

    Looking ahead, investors will continue watching for news about medical advances to fight the pandemic, Fed actions, government stimulus programs, and plans for reopening the economy.

     

     

     

    June
    10

    News From Our Technology Experts

     

    Keeping Yourself and Your Devices Safe

    From Your Friends at Integrity Computer Consulting and Repair

     

    Coronavirus – Hygiene and Action Reminder

    1. Wash your hands before and after using your own or any community computer.
    2. Regularly sanitize your own phones and computers, especially if used by multiple people.
    3. Once a week (or once a day), turn your computer off and using an alcohol swab (preferred) or Lysol wipe, thoroughly wipe down your keyboard and mouse, and really any common surface that's touched.  Make sure to get in between the keys and the scroll wheel on the mouse.  If you have a touchscreen, make sure to wipe the screen.  If you have a laptop, wipe the entire case, open and closed.  Be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
    4. For phones, do the same, but be careful of using Lysol wipes around speakers and input jacks/ports to avoid excessive moisture buildup.
    5. If using Lysol or Clorox wipes, make sure to read the label and keep the surface wet for the amount of time specified by the manufacturer.

     

    BE AWARE: Contact-tracing text scams, emails, and robocalls

    Unfortunately, scammers and hackers are taking advantage of Coronavirus health crisis.  The FTC has issued several warnings and advisories about these scams; that even though Health Departments could reach out via text or email…

    Contact tracers will never ask for sensitive identification or financial information!

    You can use your cell phone carrier's built-in number blocking on your phone to stop unwanted calls or texts from specific numbers; you can also block offending email addresses in your email account. But with any sort of fraud, scammers often use hundreds of thousands of phone numbers and emails and move very quickly onto the next.  This makes permanent blocking hard. 

    To really have an impact, we recommend reporting the offending communication to the FTC.  This can be done online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/

    A few rules of thumb for spam calls, texts, and emails:

    1. Do not engage spammers.  When you answer or respond, you are showing the scammer, spammer, or robo-system that your phone number or email is "live" and put on another list that is sold over and over and the calls/texts/emails will continue infinitely.
    2. Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize.  If it is important or a legitimate call, they will leave a voicemail.
    3. Do not answer texts from numbers you do not recognize.
    4. Do not answer unsolicited or out-of-the-ordinary texts from numbers you do recognize.  The number could be spoofed to fool you.
    5. Do not open emails, download any attachments, or click on links in emails from senders you do not recognize.
    6. Do not download any attachments or click on links in unsolicited or suspicious emails from senders you do recognize. Their email may have been hacked or spoofed.

    If you have any questions about a suspicious email, call, or text, feel free to contact our office via phone 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com.

     

    Malware and Viruses

    During this time people are conducting a lot of business via email, spending money online, and trying to find information on the internet. Be vigilant when opening emails, browsing the internet, downloading free software or games, and clicking on links in email and on the internet.

    1. Fake Adobe Flash Player pop-ups and trying to download the "update" have reared their ugly heads again. If you need to update Java or Flash, we recommend closing the window and going directly to Adobe.com or Java.com and getting the update from the software maker themselves.
    2. Malicious pop-ups on the internet are worse than ever. They usually take over your computer, are very loud with either an alarm or voice telling you your computer is infected, and request you call a number for "tech support."  Usually a simple reboot can clear this from your machine.  First, try CTRL+ALT+Delete to correctly reboot your computer; however, in most instances, we are finding that you will have to hard reboot, aka push the power button until the computer shuts down. After you reboot and go back on the internet, make sure to click the option to NOT restore the previous session. 
    3. Browser hijackers are also increasing.  You go to a website or download a program and it asks to install an extension… you allow it and then your entire browser is infected. In many instances, we are having to reload computers due to these, as they sometimes install extensions in your internet browser and affect your registry.
    4. Click-bait articles, product advertisements, and videos are also a rising nuisance as people try to seek out information on Covid-19.  If it seems outrageous or too good to be true, please do not click on it! Only click on trusted sources only when searching for information or buying products.

    If you have any questions about updates, pop-ups, emails, or need a clean-up, this can be done remotely.  Please contact our office via phone 208.288.4345 or email info@integrityidaho.com if you need immediate assistance.

     

    May
    4

    Restaurants Offering Takeout and Curbside Pickup in Boise

    Boise Takeout

    Ordering from local restaurants is a great way to boost the local economy during a challenging time, support your favorite Boise businesses, and of course, enjoy a great meal in the process. Order takeout or curbside pickup from your favorite restaurants, with this guide from our real estate agents.

    1. Alyonka Russian Cuisine – 2870 W State St., Boise, ID 83702
      The Russian Food Festival has long been a beloved annual event close to Boise homes for sale, and the talented chef who oversees that festival has opened a restaurant serving Russian favorites in Boise. Order from chef Ellen DeYoung's extensive menu at Alyonka Russian Cuisine, and pick your meal up curbside. The menu features many familiar menu items from the festival, along with an extensive selection of authentic Russian cuisine that you won't find anywhere else.

    2. Boise Pie Co. – 1216 N Orchard St., Boise, ID 83706
      Searching for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Look no further than the Boise Pie Co., with sweets, pot pies, sandwiches, sliders, and so much more. Of course, you can also order from the restaurant's famed selection of pies, which includes both familiar favorites and new, unique creations. Boise Pie Co. is currently open for takeout and delivery on weekdays during lunchtime hours.

    3. Fork Restaurant – 199 N 8th St., Boise, ID 83702
      When you're in the mood for a burger, salad, sandwich, soup, or home-style entree, just call up Fork to order for curbside pickup. Fork is currently offering a modified menu for takeout, which features many of your favorites from the regular menu. You can grab one of Fork's famous cocktails to go or choose from an extensive selection of locally crafted beer and wine.

    4. Slow by Slow – 405 S 8th St. #155, Boise, ID 83702
      There's no need to skip your morning cup of coffee, thanks to the curbside pickup and coffee bean delivery options available from Slow by Slow. Long one of Boise's favorite morning spots, Slow by Slow, offers an extensive selection of coffees from around the world. You can even pick up coffee brewing equipment when you order beans for delivery!

    5. Papa Joe's Restaurant – 1301 S Capitol Blvd., Boise, ID 83706
      Looking for an authentic Italian meal that can feed the whole family? Then Papa Joe's Restaurant is the place to be, and right now, you can order from a modified menu for curbside pickup. The takeout menu features burritos, family-style meals, pizzas, and much more.

    6. Goodness Land Mediterranean Grill – 6555 W Overland Rd., Boise, ID 83709
      Authentic Mediterranean food is always on the menu at the Goodness Land Mediterranean Grill, and now you can bring home some of that goodness by ordering takeout. The full menu is available for takeout, and delivery is also available through third-party apps. Goodness Land serves food from across the Middle East, made from authentic recipes with fresh, local ingredients.

    When you're in the mood for great food, Boise more than has you covered with restaurants serving delicious cuisine from around the world. Ready to find your own home in the city? Contact us today.

    April
    20

    Where to Donate Homemade Masks in Boise

    Homemade Masks in Boise

    The continued spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, continues to impact every aspect of our daily lives. Unfortunately, this respiratory virus can be transmitted from person to person with a simple sneeze or couch. Even individuals who do not show any symptoms yet have the virus can unknowingly spread it rapidly. Because this virus is still a threat to the entire population, the CDC is encouraging all individuals to wear protective masks over their noses and mouths when leaving the house.

    The Vital Need for Homemade Masks

    Personal Protective Equipment, known as PPE, can potentially prevent the wearer from contracting an infection. PPE includes specially designed N95 masks and surgical masks, however, due to a shortage in supply, government officials are asking that these items are reserved exclusively for the use of individuals in the healthcare industry. Thankfully, there are alternatives for the general public, including homemade masks.

    The bacteria of the coronavirus are microscopic and much smaller than other types of bacteria that traditional PPE protects against. Experts say that, while PPE masks can't contain the virus bacteria alone, all masks can help prevent the spread of the virus because the bacteria attach itself to the water molecules emanating from our noses and mouths. Essentially, even a bandana or cotton shirt worn over our faces can potentially prevent us from spreading or contracting the virus.

    Because of the CDC recommendations and dwindling supply, there's been an upsurge in the need for masks for essential personnel. All around the world, communities are taking action to make an abundance of homemade masks for those in need. Our real estate agents encourage you to join us and donate your handmade masks to the essential personnel in the Boise area.

    Where to Donate Homemade Masks in Boise

    Generally speaking, your donation of medical supplies and resources to any healthcare facility in the area will protect those at-risk the most, no matter how large or small the organization is. As the virus continues to spread, many healthcare facilities are formally requesting donations. Saint Alphonsus is accepting donations of homemade masks and lists their mask requirements at this link. Although St. Luke's Health Care System is currently not accepting hand-sewn masks, they are accepting other supplies and encourage Boise natives to donate their masks to the United Way. Groups like Idaho COVID 19 Mutual Aid Group are full of members trying to connect mask makers with those that need these vital supplies.

    If you have the ability to make homemade face masks, we encourage you to follow these instructions from the CDC. These guidelines show you how to sew a mask and create one without sewing equipment. We hope that you and your families are safe and healthy during this difficult time. If the coronavirus has placed challenges in your plans to buy or sell Boise homes for sale, please contact us and allow us to assist you.

    April
    6

    Your Guide to Starting a Garden in Boise

    Boise Garden

    Now that spring is finally here, it's time to work on starting a garden at your Boise home. While it's still too early to put many plants in the ground, you can plan, prepare, and start some plants indoors to transplant when it gets warmer.

    Our REALTORS® share the following guide to starting a garden in Boise:

    The Basics of Gardening in our Area 

    If you're starting a garden in Boise, your frost-free growing season will start, on average, on May 7. This date will help you start and transplant your seeds at the right time. 

    It's also important to use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Mapwhich helps you learn the plants that are likely to grow well in your area. The map's zones are determined by the average annual minimum winter temperature in every area of the country, and Boise is in zone 6. So, if you read a plant label or look up information about it online, check to see if it's recommended for zone 6. It's no guarantee, of course, but the plant's chances of thriving in this area will be good. 

    The Boise area has a relatively short growing season, so many plants will need to be started indoors and then transplanted when there's no longer any danger of frost.

    Growing Veggies

    • Cole Crops 
      These include broccoli and cabbage and also apply to lettuce and spinach. They're ideally started indoors in early spring and are transplanted into the garden in early May. They can also be direct seeded into your garden around April 10, but this option is less preferable since the ground may still be unworkable.

    • Onions Starts, Potatoes, and Peas 
      Onion starts, and potatoes can be planted in late March, and pea seeds can be sown at the same time, provided the ground has thawed.

    • Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants 
      Start these indoors in early spring and then prepare to transplant them into the ground in mid-May. You should wait until no more frost is forecast for the season before planting.

    • Summer Veggies 
      Plant these indoors around the first of May and transplant them into the ground after the danger of frost has passed.


    Growing Flowers 

    • If you're growing flowers, April is a great time to get started by shearing back groundcovers and using a general fertilizer on your flower bands. Roses should also be pruned.

    • Plant any conifers and shrubs as well as summer bulbs like daylilies and cannas.

    • If you have indoor seedlings, start hardening them off, but shelter them from the wind.

    • Aphids can be a nuisance this time of year, so check your plants for them and blast any of these pests you see with water. Also, set up supports for floppy plants such as peonies.

    • When it's May, remove dead blossoms from tulips, daffodils, and crocuses. Feed your roses and plant annuals to fill in your perennial beds. According to local lore, it's safe to plant when the snow has melted off Shafer Butte north of Boise.

    Contact us to learn more about starting a garden in Boise. It's a wonderful way to improve your home's landscaping and make it stand out compared to other Boise homes for sale when you're ready to put it on the market.

    February
    10

    Boise Chocolate Shops for Your Valentine's Day Treats

    Boise Chocolate Shops

    Chocolate makes life a little sweeter. Make some chocolate-flavored memories with a Valentine's Day gift with one of these delightful sweet shops around Boise homes for sale

    • The Chocolat Bar - 805 W. Bannock St., Boise 83702
      Sweets from The Chocolat Bar will take your taste buds on a trip around the world. Owners Jason and Trish use fresh, local ingredients to create flavor combinations inspired by their travels. Be sure to try the signature Theobroma bar, made with layers of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and caramel topped with chocolate cookie crumbles. Customers also rave about their truffles in flavors such as bourbon and cappuccino cardamom. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday.

    • See's Candies - 350 N. Milwaukee St., Boise 83704
      How does a business last for more than 90 years in today's competitive marketplace? When it comes to See's Candies, the answer is simple: provide a superior product and elite customer service. Generations of customers keep returning for the luscious chocolate fudge, truffles, and candy bars made with classic recipes and quality ingredients. Can't decide on just one? Custom mixes are available in one-, two-, three- and five-pound assortments. See's is open daily from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily except 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday.

    • Idaho Candy Company - 412 S. 8th St., Boise 83702
      The iconic Idaho Spud candy bar has been a part of childhood since 1926. Treat your Valentine to other equally delicious treats from the Idaho Candy Company. While the Wagers family took over in 1984, Cherry Cocktail, Old Faithful, and Owyhee Butter Toffee are still being made at the original factory opened in 1909. Convenient variety packs let you surprise your sweetheart with a range of Idaho Candy offerings. Retail shop hours are 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. weekdays.

    • Cravin's Candy Emporium - 3064 S. Bown Way, Boise 83706
      Candy makes everyone a kid at heart, and a visit to Cravin's Candy Emporium will instantly bring back memories of childhood. Billed as "your local neighborhood candy store," Cravin's shelves are chock-full of Bottle Caps, Atomic Fireballs, Root Beer Barrels, and other nostalgic goodies. In-house treats include freshly-made cotton candy and classic glass-bottled sodas that can serve as the base for creamy floats. As if that weren't enough, Cravin's features handcrafted "grown-up" chocolates such as truffles, English toffee, and turtles. Customize your gift with a special bag, box, basket, or retro tin lunch box. Cravin's is open from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily except Sunday when they close at 8 p.m. 

    • Lee's Candies - 840 S. Vista Ave., Boise 83705
      In 1947, Lee Nokelby and his father L.G. opened Lee's Candies with the motto, "Never Change Your Quality." Over the years, Lee's has changed locations, but true to the wishes of its founders, the level of quality has remained high. Today Curtis Nokelby carries on the tradition of his father and grandfather in making delicious truffles, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, fudge, and foil-wrapped novelties. Hours at Lee's are 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday.

    Whether you're buying or selling a home in Boise, our real estate agents will secure a sweet deal. Contact us for more information.

    January
    13

    Best Low-Carb Dining Options in Boise

    Low Carb Dining in Boise

    Part of starting a healthy diet in the new year is knowing your dining options. Luckily, Boise doesn't have a shortage of delicious places to eat! Jump-start your resolution to eat healthy with tasty low-carb dishes at these great restaurants around Boise homes for sale.

    1. Paddles Up Poké - 237 N. 9th St., Boise 83702
      With fresh ingredients and Instagrammable presentations, poké has become a hot food trend, and Paddles Up Poke has the distinction of being the first poké restaurant in Boise. Ahi tuna is the traditional choice, but Paddles Up Poke offers other seafood options along with smoked chicken and tofu. Select one of the signature combos or create your own from dozens of sauce and topping options. Paddles Up Poke is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

    2. Kabob House - 9140 W. Emerald St., Boise 83704
      Take your taste buds on a trip to Central Asia with a visit to Kabob House. Kabobs are a classic Middle Eastern dish involving chunks of meat and vegetables grilled on a skewer, so they're both delicious and easy to eat. Seasoned and marinated protein choices at Kabob House include chicken, beef, and lamb. Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. daily. 

    3. Meraki Greek Street Food - 345 S. 8th St., Boise 83702
      Street food is quick, inexpensive, and portable, and the gyros at Meraki Greek Street Food fit the definition to a T. Traditional gyros with tomatoes, red onion, and tzatziki sauce are available with pork, chicken or lamb. Creative variations include toppings such as candied bacon and fried habanero chips or choose meat-free falafel, halloumi, or veggie styles. Cut the carbs even more by skipping the pita and ordering souvlaki, the Greek version of kabobs. Meraki is open 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    4. Poké Bowl - 2970 N. Eagle Rd., Suite 101, Meridian 83646
      Rising interest in poké is leading to more restaurants such as Poké Bowl near Meridian homes for sale. Bowls ordered during lunch come with a complimentary order of miso soup, made with the "Japanese superfood" that's high in protein. Poké Bowl also offers teriyaki, another low-carb dish with chicken, beef, or salmon. Hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

    5. Fit Donut - 1330 E. Fairview Ave. #105, Meridian 83642
      Donuts high in protein and low in carbs, sugar, and fat? No, you're not dreaming. At Fit Donut, "every day can be a cheat day." Donuts are made from scratch with fresh, high-quality ingredients in mouthwatering flavors such as peanut butter cup, mud pie, and raspberry lemonade. Fit Donut is open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday.

    6. Barbacoa Grill - 276 Bobwhite Court, Boise 83706
      Barbacoa Grill brings the open-fire grilling method of South American "cowboys" to the Pacific Northwest. The menu is centered on steaks prepared on the "hot rock," with other protein choices including duck, swordfish, pork chops, and trout. An extensive collection of art and antiquities makes Barbacoa Grill a treat for your sense of vision as well as taste. Hours are 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

    The healthy restaurants are one of the many things you'll love about calling the Boise area home. Contact us at Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Boise for high-energy, experienced help from our real estate agents.

    November
    11

    5 Boise Bakeries for Your Holiday Pies

    Boise Bakeries

    It's almost time to celebrate the holidays once again around Boise, and what could be better than enjoying a sweet, seasonal treat during this special time of year? Whether you're looking to indulge a little for the season or you want the perfect pie to bring to your next holiday party, Boise has a bakery that's sure to please. The city is home to both classic, mom-and-pop bakeries, and artisanal spots serving flavors from around the world. Our REALTORS® have the details on local bakeries in the area where you can pick up your holiday pies this year.

    1. Wildflour Bakery – 304 E 42nd St., Garden City, ID 83714