Upper-End Market?

We’ve all noticed the large number of apartments being built to serve the middle to the lower end of the housing market. Right now there are over 1,200 units under construction in Ada County. That leaves the middle to the upper part of the housing market for purchases.

Are we becoming an upper-end housing market? Last December, we sold 972 homes with an average price of $491,087. This December, we sold 6% more homes at an average price 25% higher at $613,146. The total volume went up 33% from December 2020 to December 2021.

Although we sold 13% fewer residential properties in 2021 than we did in 2020, the average price was 32% higher so total dollar volume for the year was 15% higher than 2020.

The chart below compares 2021 performance with 2020 performance and the 20-Year charts show the trends in inventory units sold and average prices for the past 2 decades.

Market Correction Continues…

The correction to our overly hot housing market continued through November with unit sales 9% lower than they were in November 2020. The slide in the number of transactions was caused by the rapid acceleration of prices. The average (at $609,206) and median (at $525,000) prices this November were both 26% higher than they were last November. Median days on market, at only 12, were 3 times higher than they were last November.

Pending contracts (transactions in escrow that have not yet closed) were 11% lower than they were at the end of last November, leading us to expect slightly lower unit sales in the next several months. As a corollary, inventory has doubled in the last 12 months although we still have only one month of available homes.

Existing homes, which make up 76% of November sales and 55% of November ending inventory, are still selling for about 12% more than new homes on a square foot basis, a reversal of the statistics in more normal markets.

Please click on the link below to read Fortune Magazine’s article on how national home prices have started to decelerate, which will have to happen here if local sales units are to increase.


Read Fortune Article Here

Settling Down

The Ada County housing market continued its slide in October; year-to-year unit sales, the most important statistics to follow, were down by 17%. The next most important statistic is the number of pending sales, a predictor of the near-term future, which was 20% lower than it was at the end of last October.

The slowing market produced a level of inventory 243% greater than at the end of last October. The inventory of new homes increased just 45% but the inventory of existing homes increased 435%, perhaps reflecting the interest of many homeowners in cashing in on the last several years of appreciation. Despite the increase in inventory, there is only a 39-day supply of available properties.

Why is the market slowing? Prices, of course. The average price of properties sold this October, at $603,000, was 14.8% higher than the properties sold last October, and the median price, at $525,000, was 18.5% higher.

The per square foot sold price of existing homes at $272 was, amazingly, 13% higher than the per square foot sold price of new homes. This price difference is the reverse of more normal markets in which newly constructed homes sell for more than existing homes.
The graph below shows month-by-month unit sales from January through October for 2020 and 2021 so you can see how the market has moved over the last two years…

Still Correcting…

We usually report on all the major housing choices buyers face in our market including single-family detached houses as well as condominiums, townhomes, and homes on acreages. For this report, however, we are focusing on just single-family detached housing.


Ada County housing unit sales in September were 20% lower than they were last September, and pending contracts were also down 20% lower compared to the end of last September. This should mean lower same month sales in the next several months.
As you can see from the chart below, unit sales began to slow beginning in June, and average and median prices began to fall beginning in July. Unit sales in the last 4 months were 24% lower than they were a year ago for those same months and inventory has doubled, from 21 days to 42 days.


Average and median prices rose 32% from October 2020 to July 2021, a period of 9 months. That kind of month-to-month price escalation is untenable.


The details are presented in the chart below.

Market Slide Continues

August saw the continuation of the Ada County market slide that began in July. Closings in August were 29% lower than closings last August.  Pending contracts, which are the best indicators of the near-term future, were also down 19% compared to the level of pendings at the end of last August.  

As a result of the decrease in sales, inventory has increased by a factor of 322% since the end of last April and by 171% over the last 2 months, increasing from 21 days of inventory to 39, still quite low compared to a “balanced” level of approximately 180 days.

In the week preceding this report, almost 90% of the price changes in the market were decreases.  The chart below shows the number of sales and the average prices for each month’s sales for the last 12 months.

Market Change

Anecdotal evidence from our agents (commenting on fewer showings on listed properties, fewer people attending open houses, etc.) has been backed up by recent results.  Unit sales were down this July compared to last July by 29%, the highest reduction of same month sales in the last 14 years (see the chart below).   Pendings – contracts in escrow at the end of the month – were also down 18% compared to the level of pendings at the end of July 2020. Pendings, of course, are the best predictor of near-term future sales.

Part of the reason for the slowdown is that the average price of properties sold this July ($624,881) was 43% higher than last July.  The median price ($535,000) was 40% higher.  

An aftereffect of lower sales is higher inventory. Ada County housing inventory at the end of this July grew by 19% compared to the level of inventory at the end of July 2020. Despite that increase, we still have only 30 days of available residential properties, far from an over-supplied “buyers’ market”.

What should we do?  Sellers, if this trend continues, future prices may be lower than current prices so, if you’re thinking of selling, now may be the best time.  Buyers, make sure the prices of potential purchases make sense to you.  A professional Group One Sotheby’s agent can help in that regard.

The chart below shows the record of same month July sales for the last 14 years:

6 Month Status Report

Sales down, pendings down, prices up. Sound like 2007?  The question often heard is, will we repeat 2007-2009 again? The number of units sold and the number of pendings during the first 6 months of this year are both down compared to the same statistics for last year.  And yet prices are up.  In 2007, this same pattern led to a major correction in 2008.  Will that happen in 2021?

The chart below shows that the first 6 months in 2021 are similar to 2007 when unit sales were down, pendings were down and prices were up. The same pattern is evidenced in the first 6 months of 2021. Although there are similarities to 2007, there are some major differences.  In 2007, the inventory of available homes was high, while this year inventory is very low.  In addition, the equity in homes today is much higher than 2007 when there were many “no doc” loans which created a risky profile of existing inventory.

Although there are similarities today to what the market was like in 2007, we can witness several trends, such as solid loans and low inventory, that protect us from another downfall.

The chart below presents a deeper dive into the current Ada County real estate market.

Resale Homes Surge

Helped by a 67% increase in inventory compared to the end of April, May 2021 saw a 12% increase in the number of sold properties in Ada County over May 2020.  Properties sold increased despite inventory being less than half of what it was at the end of May 2020.

Even better news, most of the increase in inventory was caused by an increase in the availability of existing, not new, homes. Those can’t be manufactured; an increase in the inventory of existing homes depends upon the willingness of owners to part with their properties and move on.

During the past year, characterized by high demand and low inventory, average home prices sold in Ada County have increased by 21%; good for existing owners, but challenging for buyers. What a great time for sellers of existing homes! The price per square foot for existing homes sold in the past year was $229, roughly 6% higher than that of new homes ($216). Is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who own homes in Ada County?

It might be.

To find out what your home is worth, contact your Group One Sotheby’s Realtor.

Spring Forward

The first 3 months of the year saw a reduction in same month sales; April changed that trend. Even though we had 74% fewer properties available, we sold 14% more units in April 2021 than we did in April 2020.  Pending contracts – contracts that are executed but not yet closed – were also up 16% over the end of last April, promising the continuation of a strong market.

Although the number of properties sold in the first 4 months this year were 3% lower than the comparable period of last year, the average price was an astounding 31% higher and the median price was 28% higher for sales during that period.

One surprising continuing trend is that the price per square foot of resale homes is about 6% higher than the price per square foot of new homes. Historically, new homes have sold for much more than resale homes.

As a reminder, our data includes sales not only of detached single-family homes, but also of condominiums, townhomes and homes on acreages, covering all the expanded choices buyers enjoy in our modern market.

The table below shows a breakdown of units sold as well as the percentage increase in average and median prices for each type of residential property sold during the first 4 months of 2021 compared to the same months in 2020:

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