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:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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:
the pattern that began this January, sales in March were lower than
last March because of severely limited inventory. With only a 9-day
supply of available homes, buyers are competing with each other, pushing
average prices up 16.6% over the last 12 months. Multiple buyers,
escalation clauses and audacious offers have become regular stories in
our residential market.
The supply of resale or existing properties is so limited that the
price per square foot of existing properties has risen above the price
per square foot of new homes, a phenomenon not seen in my 40 years in
Anecdotal data reveals that many owners are holding on to their
properties for fear of not being able to find a replacement property.
The data below compares first-quarter results for the last 4 years of
limited inventory during which time the average sold price has
Same month sales – meaning sales this February compared
to sales last February – are down once again, continuing the trend
started last month. And it’s all due to lack of inventory.
As you can see from the chart below, Ada County housing inventory at
the end of last February was more than three times the amount of
inventory at the end of this February, thereby limiting buyers’ choices,
increasing competition among buyers, and causing prices to increase
more dramatically (the median sold price increased 14.8% over the last
Another unusual recent trend that has continued is that the price per
square foot of existing (resale) properties has exceeded the price per
square foot of new homes, $211 compared to $205. We don’t remember this
happening before. This could create the opportunity to sell your 2500
square foot home and buy a 2500 square foot new home for a lower price!
Be sure to contact your Group One Sotheby’s International Realty
agent to help you guide your decisions in this most unusual market.
The story of Ada County real estate for the last five years has been
consistent: Increased sales (from 11,316 units in 2016 to 12,710 units
in 2020) in the face of decreased inventory (starting at 1,784 units at
the beginning of 2016 to only 379 units at the end of 2020).
of this year began with 379 housing units available for sale and ended
with 323 units, still consistent with the recent past. However, unit
sales during the month of January decreasedby 24% over those of last January, the first decrease in same month sales in many years.
For the future: Let’s keep an eye on inventory and sales in the next several months to see if this trend continues.
For the past: Ask your Group One Sotheby’s International Realty agent for our 2020 annual housing report to be issued February 15.
First, a reminder about what we cover. Our statistics are from our
database constructed from MLS statistics, covering single family homes
and homes with acreages up to 2 acres of land, townhomes and
condominiums. Some services that cover only detached single family homes
will have slightly different statistics. We believe it is more
informative to include all the main choices that buyers have, especially
as housing forms change over time.
The year ended with only 379 such properties on the market, the
lowest number we can remember. Inventory at the end of 2019 was 3.3
times more than it was at the end of 2020 and gives us approximately 12
days of available homes.
Despite the low inventory, sales during the month of December were 6%
higher than they were in December, 2019. Perhaps even more astounding
is that pending contracts were up 21% over the last year. Demand is
rising, sales are rising and prices are up. The average and median
prices of residential properties sold in 2020 increased by 15% over
properties sold in 2019.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic, however, is that the price per
square foot for resale properties, at $205, was higher than the price
per square foot of new homes, at $201. We don’t remember that ever
The charts below show the relationships between sales, prices and inventory every year since 2002.
year at this time we had 320% more inventory than we had in Ada County
at the end of this November and yet we had 7% more sales this November
than last November and 18% more pending transactions at the end of the
month. That has been a major part of the real estate story for the last
half of the year: increased sales despite a drastically lower supply of
property available for sale. We discussed this in our report last
month (“The Answer is Velocity”).
Multiple offers are occurring at every price range and buyers have
learned to act aggressively and quickly. A market like this requires
some strategic thinking. Some sellers are moving into rentals then
putting their properties on the market so they can look for replacement
properties in a leisurely manner with cash in hand. Whether you are a
buyer or a seller, be sure to check in with your Group One Sotheby’s
agent to develop a strategy for this market.
The lack of inventory combined with the acceleration of buying
activity has pushed prices up 14% over the last 12 months, roughly
double the national price increases reflected in the Case-Shiller index.
The charts below show how this year has been different from last
year. The first chart shows pendings and inventory from last year as
they occurred in a strong but fairly normal pattern. The second chart
shows what has happened this year and, in particular, how pendings and
inventory have inverted.
The question is, “How can we sell more properties than are on the market?”
At the end of September, we had 583 properties on the market in Ada
County. At the end of October, we had 495 properties. And yet, we had
1,261 sales during October and 2,008 pending contracts at the end of
How can this happen? The answer is that properties don’t stay on the
market very long. On a day when 40 properties are listed and brought
into inventory, 42 properties might have been sold. Hence, sales
velocity. The cumulative days on market (CDOM on our charts) for
existing properties is 21 days – and that includes the time necessary to
arrange for an appraisal and process a loan on most properties.
Have you been thinking of selling?
Another telling statistic for this most unusual market is that the
average sold price is 99.8% of the average list price – not much of a
discount. If you like it, buy it! The average price of sold properties
over the last 12 months is $424,161, a 14% increase over the previous 12
Consult your Group One Sotheby’s sales professional to develop a strategy for taking advantage of this unique market.
The chart below shows how the price per square foot of existing home
sales compared to new home sales has narrowed over recent years, making
existing (or resale) properties much more valuable.