Boise poised at the right angle for housing growth

Idaho's biggest MSA mixes population growth and low unemployment for strong projected appreciation

The U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Area with the 15th highest projected rate of real estate appreciation through March 2019, out of the 342 metro areas included in Veros Real Estate Solutions' March 2018 VeroFORECAST, sits in the right angle of Idaho's southwestern corner. The Boise City-Nampa, Idaho MSA, the state's most populous at more than 616,000 as of the 2010 U.S. Census, is made up of five counties, including the state Capital of Boise, which tops the state's cities with a population currently estimated over 217,000.

The Boise Metropolitan Area, as it is known, is sometimes called "Treasure Valley," named for the fertile confluence of the Payette, Boise, Weiser, Malheur, Owyhee and Burnt rivers as they flow into the Snake River. That valley, which looks like a beehive-shaped Rorschach blot, sits on Nevada's northern border – one half in Oregon and one half in Idaho.

Idaho's half contains the major population center, so it's no surprise which state claimed the flattering title as a nickname for its biggest MSA. And it keeps growing. People from across America and around the world keep coming, which has contributed to the VeroFORECAST of an 8.9% appreciation rate for real estate over the next 12 months.

The data used for the VeroFORECAST shows the Boise-Nampa MSA has a very tight 1.7 months supply of homes, meaning that if no listings were added and demand continued at the current rate, everything currently for sale would be gone in about seven weeks. 

The "Treasure Valley" name is appropriate, given the profit made from farming, ranching, mining, and now technology that have taken root in this corner of the state. Over the past century, the Boise City-Nampa, ID MSA has wavered between moderate and wild growth. Looking at the past 11 U.S. Census counts for its five counties, we see two decades in which the population grew by more than 45% – the 1970s and 1990s. Between 2000 and 2010, it jumped by just under a third, and when the 2020 Census results are in, we should expect to see a similar bump.

It's also a healthy sign for a Metro area to have population growth mirrored by dropping unemployment. For Boise City-Nampa, unemployment is now at the very low rate of 2.9%, a full percentage point lower than the national average announced in early May, which was an 18-year low of 3.9%. It's a credit to Boise Metro's economic resilience that after the financial crisis sent unemployment rising sharper than the face of nearby Mount Borah, from 2.2% in June 2007 to 10.6% in January 2010, it has steadily dropped back to its enviable current rate.

The Boise City-Nampa MSA is one of 342 U.S. metro areas whose data was incorporated into the latest forecast by Veros Real Estate Solutions. Those metros represent nearly 1,000 counties and more than 13,600 zip codes, and the SFRs, condos and townhouses in them house more than 80% of the U.S. population.

As I have pointed out in earlier installments of this weekly HousingWire column [Get all of them here], the range of projected appreciation runs from a high of 11%, in Seattle's metro, to a low of -2.9% in the Atlantic City metro.

Using comprehensive historic data from our proprietary VeroHPITM, or Housing Price Index platform, which goes back 14 years, VeroFORECAST simultaneously looks forward and backwards in time. 


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