Many Reasons for Lack of Entry-Level Housing Inventory in Ada County

October 2017 marks a full three years of falling inventory, specifically in the number of existing homes for sale in Ada County. October 2017 marks a full three years of falling inventory for existing homes in Ada County. Click To TweetThere were 1,023 existing homes for sale in Ada County in October 2017, down 8.3% from October 2016, and down nearly 40% from October 2014 when the decline began.

There are many reasons the Boise Region is facing a lack of homes for sale—particularly for those priced below $250,000.

  • The most obvious reason for the increased demand for housing, overall, is the local population growth.
  • The combination of low mortgage rates and rising rents often make purchasing more affordable than renting.
  • Builders—especially those setback by the recession—haven’t kept up with the demand for lower- to-mid-priced homes, and increasing costs for labor, land, and materials won’t allow many to do so anytime soon.
  • Many municipalities’ existing planning, zoning, and permitting rules can’t manage the influx of project requests, further slowing down potential housing development, even those projects a city may want to approve.
  • The availability of lower-priced homes is further limited by people choosing to stay in their homes longer—10-year median today vs. 6 years in 2012— rather than moving up in price point and freeing up entry-level properties for first-timers.
  • When lower-priced homes do become available, investors can often outbid buyers and then flip the property to a higher price point, or turn it into a higher-priced rental property.

So how do we break out of this low inventory cycle and reach a more balanced market? While there are no simple answers, a collaborative approach between property owners, builders, REALTORS®, and policymakers, is our best bet.

 Property Owners

Homeowners and investors who purchased at the bottom of the market—right around January 2012—or who wanted to sell during that time but couldn’t afford to do so, should talk to a REALTOR® to understand their true market value, estimate their equity position, and better understand their options.

For those who are able to move up in price point or purchase new construction may be pleasantly surprised at the inventory that is available.

Investors who own single-family rentals may find that it’s a great time to get those properties back on the market, perhaps adding larger multi-family units or commercial properties to their portfolio, or using the proceeds to make improvements to other properties.

 REALTORS®, Builders, and Policymakers

Together, REALTORS®, builders, and policymakers must evaluate local ordinances and zoning, planning, and permitting processes, the costs associated with developing land and infrastructure, and the long-term plans we have for our community, to collaboratively plan for and build homes that strengthen and support the growth of our area, while also protecting the quality of life we all enjoy.

With a mix of carefully planned new construction development, and incremental inventory added by current property owners, we can hopefully stave off affordability concerns by bringing balance back to the market.

Additional information about trends within each county, by price point, by existing and new construction, and by neighborhood, are now available in the October 2017 Market Report. This report includes an explanation of the metrics and notes on data sources and methodology.

Download the latest market snapshot graphics for Ada County:

ADA Snapshot - October 17










Download print quality snapshots for Ada County.

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This report is provided by Boise Regional REALTORS® (BRR). BRR is the largest local REALTOR® association in Idaho, with over 4,300 members and two wholly-owned subsidiaries — the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, Inc. (IMLS) and the Boise Regional REALTORS® Foundation. This report is based primarily on the public statistics provided by the IMLS, available at: These statistics are based upon information secured by the agent from the owner or their representative. The accuracy of this information, while deemed reliable, has not been verified and is not guaranteed. These statistics are not intended to represent the total number of properties sold in the counties or cities during the specified time period. The IMLS and BRR provide these statistics for purposes of general market analysis but make no representations as to past or future performance.  || The term “single-family homes” includes detached single-family homes with or without acreage, as classified in the IMLS. These numbers do not include activity for mobile homes, condominiums, townhomes, land, commercial, or multi-family properties (like apartment buildings). If you are a consumer, please contact a REALTOR® to get the most current and accurate information specific to your situation.