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May real estate sales break Ada County record

Construction continues on a house in Meridian.

Ada County housing sales broke records in May, selling roughly $404 million in houses during the month, according to Boise Regional Realtors.

However, that’s indicative of the cost of houses, not necessarily the number sold.

“Based on recent buyer demands, Ada County’s inventory could have been twice what it was in May and we would have seen a more balanced market,” Boise Regional Realtors CEO Breanna Vanstrom said.

The lack of available houses continues to drive the market’s high prices. According to the findings from Boise Regional Realtors, the number of available existing and new construction homes dropped 27.9 percent from May 2017 to May 2018, while the total volume of sales dollars rose 30.5 percent.

On top of that, Ada County’s housing inventory has been at “historic lows” for 44 months straight, Vanstrom said.

“We have this persistently low inventory that’s been driving up home prices overall,” she said. “And then, on top of that, with the new construction, the rising cost of land, labor and construction materials, that’s putting more upward pressure on the new home prices.”

The number is the highest ever sales volume recorded in Ada County, with June 2017 in tow at $371.1 million.

“It’s just monthly numbers from May, so just that fixed data point — not necessarily trends we’re seeing overall,” Vanstrom said.

A trend that is apparent in the numbers, however, is the number of new construction sales, she said.

In May 2018, there were 325 new homes that sold, showing a 60 percent increase from May 2017 with 203 new homes sold.

Much of the new construction in the county, 36 percent of it, is being built in Meridian.

“That’s, right now, kind of just where the builders are building,” Vanstrom said.

Boise came in second for new construction at 24.5 percent and Eagle at 18 percent, Vanstrom said.

Along with the uptick in new construction being built, the cost of new construction rose 8.7 percent, sitting at an average of $349,000. The cost of existing houses rose 16.4 percent, with an average of $305,000.

Housing costs and inventory is an issue Boise has talked about at length in recent months.

Boise City Council even established a task force to address the issue of housing availability. Its third meeting regarding housing and growth should take place some time in July.

“People talk about (needing) affordable housing, but we need housing," Mayor Dave Bieter said at a May meeting. "We need more housing, and that will affect affordable housing."

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