TWIN FALLS — Magic Valley property values keep going up, albeit a bit more slowly than last year.
Twin Falls County Assessor Brad Wills told the Times-News in an email that the county-wide property valuation rose 5.5% this year, from $6.1 billion to $6.4 billion.
The new assessments reflect values as of Jan. 1, 2020, so if the COVID-19 pandemic has had, it won’t show up statistically in the county assessments until 2021.
But so far, it seems unlikely the pandemic will have a big impact on home values.
Super Realty of Idaho Owner and Broker Stan Tobiason said there’s been a flurry of real estate sales in the past month. With the exception of a two-week period at the height of the pandemic when some people backed out of buying homes, business has been steady here.
“A lot of people have been buying and selling houses even in the middle of all this,” Tobiason said.
Wills said in an email he won’t know until July how much residential property values specifically rose. But residential properties appear to be increasing in value more quickly than non-residential ones.
According to Zillow, the typical Twin Falls residence went from $207,124 in April 2019 to $223,140 this April. That’s an 8% increase. The Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, which unlike Zillow gets its data directly from local realtors, said the median single-family Twin Falls County home went from $208,000 in the first quarter of 2019 to $220,000 in the first quarter of this year, a 5.8% increase.
The average Twin Falls County home went from $222,366 to $249,554 in that time according to the Intermountain MLS, a 12% jump.
Despite that rise, it’s a slowdown compared to the year before, when Zillow data said the typical Twin Falls residence jumped 12% in 12 months and the Intermountain MLS said Twin Falls County house prices rose 8%.
Tobiason said there are a few factors driving up housing prices. One is a lack of inventory — there aren’t many homes on the market. Last year in May there were 323 homes for sale, now there are 214, the fewest since 2017. And demand hasn’t let up.
On top of that, interest rates are low right now, he said.
Almost everybody’s growing (in Idaho and the Mountain West)
Twin Falls’ saw slower growth last year than other parts of the Magic Valley.
In Cassia County, the median home price increased 10% from the first quarter of last year to the first quarter this year, according to the Intermountain MLS. The median home in Cassia County is now selling for $195,000. The median Jerome County home ($197,950) also increased 10% in value in that time.
Gooding County saw a 26% increase in the median home price while the median Lincoln County home sold for 52% more (although that data is based on just six sold homes during the first quarter). Minidoka County (4% median home price increase) saw the least growth of any Magic Valley county. The Intermountain MLS only lists one home sale in Blaine County for the first quarter.
According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Idaho saw the largest increase in home prices throughout the country during the past year, at 12.6%. That’s more than double the national average. The Boise metropolitan area had the largest price increase of any metro area in America, at 13.1%.
Home values in Idaho have risen 70% in the past five years according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Not only is that the largest spike in the U.S., it’s 10% more than Washington, which had the second largest increase in the past five years at 59%.
The Mountain West has had the fastest growing property values in the country for the past few years. The region’s homes increased 8.5% in value in the past year.
In Twin Falls, there are two home types selling especially quickly, Tobiason said: Homes under $220,000 and homes that sit atop more than half an acre of land.
For homes in the $220,000 and under price range, it’s not uncommon to get as many as five offers in the first 24 hours after a property has been listed, Tobiason said.
“If you think a house looks good,” he said, “so do five other people.”
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