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Growth in the housing market

Elvis Martinez, left, and her boyfriend Masyn Malmstrom tour a house for sale Sept. 4 in Twin Falls.

Back in September, we published a Big Story on the tight housing markets in Twin Falls and Mini-Cassia. The following week, a National Citizen Survey taken in Twin Falls said that only 29 percent of residents felt the city had good or excellent affordable quality housing, a massive drop-off from two years prior.

But our corresponding editorial with the Big Story indicated that relief may be on the way for the air-tight housing market in Twin Falls. That relief became quantifiable this week as the city set a new record for building permits for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Twin Falls issued 3,544 building permits this past year, for a combined value of $140.8 million – a 36 percent increase from the year prior. And plenty of those permits were for housing. The city permitted 243 single-family homes, its most since 2007, and the number of new commercial buildings nearly doubled from the year prior, thanks in large part to a record 27 new fourplexes.

The housing market in Twin Falls is still tight. It will take some time for the building uptick to be felt by prospective buyers. But it’s not being ignored by builders and city officials, as single-family homes and multi-family units are being built at a break-neck pace. It still may not be enough to catch up with the city’s growth yet, but more housing units are being built in Twin Falls than at any other time in recent years.

This is promising for a city and a region that’s in desperate need of affordable housing that matches its business growth. A lack of housing is one of the few things, along with an untrained workforce, that could make the Magic Valley unattractive for businesses looking to relocate in Idaho. If the housing shortage region-wide and statewide can be addressed, there is little to indicate that regional growth will slow down any time soon.

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