Market of the Month: Boise, Idaho

If you’re looking for a booming real estate market that also offers breathtaking Rocky Mountain scenery, big city amenities, and a small-town feel, Boise, Idaho, is hard to beat. Dubbed “The City of Trees,” metropolitan Boise is home to approximately 750,000 residents, with Boise itself being home to about 226,000. Newcomers will discover a city with lots of natural beauty and year-round outdoor recreation, including golf, skiing, fishing, camping, and hiking. After a day spent enjoying the great outdoors, there are hundreds of restaurants, bars, and microbreweries where visitors and residents can grab a bite or a drink. Boise has even been garnering national attention for its restaurant scene, with Vogue magazine calling Boise a “growing culinary hotspot.”

Beyond the dining and recreational options, Boise has a robust job market that has been luring new residents, with unemployment about two percent less than the national average. The chief industries that anchor the Boise economy are healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation, and food processing. The grocery chain Albertsons, which also owns Paul’s and Safeway, is headquartered in Boise. Other major employers include Blue Cross of Idaho, Wells Fargo, Citi Corp, and Hewlett Packard, which established Boise as the headquarters of its printer division in 1973.

Word has gotten out about what a great place Boise is. In 2020, the city saw the second-fastest population growth in the country, with an influx that increased its population by about three percent, with many new arrivals from Washington state, Oregon and California. That population growth spurred a sharp increase in housing costs. In 2020, housing prices surged 22.7% year over year, with no signs of slowing down as Boise keeps attracting new residents.

Even before the pandemic, Boise was on an upswing. Over the past five years, Boise’s median home prices almost doubled. The hike in demand, coupled with low interest rates, has led to a lack of inventory and caused housing prices to rise approximately 22 percent above the national average Overall, Boise’s housing supply is about .3 months, one of the lowest in the nation. The national average is about 1.6 months, and in a balanced market, there is typically four to five months’ worth of inventory.

For investors, this housing demand has created a spike in demand for rentals. Median rental costs are still about 19 percent less than the national average, but they’re rising quickly. In 2020, rents increased 10.3% year-over-year. According to, in March of this year alone, there was a rental increase of 5 percent. Without a sudden swell in available housing, the numbers are likely to continue rising.

While buying into the Boise market is competitive, with the average house remaining on the market for only four days, there is no doubt that the returns are high. With its scenery, employment opportunities, and local culture, the Boise market shows no signs of cooling off.


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