It’s time to look back on our 2020 market and look ahead to 2021.


In 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ada County market outpaced the previous year. 


The year started strong, with January sales up 21% year over year. Of course, things began to taper off in February and March as the uncertainty of the pandemic made its way to our local market. In April and May, when the spring market typically ramps up, sales activity dropped by 19% and 30%. This was mostly due to the government-mandated shutdowns and restrictions. Fortunately, sales began to pick back up in June, and in July they rose 22% year over year. Sales remained elevated all the way through November, and the market squeezed a year's worth of sales into six months. 


In total, 11,728 homes sold, which is a 5% increase compared to 2019. The only other time we saw more sales in one year was 2005, which had 11,974 sales. Low interest rates allowed home sales to quickly recover and outpace 2019 levels. According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.1% throughout the year, which is the lowest mark on record (dating all the way back to 1971). These low rates increased buyers’ purchasing power and allowed them to buy despite rising prices. 

A major factor (and one I talk about all the time) that pushed home prices upward was insufficient supply compared to demand—especially for existing inventory. For most of the year, the average days on market for existing homes was 20 days. In 2019, this average was 42 days. In October, the average days on market dropped to just 13 days, which was a record low based on data going back to 2004. This meant buyers had to act quickly and write a competitive offer if they found a home they wanted, and this is still the case in 2021.



"With prices as high as they are and inventory as low as it is, now is a great time for all homeowners to consider selling."


On the last day of December 2020, there were just 333 homes for sale for both existing and new construction homes—an 80% drop compared to December 2019 and another record low. As I always say, more inventory is needed to rebalance all price points. There were two major factors restricting inventory. The first was something we’ve already mentioned: low rates. In addition to encouraging buyers to buy, they also encouraged homeowners to refinance and stay in their homes. The second was COVID-related safety concerns and the general uncertainty of not being able to find a new home after listing. 


Thankfully, builders have been responding to this demand. According to Construction Monitor, 3,336 permits were approved for new single-family homes throughout 2020. When we compare this permit count to the 4,010 new homes that sold in 2020, it suggests we’re not overbuilding, as demand is absorbing all the supply that becomes available and reinforcing the need to build. 


As we look ahead to the rest of 2021, the Boise metro area continues to be among many economists' top picks for markets that should see continued growth. The National Association of Realtors even included Boise on their list of markets that are expected to perform well in a post-COVID environment. However, as stated above, we need more inventory among new and existing products to balance the market out. Homeowners: I’m talking to you—consider listing in the coming months and taking advantage of all this demand.


An additional opportunity for more existing homes comes from investors holding single-family properties. If you or someone you know owns a single-family home as an investment, call me so we can discuss your options for selling the home and potentially exchanging it for another asset category or diversifying your portfolio. 


The bottom line is that with prices as high as they are and inventory as low as it is, now is a great time for all homeowners to consider selling. If you’d like to take advantage of our market or have any real estate needs at all, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak with you.