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Economy
00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71570000The Boise-metro market was hardest hit in Idaho's housing crisis, with foreclosures concentrated in Ada and Canyon Counties.Idaho’s housing boom was centered around its two main metropolitan areas, Boise and Coeur d’Alene.John Starr of the global real estate company Colliers International had a front-row seat as capital poured into the local housing markets in the years preceding the bust.When he thinks of the early 2000s, he remembers watching land prices rise with demand, and house lots shrink. What the area wound up with, he says, were more and more subdivisions, packed tight with houses.Census data show that the state’s population grew by more than 28 percent from 1990 to 2000, and by more than 20 percent from 2000 to 2010. Starr said that's due in large part to growth at Micron Technology. That growth, in turn, fueled Idaho's housing boom.“The reason we were doubling the national average growth rate was we were moving in a whole bunch of people that we couldn’t produce here in Idaho, namely electrical engineers and so forth to work at Micron. The data points that people were looking at that were helping them make decisions about coming to Boise and deploying capital and building and helping us grow – those data points were skewed.” - John Starr, Colliers InternationalAccording to Metrostudy, a housing and data information company, Boise’s housing market began to bottom out in 2009.

For First Time In 8 Years, Federally Insured Mortgage Limits Increase In Idaho

real estate, home for sale, housing market
Scott Graf
/
Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has increased the price of mortgages they will insure in 2017.

This is the first time since 2009 that HUD has increased the amount for federally backed mortgages. Growing demand for housing in Idaho is a factor.

For example, if you want to buy a house worth $275,000 in Boise, you may be eligible for a Federal Housing Administration 30-year fixed mortgage. That’s an increase of about two percent. In more expensive places like Blaine and Teton counties, the limits have also increased. 

According to Lee Jones of HUD, this relatively small increase could help people who can’t afford shorter, more expensive loans. 

“Certainly a lot of younger buyers, first-time buyers," says Jones, "for that matter folks who are trying to refinance out of risky mortgages – FHA is a very attractive product.”  Jones says in Idaho, the agency has seen a growing number of people buy these kind of lower-risk mortgages. 

Last year, there was a record of more than eight thousand homes purchased in the Gem State through the program. The number of homes this year is on track to match – if not exceed – 2015’s record. 

“[Idaho is] a booming housing market; as markets boom the prices go up. And we just want to make sure that those kinds of folks who in some sense when they buy a home realizing it’s the biggest investment they’re likely to make in their lifetime, that they want to do it in a prudent, thoughtful way.”

He says the economic recovery has paved the way for more opportunities for first-time home buyers, while home buying competition in places like Boise keeps demand high. 

Find Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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