Realtors: Pocatello area housing market has improved

Mar 7th, 2017 | By | Category: Featured
Workers shingle a new home at the top of East Center Street Monday afternoon in Pocatello. The local housing market has picked up considerably, according to local real estate agents. Jordon Beesley/Idaho State Journal

Workers shingle a new home at the top of East Center Street Monday afternoon in Pocatello. The local housing market has picked up considerably, according to local real estate agents.
Jordon Beesley/Idaho State Journal

By Kendra Evensen

POCATELLO — For years, Gail Bishard has advised people who were interested in selling their homes to wait so they wouldn’t end up losing money on their investment. For some, it would have been a big loss.

Due to the recession and recovering economy, there have been many foreclosures, short sales and sellers writing checks in recent years, said Bishard, the broker/owner of Bishard Realty.

But that’s no longer the case.

Currently, many sellers are getting good prices for their homes and buyers are getting low interest rates, Bishard said. She adds that there’s an unusually nice balance right now.

“Finally, I would say go for it,” Bishard said.

Greg Johnston, a sales agent for Keller Williams Realty East Idaho, who has been collecting data on the market for years and is known for his expertise, agrees that it can be a good time to buy and sell.

“If it’s clean and priced right, the home will sell,” he said.

And sellers may be able to make a little money while buyers may be able to get in on a good investment.

Home prices have finally returned to pre-recession levels and they’ve even started to surpass them, Johnston said.

“People are more confident in the economy,” he said.

Prices can vary depending on the types of homes involved, but the average sales price of single-family homes in the Bannock County area at the end of 2008 was $155,151, and in 2007 it was $156,918, according to Johnston. Last year, 1,058 single-family homes sold and the average price was $165,845.

Average sale prices have increased about $6,000 over the previous year, Johnston said.

“We never have a huge increase. We don’t have big market swings,” he said, but he added that a 3-4 percent increase is still a good thing for the area.

And there are other good things happening in Pocatello.

Johnston said his office is receiving calls from out-of-state investors interested in buying duplexes and fourplexes.

“They’re looking to buy here and that’s a good sign,” Johnston said.

There was also more new construction taking place in 2016 than there has been since about 2006 or 2007 — roughly 10 years, Johnston said.

Staci Hernandez, president of the Greater Pocatello Association of REALTORS, said 77 news homes were built in Bannock County between 2014 and 2016. And as of Jan. 26, there were 29 newly constructed homes active on the market and two pending.

Hernandez believes jobs are helping drive growth and improvements in the market.

“Over the last several years Idaho has consistently been in the top two states in the nation for lowest unemployment rate,” she said.

Bishard says local mayors and others have worked hard to bring new business opportunities to the area and it’s paying off. New restaurants have been opening and the FBI is expanding its local facility and staff among other exciting changes.

More opportunities for employment, combined with an affordable cost of living, numerous recreational opportunities, and a close proximity to other popular locations — such as Island Park, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley and Salt Lake City — make Pocatello appealing.

Bishard said buyers coming from larger cities sometimes worry that they won’t be able to find enough things to do in the area. But she encourages them to give the community one year. After that, the buyers often call her to tell her thank you and say they never want to leave.

“They all tell me they love it here,” she said.

Hernandez said there is currently an inventory shortage of homes in the area, so if anyone is considering selling, now is a good time to do it.

“Our association is filled with very talented, dedicated and knowledgeable realtors,” she said. “I would encourage anyone wanting to list their home to call a local realtor today.”

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