Shelley’s home prices hit an all-time high

SHELLEY – The median home price in Shelley rose 43.5 percent between 2018 and 2021, while wages only increased 7.1 percent.  The disconnect between home prices and wages is pricing many young people out of the market.  At the same time, higher home prices will make it harder for seniors on fixed incomes to stay in their homes.   

Shelley has experienced a historic increase in it home values.  According to the Snake River Multi-listing Service, Shelley’s median home price rose from $183,000 in 2018 to $262,771 in 2021.  This rise is a 43.5 percent increase in three years.  It is also near the States’ median home price level of $262,604. 

Last year alone, Shelley’s median home price rose 16.7 percent compared to Idaho Falls’ median home price, which rose 15 percent.  This increase occurred despite the economic disruption caused by Covid 19.

“A 900 square foot, older dwelling with no basement on Pine St. in Shelley sold for $190,000,” Bingham County Assessor Donavon Harrington said. 

In December, Forbes magazine reported U.S. home prices rose just 7.85 percent while Idaho’s home prices jumped the most, with a year-over-year increase of 14.4 percent, doubling the national average.

 At the same time, Idaho median wage remained one of the lowest in the U.S.  “Idaho 2018 median wage, which was released in May of 2019, was $34,260.  “It ranks 43rd in the nation,” Craig Shaul, the Idaho Department of Labor research supervisor, said.  “It’s the lowest of surroundings states and $820 below the next-lowest state, Montana.” 

The Idaho Department of Labor predicts east Idaho’s annual wage growth at 1.6 percent for the foreseeable future.  This increase is only slightly higher than in the past. 

“Lower wages are making it difficult for young couples in the area to get into homes,” Jackie Adams of ERA Archibald said.  “People from out-of-state are cashing out and coming to east Idaho.” 

State migration appears to be the driving force behind home value increases in eastern Idaho.   According to American Survey in November 2020, Idaho’s largest population gains came from Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  Washington had the largest number of people moving to the State.

“This out-of-state money is driving the housing market and construction boom, which is occurring in the State,” Adams said.  “I have had several clients from California come into the State and offer 15 percent over the listing price and not get the home because of the number of other offers being made.  It usually takes me making four home offers to get the buyer into a home.” 

The question is, where do home prices go from here?

Walletinvestor.com predicts average home prices in the greater Idaho Falls area will increase 5 percent by 2025. This estimate is conservative compared to actual market performance over the past three years. 

The bottom line is actual market performance has outpaced most real estate and economic forecasts during the past three years.  This higher trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future or until interest rates increase or the construction cost bubble bursts. 

NEW HOME BUYER OPPORTUNITY

Although home prices are outpacing wages, there are some bright spots in the current market for new home buyers.  For example, some programs offer “first-time” home buyers as little as 5 to 10 percent down. 

Adams said, “First-time homebuyers are not necessarily required to put down 20 percent to qualify for a loan.   And there are programs like the RDA that offer low down payment requirements.  These programs, with historically low-interest rates, make it easier for young couples to purchase a home now than in the future.” 

SENIOR CITIZEN CIRCUIT BREAKER

As home values increase, assessed values on homes also increase. “Assessed values follow home values, not the other way around,” Harrington said.

The county appraises homes on a mass scale, not on an individual basis.  All of the sales in the area are used to establish an assessed value for a home.

Harrington confirmed home prices are at an all-time high.  He and other county assessors are concerned these higher values may make it difficult for senior citizens on fixed incomes to pay their property tax.

“As assessors, we are bringing a bill to the legislature to change the way the circuit breaker or property tax reduction works. 

Presently, those who qualify are exempt from paying taxes on the first $100,000 of their home’s assessment value. 

Under the proposed law, 55 percent of their assessed value and up to 50 percent of the median sale home price set by the State Tax Commission will be exempt from property taxes,” Harrington said. “This will lessen the burden on seniors with fixed incomes as tax levies increase.”

HIGHER ASSESSED VALUES DO NOT EQUAL HIGHER TAXES

A higher assessment on your property does not mean you will pay a higher tax.  “Higher taxes are usually based on levy rate increases or new bond measures.”  Shelley city clerk Sandy Gaydusek said, “Typically higher property assessments result in a lower tax levy. 

This combination occurs because the city’s tax levy is determined by taking the city’s budget and divided by last year’s assessment of all properties within the city.  If there is no tax increase, the city’s tax levy for the next year would be less because all properties in the city would have a higher assessment.”

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