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Marty and Max: The changing face of Idaho's housing crisis

by MARTY WALKER
| April 28, 2023 1:00 AM

Everybody loves the old song “This land is your land, this land is my land,” however, some seem to be singing a slightly different tune and it goes something like this, “This land is my land, this land’s NOT your land; GET OFF of my land; GO FIND your own land!”

Sellers loved out-of-state cash buyers swooping in to outbid the locals. Currently, prices are at a point where it is impacting our jobs. In February, the CEOs, Director’s and board members of the five North Idaho counties met, including Shoshone Medical Center. They identified the No. 1 problem plaguing all facilities — staffing. This problem with staffing is due to a lack of housing. Due to the shortage of inventory and home prices all of North Idaho is losing out on great professionals. Not everybody wants affordable housing, but without affordable housing, where are your kids going to buy? Most likely Texas or Florida. I have met with local and state representatives who are very concerned about the affordability of housing. Why are so many Idahoans working in Washington? Simply, they are attracting employers and they have affordable housing. Let’s bring those employers to Idaho. Affordable housing is a great start.

A survey conducted by Boise State revealed “people ages 21-30 are coming and going. They are leaving AND entering Idaho at alarmingly higher rates than any other age group, and although 18,000 moved in, 17,000 moved out. 71.3% of Idahoans believe the state is growing too fast, yet 60% of survey respondents said Idaho should continue to recruit companies with high-paying jobs. Idaho is growing however, the departure of thousands of [young] Idahoans are being replaced by residents from other states.” Meanwhile many are successfully protesting affordable housing, resulting in home builds being delayed or halted. They are signing petitions to stymie growth. How great would it be if we could reduce the time required for zoning changes to allow building affordable quality homes on less than 5-acre lots? We can do better. We can change this.

Panhandle Area Council data reflects that from 2016 to 2021, the region’s population grew by 67,600 (9.5%) and is projected to grow by the same amount over the next five years. United Van Lines reported, “45% of traffic was outbound from Idaho and is the most outbound traffic they’ve seen from Idaho since 2014.” Those numbers are consistent with the Idaho Transportation Department findings that more than 57,000 told Idaho “see you later” citing cost and affordable housing as the top reasons why Idahoans are fleeing. It seems people have gotten fed up with the nauseating cost of living here, largely driven by outrageous home prices and unreasonable rental payments.

The changing faces of Idaho

Driver's license migration data says: More than 64,000 people moved to Idaho in 2021, and more than 57,000 moved away. Here's where the new Idahoans came from, and where the old Idahoans went last year. Nearly half a million of Idaho’s 1.84 million residents are new to the state in the past decade. On an average day in 2021, 180 people moved into Idaho and 137 moved out of state.

Idaho has 83,570 square miles, is the 14th largest state by land area, and is the 7th least densely populated. We have room to grow and if we want our future generations to be able to afford to live here, we need to take action. Let’s Build These Homes Now! What can you do and how can YOU help? Great question and I am glad you asked. We want your voice to be heard. Take two minutes and complete the online survey to show Idaho leaders that we want affordable quality homes that the next generation can afford and continue to be Idahoans.

Take Action Now: Scan QR code to make your voice count. You can make a difference.

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Marty Walker is a licensed real estate professional and paid consultant. Information shared in this column is of a general nature. For specific questions in relation to your unique property, email to set a time for a consultation. Information: MartyandMax.com or Martywalker@remax.net.

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