Marty and Max: Unintended Consequences
Marty Walker and Max
| August 11, 2023 1:00 AM
Some would say there are three categories of unintended consequences. The unexpected benefit, which is a positive but unplanned outcome, The unexpected drawback, in which we create a problem that is apart from the problem we wish to solve, And perverse results, wherein in trying to solve a problem, we actually make it worse.
I think it is fair to say we all love Idaho and want to protect it. We love the land, the wildlife, the open fields, and most of all the people. California used to be a great place to live. It is beautiful and was a destination location. In the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s it was perhaps the best place to work and live. What changed? In real estate, I meet many folks from all over the world. When I meet a Californian, they normally all say, “Although I am from California, I left my politics at the border.”
Charles Krauthammer said it best, “You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away… Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians.” The politics in Idaho is changing.
People from all over the world are leaving their country to come to the US. People in the US are leaving their states in search of a better life. Folks in California are moving to Idaho. Folks in Colorado are moving to Idaho. Most are working from home and shopping online and that is OK. Just know that most of their dollars are not being spent locally.
I believe our leaders and planners are trying to do what they feel best and are truly trying to protect Idaho. Zoning matters. I have a client for example who wanted to bring 500 high paying jobs to north Idaho. They want to hire and train locals and once trained will pay $30-$40 per hour. I have another client who wants to build a resort that will create many jobs and bring outside dollars to Idaho. What do both of these projects have in common? These projects are going to happen but just not in Idaho. Both of these projects require a zoning change.
A survey conducted by Boise State University revealed “people ages 21-30 are going. They are leaving Idaho at alarmingly higher rates than any other age group, and 17,000 moved out. 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”
United Van Lines, reported 45% of traffic was outbound from Idaho to other states. Those numbers are consistent with the Idaho Transportation Department findings that over 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.
Idaho has 83,570 square miles, and is the 14th largest state by land yet the 7th least densely populated.
In 2021, there
What is the solution? We need to be able to build more homes per acre in the country. Although there are many ways to determine the value of land, one of the contributing factors is the number of homes that can be built. A 20-acre parcel that can produce 20 homes is simply more valuable than the same parcel that is limited to one. If we want to build affordable homes for this generation, we need to be able to build more homes on less land.
Whether we like it or not, Idaho is changing. We are becoming more and more like California every day. Folks are selling and moving to where the bugs are in affordable Texas and Florida. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and our values will soon be identical to California.