Monday, May 20, 2024

IDAHO: Housing inflation a crisis

| October 20, 2023 1:00 AM

In reference to the Saturday Press article “Idaho is Running Hot,” I would like to point to some statements by Sam Wolkenhauer of the Idaho Dept. of Labor. Comparing Idaho’s economy to the rest of the nation’s, he says, “In Idaho everything is wonderful. We’re kind of like this oasis — in the midst of an arid desert.” He then quotes the average new jobs created in Idaho as nearly twice as many as created before COVID.

This may all be true. My objection is that he portrays Idaho as an isolated case of growth and prosperity in comparison to the other 49 states.

A recent letter by a local writer tells of his recent road trip to Texas and the economic activity and growth that he witnessed all along his drive. I also hear the national report of jobs created in the U.S. each month as being much larger than expected by the analysts. So, I would argue that rather than Idaho being a “shining light” in the U.S., that the U.S. is a shining light in the world.

That brings me to the other statement I would question. “-we look at Idaho and you would be forgiven for wondering, ‘uh’, what inflation and what crisis was facing the consumer?” Is Mr. Wolkenhauer unaware of the doubling or tripling of home prices over the past several years? Has he read the statistics on how few of the workers in North Idaho can afford to purchase one of these homes? I would call this inflation and a crisis for the workers who will never be able to build equity in a home. This has been a part of the American dream for as long as I can remember. So, that is the inflation and crisis that I wonder about.