There were 887 homes sold in Ada County last month with a median sales price of $425,000 — the point at which half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. This new record is a result of insufficient supply compared to persistently strong demand, fueled by historically low mortgage rates.
As mortgage rates have fallen, homebuyers' purchase power has increased and for some, so has their willingness to offer higher purchase prices to be competitive, which has also had an impact on the overall median sales price.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 2.77% on average in November 2020, according to Freddie Mac — down 24.3% from last year. Based on the median sales price, a buyer with this rate could expect a monthly mortgage payment (principal and interest only) of $1,565 if they put 10% down or $1,391 if they put 20% down.
For buyers who are selling a property and then purchasing another, their down payment often comes from the incredible equity that has built up over the past few years, as home prices have risen. However, many first-time homebuyers report securing a down payment was the most difficult task in the home buying process.
[NOTE: There are a variety of down payment and closing cost programs available through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, the City of Boise, and the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authorities, among others. Reach out to a REALTOR® and mortgage lender to find out what resources may be available for your specific needs and situation.]
In a report from the National Association of REALTORS®, 22% of non-homeowners surveyed nationwide said that rising rents was holding them back from saving from a down payment, second only to their income level. According to data from Apartment List.com, the average monthly rent in Ada County was at $1,106 in November, up 10.6% or approximately $106 per month compared to last year.
A $1,106 monthly mortgage payment, based on the latest interest rates and a 20% down payment, is roughly the equivalent of a $270,000 home. In November, 138 homes sold at or below that price, which represented 14.4% of all sales.
While rents remain more affordable than purchasing when looking at market averages, the pressure of rising rents and increased purchase power due to low mortgage rates is pushing many renters to become homebuyers, adding additional demand to the market.
As noted, 887 Ada County homes sold in November, another 1,700 were under contract and should close within the next month or so, and an additional 408 homes were listed as available inventory.
These numbers beg the question, "How can there be more home sales than homes available for purchase in a given month?" While we explained this in detail in last month's report, it's important to note that our inventory data is a snapshot of what's available for purchase on the last day of each month, not a cumulative total of the homes that were available for purchase throughout the month.
As the supply of homes remained insufficient compared to demand, and as more buyers compete for the inventory that is available, the speed of the market continued to accelerate.
In November, the number of days between when a home was listed and went under contract was at 13 days for existing homes (compared to 32 days in November 2019) and 29 for new construction (compared to 57 days). Meaning that properties can be listed and go under contract without ever being reflected in our inventory numbers. As long as the average days on market metric remains below 30 days, we could continue to see higher monthly sales numbers compared to available inventory.
A fast, competitive market like ours presents challenges and opportunities to buyers and sellers alike. We are not seeing a typical winter slow down. In fact, throw out all of your preconceived notions about the best time to buy or sell. If you're ready to enter the market as a buyer or seller, a REALTOR® will be your most valuable resource in helping you make decisions quickly, navigate