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The State of the Housing Market

Factors impacting today’s crisis

By Taylor Shillam

Record-high demand meets record low inventory. The housing crisis marks a period of uncertainty, with several factors influencing the outcome. As the real estate market surrounding Sandpoint continues to see disconcertingly record-breaking numbers, it’s time to take a closer look at the causes, the details, and the reality of the situation.

With Coeur d’Alene reaching the top housing market in the nation, those looking to buy a home are having a more difficult time than ever, and renters are starting to feel the impact just as much.

Locals who were looking to buy and couldn’t find options to fit their needs or budgets have been turning to rentals but have been faced with the same difficulties. Renters are being displaced, rental fees are increasing, and locals are looking forward to resolutions that allow them to comfortably stay in the area.

Simply put, the most significant housing-related issue faced by the area right now is a total lack of inventory.

“There are many factors that have led to this inventory crisis including people moving in from out of state, a massive slowdown in new builds due to lumber prices increasing 323 percent, historic low interest rates, and millennials entering the real estate market,” shared Jackson Russo, co-owner of Sandpoint Vacation Rentals.

Resolutions are hoped for but uncertain in the near future. The only thing that will surely help Sandpoint’s real estate climate regain its balance is time.

While interest rates are rising, lumber prices could be poised to come down. More houses are being built every day to keep up with the steadily high demand.

In terms of available rentals, the answer remains to be seen.

“The infrastructure required to make a significant dent in the inventory crisis takes a lot of time,” Russo said. “Some people will cite eviction moratoriums coming to an end as a possible solution, but studies show the moratorium had little to no effect on actual eviction rates. This likely won't free up any significant amount of space in the rental pool.”

Reports by nonprofit research organization the Conversation found that eviction rates across the state of Idaho were down in 2020 but could spike back up following the closure of economic support for renting families.

The temporary eviction moratorium ordered by the CDC began on September 4, 2020, and is set to expire on June 30, 2021. The ban covered renting tenants, including those at risk of becoming homeless, and was designed to keep renting families both at home and stably housed through the pandemic.

In many ways, the government’s pandemic response, including the eviction moratorium, allowed renters to breathe easier last year. With those programs now set to decrease or disappear, many Idahoans who rent their homes may start facing a different set of challenges.

The reality is that the areas surrounding Sandpoint are facing a housing market crisis. In a time of crisis, the biggest asset renters and buyers will have is patience.

While the housing inventory numbers can appear overwhelming and answers are unclear, the current state of affairs won’t last forever. Measures are being taken to manage the crisis as much as possible. Houses are being built, including plans for multi-family housing near the area that will be intended to target affordable rental rates.

Locals looking to change their living situation shouldn’t give up hope. Instead, they can draw on available resources—like trusted local Realtors, independent research, and staying on top of current information—to find security and support through an uncertain time.

To secure the right opportunity in Sandpoint’s current housing market, it will take a lot of patience, but those opportunities are still out there to be found.

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