Tag Archives: Hope Morrow

Declining Rental Vacancies Put Pressure on Eastern Idaho

While demand for rental units in eastern Idaho has steadily increased since the 2008 recession, supply has not kept pace.

Leading into 2008, rental vacancies were at an all-time high peaking at roughly 10.5 percent across the nation (Figure 1). Although more vacancies frustrate landlords who are unable to fill rentals, it creates a preferable – or buyer’s – market for consumers. Before the recession there were abundant rental options, competitive prices and space for populations to expand.

Whenever the economy takes an economic downturn, especially a severe instance like 2008, there is a stagnation in construction. Rental property construction took a huge hit during this time and almost stopped completely. At the same time many people were losing their homes and being forced into rental units. Within the first few months of 2008, rental units became a hot commodity and, as shown in Figure 1, rental vacancies drastically declined.

The U.S. economy began to recover a couple years post-recession; however, rental housing construction took several additional years to begin recovering. And now, even as the economy is recuperating, those people who would have naturally moved out of rentals and into homes did not. These renters were prevented from purchasing homes for a variety of reasons, such as tougher lending standards, decreased household formation, reduced incomes, unemployment and job insecurities mostly brought about by the recession.

As the economy has recovered, most of the barriers to home buying that were present early on after the recession have been overcome. Lending standards and job insecurities have relaxed while unemployment has dropped and incomes are upward bound. However, availability of rental housing is still low. In 2016, the United States rental vacancy rate was 6.8 percent – still down almost 4 percent from pre-recession rates – and the West has the lowest vacancy rate in the nation at 4.4 percent (Figure 2).

The eastern Idaho population has grown by almost 15,000 since 2008 yet there have been few additional rental properties built in the region. Supply of rental units has stagnated, but demand for these units has grown exponentially. According to economic theory, as demand increases for a product without a change in supply, the price for the product increase. This theory is unfolding in the region today.

A survey taken of 10 apartment complexes representing more than 4,000 units in the Idaho Falls / Ammon area showed that all increased rental rates at least once in the last year with some increasing rates three or four times. This survey also exposed the high demand for new rental options, but only one complex was expanding and had rented nearly 77 percent of the units before construction was completed.

As demand continues to outweigh supply, prices will continue to rise. The side effects are evident as higher rental cost is eating into savings meant for down payments on homes, thus residents are staying in rental units longer than anticipated. Spending more money on rent also means residents have less disposable income to spend in their local economy. If the supply does not quickly catch up to eastern Idaho’s high rental demand, this rising rental price trend will continue.

As eastern Idaho continues to market toward expanding its population and retaining its natives, potential renters will hit a bottleneck and in-migration due to relocation may be dissuaded if the rental supply does not increase. If the goal is to obtain more consumers and increased workforce in the region, consumers require greater rental supply and competitive pricing. Having these amenities will only help to attract a talent pool to eastern Idaho.

Hope.Morrow@labor.idaho.gov, regional economist
Idaho Department of Labor
(208) 525-7268 ext. 4340

Around Idaho: March 2017 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Boundary County

  • A large mudslide derailed a Union Pacific train near Moyie Springs on March 15. No injuries were reported, though 12 railroad cars loaded with grain were involved in the derailment. Due to the steep terrain in the area, it was not immediately possible to bring in equipment to move the derailed cars. Multiple mudslides and floods have been reported since then, leading to a state of emergency declared by Boundary County and the city of Bonners Ferry. Source: Bonner County Daily Bee

Kootenai County

  • The city of Post Falls will use an Idaho Transportation Department grant to improve pedestrian pathways and trails and construct new pathways in the city center.
  • Kootenai County declared a state of emergency on March 16 in response to extensive flooding caused by heavy rain and melting snow pack. Areas affected by flooding include Cataldo, Fernan Lake Village, Hayden and Rathdrum.
  • School levies around Kootenai County were successful in March. Plummer-Worley, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene and Lakeland school districts all passed their respective levies.

Source for all: Coeur d’Alene Press Continue reading

Around Idaho: February 2017 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • The city of Coeur d’Alene is moving forward with a bike share program. The city council reached an agreement with Zagster, a Massachusetts-based company that has created more than 140 bike share programs around the country. City officials stressed the focus of the program is on commuters and is not designed to compete with companies that rent bicycles to tourists. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The landmark Dingle Building in the heart of downtown Coeur d’Alene is under new ownership, and the new owners have proposed to turn the property into a boutique hotel. This plan would include retail and restaurant space on the ground floor of the building with and an added fourth story to provide additional hotel occupancy. The plans have been submitted to the city and now await approval. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • North Idaho College has asked the state legislature for $594,900 to provide two free courses at NIC for Idaho residents during the summer quarter of 2017. NIC officials expressed hopes that providing free courses during the summer will raise their fall enrollment numbers. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

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Around Idaho: January 2017 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

Kootenai County

  • The city of Rathdrum has announced plans to form an urban renewal agency. The goal of the agency will be the development of Rathdrum’s large vacant areas which are currently zoned for light industrial. Rathdrum is home to two technical schools, and city officials expressed hope that development of the industrial areas will help keep graduates from these schools working in the city. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • Empire Unmanned – a northern Idaho manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles – has announced that it will offer a certification course for commercial drone pilots. The company’s sales tripled in 2016 as commercial uses for drones have proliferated. The certification course, which will be offered at North Idaho College, will reflect the evolving regulatory requirements promulgated by the Federal Aviation Administration. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene school board voted in favor of a $35.5 million bond measure and a $32 million operating levy, both of which will be put before votes in March. The measures come amid rapid enrollment growth which has left Coeur d’Alene schools significantly overcrowded. Due to rising assessed property values, tax rates would not increase even if both the bond and the levy are approved. Source: Spokesman Review

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Eastern Idaho Construction Future Looks Bright

Only a few weeks into 2017 and it is already looking like big change for eastern Idaho. As 2016 came to a close a hefty number of building plans were solidified and in 2017 they will come to life. As the construction industry and housing markets are still recovering from the 2008 recession, eastern Idaho is seeing an unfamiliar jump in infrastructure expected in the next few years. While home building permit approvals are sky rocketing around the region, regional expansion is not stopping at residential building. Public and private entities alike are bringing big changes to the area. More than $22 million in commercial building permits were approved for eastern Idaho in 2016. Continue reading

Defining Rural Idaho Presents Challenges

Idaho is comprised of 44 counties – seven urban and 37 rural – as classified by the Idaho Department of Labor. Idaho fits snugly between economic urban powerhouse states Washington and Oregon and more rural neighbors Montana and Wyoming. The geographic placement of Idaho creates a unique situation.

The broad county categories of urban and rural are based mostly on population density. Though a simple classification system, it may have some significant restrictions. As time passes more people are leaving rural areas out of economic necessity such as seeking better job opportunities, education access and health care amenities. Migration out-flow data shows that rural counties like Madison and Clark have the highest rates of out-migration – up to 17 percent annually. Meanwhile, only Canyon and Ada counties have experienced an annual out-migration of only 3 to 6 percent. Though these changes mimic national trends, rural communities throughout Idaho are still active and pushing to thrive. Besides population density, there are many characteristics that separate a rural area from an urban one.

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Around Idaho: December 2016 Economic Activity

Information provided in this article is from professional sources, news releases, weekly and daily newspapers, television and other media.

Northern Idaho
North Central Idaho
Southwestern Idaho
South Central Idaho
Southeastern
Eastern Idaho

NORTHERN IDAHO – Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai & Shoshone counties

  • STCU credit union opened a new branch in downtown Coeur d’Alene after remodeling a former Bank of America Location. The new location, which offers business services and consumer and commercial lending, is STCU’s 20th branch overall and its third in northern Idaho. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The Coeur d’Alene Planning Commission approved a permit for Lake Drive Apartments to build a 30-unit, five-story apartment complex in the underdeveloped East Sherman neighborhood. Lake Drive expressed hopes that construction could be completed in the summer of 2017. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press
  • The city of Coeur d’Alene relaxed its rules governing child care business licenses and will now grant licenses to applicants with marijuana charges more than five years old. The change was made to address a serious local shortage of child care providers. The city expressed optimism that the relaxed rules will help address the shortage. Source: Coeur d’Alene Press

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