If you’re thinking about moving to Idaho, you’re not alone. This roomy western state is one of the fastest-growing states in the US. If a move to the gem state might be in your future, keep reading to get a lay of the land.
The “City of Trees”
For many people moving to Idaho means heading for the state’s capital, Boise. This intermountain west city is home to the largest metro area in the state. The nearest major cities include Salt Lake City, Utah to the south and Portland, Oregon in the northwest.
If you aspire to become a local, one of the first things you need to know is how to pronounce the name of the city. Locals pronounce it “boy-see” instead of “boy-zee.” Boise is located in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, a large fertile high desert farming area kept green by extensive irrigation systems. The New York Canal flows through the city, supplied by the Lucky Peak Reservoir. The Boise River also runs through the city, flanked by an extensive park system and bike path known as the greenbelt.
Fastest Growing Metro Areas
Most newcomers planning to move to Boise actually end up in one of several cities surrounding Idaho’s capitol. Nampa and Meridian are among the nation’s fastest-growing cities.
These once sleepy farming towns, along with Eagle and Caldwell, are now growing rapidly. Other smaller outlying cities include Star, Emmett, and Kuna. If you really crave small-town life you can check out numerous small farming communities in Southwest Idaho and near the Eastern Oregon border.
If you visited Idaho decades ago, prepare to find new construction almost everywhere. Subdivisions and shopping malls have sprung up across the region–and downtown Boise’s skyline has changed significantly.
One popular new venue, Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) is also a nod to Idaho’s history. Idaho’s former “potato billionaire” Jack Simplot’s influence can be felt throughout the Treasure Valley from Esther Simplot Park (which he donated in memory of his wife) to Micron Technology Inc. (a computer memory company he helped make possible by investing heavily in the new technology in the 70s).
A lower cost of living compared to parts of California and the Northwest has some companies moving to Idaho while other successful start-ups have been created by Idaho natives in the past several years. A few notable software as a service companies in the Boise metro area include ConvertKit, Click Funnels, Truckstop.com, Paylocity, and an Intuit location.
The Housing Market
Due to the increased number of people moving to Idaho, Boise area housing prices continue to increase. In December 2019 the median home price in Boise was $335,000 compared to $214,000 in 2014. That’s a $121,000 increase in only five years.
However, the area’s cost of living is still a bargain compared to many major cities on the west coast, especially Seattle and major cities in California where investment from foreign cash buyers has been driving up real estate prices. And while foreign investment in the US housing market has been cooling off in the past couple of years, the effects still aren’t being felt in the Boise housing market where a tight supply is expected to push prices a bit higher in 2020. In fact, Realtor.com predicts Boise will have the hottest housing market in the nation in 2020.
Are you contemplating a big move this year? We’d love to hear about it the challenges you’re facing. Comment below or drop me an email.