COEUR d'ALENE — Hayden Anderl sees Kootenai County's real estate market a bit like the "wild West."
Strong sales thanks to an increase in seniors, rising prices, labor and housing shortages and affordability issues for millenials have created a mixed landscape, the Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty agent said Thursday during his firm's 12th annual Commercial Market Forum at the Kroc Center.
"People are fleeing where they live to come here, so we need jobs for our younger generations," he told nearly 400 business professionals during the forum.
"Due to prices continuing to increase, some (younger) people are unable or not ready to buy."
The median sales price for new homes in Kootenai County rose from $278,896 in 2017 to $314,750 in 2018. For resales, the number jumped from $239,999 to $267,250.
"People are paying a significant amount of money for a new home versus buying a resale home," Anderl said.
Fueling the wild theme has been "one-day buying frenzies," Anderl said.
"Full-price offers within hours of the listing," he said, summarizing the situation that he expects to taper in 2019.
As baby boomers downsize to condominiums and townhouses, that will be a hot local market to watch, Anderl said.
"They want that lock-and-leave lifestyle and don't want to deal with maintenance," he said.
Danny Davis, another Coldwell Banker presenter, said residents are seeing so many multi-family projects sprout up across Kootenai County because there's pent-up demand.
"We're catching up, but we've still got a ways to go," he said, adding that he expects the multi-family construction trend to continue.
Over the past year, multi-family vacancy rates have increased only from 1.8 percent to 2 percent despite the massive resurgence in building.
"We are still suffering the hangover from the Great Recession when it comes to overall housing, but we're starting to see the market begin to move toward a more balanced equilibrium," a market report provided to forum attendees states.
"In 2019 we will continue to see new multi-family developments, rents will continue to slightly increase and vacancy rates will continue to increase as we play catchup for a decade of falling behind."
Coldwell Banker Speaker Douglas Rall said the retail sector is changing as online shopping increases.
"The new construction will be primarily for restaurants, gas stations, motels and specialty retail not conducive to online marketing," he said.