Idaho top state to own a home, study says

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(Study courtesy of Smartasset)

COEUR d’ALENE — A new study names Idaho the ideal place for homeowners.

SmartAsset, a real estate tracking firm, released its annual ranking of the best states for homeowners on Thursday. The study, which measures nine economic ownership factors to rank each state, found Idaho outpaced the rest of the country.

“Everybody here is really friendly,” said Loretta Hartman, broker/owner at North Idaho Real Estate in Coeur d’Alene. “A lot of people move away from where they were because they don’t like the politics of their hometowns. You just don’t have a lot of the politics up here. You just have people who want to live their lives. Most of the people I talk to, they say everybody’s friendly.”

The study measured and weighed nine metrics: price per square foot, one-year home value appreciation, ratio of home value to inclome, foreclosure rates, effective property tax rates, median annual property taxes, average closing costs, average annual homeowners insurance costs and burglary rates.

It was the second year the Gem State took home the gold.

“This is just a great place to live,” Hartman said. “You have such wonderful natural beauty. You have our lakes. You have so many outdoor opportunities. And the prices: So many people move here from Washington, Oregon and California, and they can’t believe how inexpensive everything is here.”

Christine Brochier, Realtor at John L. Scott Real Estate in Coeur d’Alene, agreed.

“The outdoors and the bodies of water we have here,” she said, “the scenery, the four seasons — all of these factors make for an ideal place to own your own home. People come here on vacation. They take one look, and by the next year, they’re making plans to relocate … I think the beauty of North Idaho really sells itself.”

Of the 49 states measured (excluding Vermont, which didn’t provide enough data), Idaho ranked third in one-year home value appreciation, fourth in foreclosures per 10,000 homes, 12th in effective property tax rate, third in the cost of homeowners insurance and 12th in average closing costs. No one factor pushed Idaho into the top slot; rather, consistent favorable comparisons against the rest of the country moved the state into the lead.

The study credited Idaho’s 12 percent jump in the price per square foot between 2017 and 2018 as a result of the state’s vigorous growth.

Brochier added that other factors mattered to real-estate buyers. “Most people looking to relocate want to know what our schools are like,” she said. “They want to know about our income tax, about services, about activities. These homeownership numbers tell me owning a home is easier here, it’s easier to maintain ownership, and it’s easier to maintain a position in the marketplace.”

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