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CV: Why are people continuing to move to Coeur d'Alene in 2021

by KIMBER LONDON/Coeur Voice contributor
| February 20, 2021 1:00 AM

Whether you like it or not, Coeur d’Alene is becoming an increasingly popular location to move to. Our gorgeous resort town with strong small businesses and a charming downtown vibe surrounded in nature is not only desirable for its amenities but as a refuge and a safe haven for those whose cities are still in lockdown, a shadow of their former glory.

While there are many reasons to move to the Heart of the Awl, everyone has a different aspect that has drawn them to North Idaho. In 2021 Americans are following similar moving trends as previous years moving despite the pandemic. However, according to the 2020 US Migration report Idaho is number 1 on the list of Top Inbound States at 70%, Arizona following at 64%. Idaho has made the top ten every year since 2015 and continues to be one of the most desirable states for newcomers. Job loss and moving back home with family are even more factors for migrating to the Gem State in 2021. Having interviewed people looking to relocate to North Idaho, a few themes stand out including a desire to escape current situations due to impact from the coronavirus, relocating due to job loss or moving here to take advantage of the real estate.

Jordan Gibson, a young professional photographer shares his experience in Los Angeles and why he is considering relocating to North Idaho. “Honestly, Los Angeles is a shell of his former self,” Gibson shares with a somber look. “It’s just not the same city I moved to five years ago. The industry has taken a massive hit and with current lockdowns and social restrictions there’s just no work.”

Gibson conveys bewilderment at the quality of life in Los Angeles since Coronavirus first shut down the city in March of 2020. “It’s just not even the same place anymore. Homelessness has gone up. The city is dirtier than I’ve ever seen it. And people are depressed because they’re stuck indoors and nothing’s open. I have friends in Coeur d’Alene who keep telling me I should move up there. I want to be some place where businesses are open and there’s opportunity for work.”

Gibson’s concerns are not unique. Alaria Martinez, a student at the University of Puget Sound is considering moving back in with her folks for a while and potentially transferring to North Idaho College. “It’s been a crazy year for everyone but students especially have had to adjust to online learning when that might not be their strong suit,” Martinez remarks. “I know I am much more focused in the classroom when I’m able to be physically surrounded by students and a professor. That’s the college experience I thought I was going to get.” Like so many students affected by the pandemic, Martinez is questioning whether her initial investment is still worth it. “My family’s in Idaho so it just makes sense for me to go back home for a while and I might pick up studies again during the Fall semester. For now I want to be somewhere where I can enjoy life without worrying about managing my time online. I love to get out in nature and go out to eat and Coeur d’Alene is one of the few places right now where both are possible.”

Of course real estate has always drawn a certain the opportunists to Coeur d’Alene and the surrounding area. The average sale of a home in Coeur d’Alene was $500,000 up nearly 40% from last year but for cash investors it’s a gold mine.

Jana Jack, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Schneidmiller Realty is a PNW native and Coeur d’Alene transplant. Jack moved here from Maui with her husband last fall. ‘I think people want to come here because it’s beautiful. It’s also inexpensive even if it is becoming increasingly less so. It’s a safe and affordable place to raise a family and hopefully live the way they want to.” Jack explains why she herself moved from paradise. “My husband and I moved here for the small town vibe and lake life. There are so many nice friendly people here too and we’re hopeful for future home ownership. Coming from Maui after 4 years we fell in love with the tourism scene and see how that can bring more foot traffic into amazing small businesses that are thriving here. There’s so much potential and hope you can feel it around you.”

Even locally there has been an influx of Spokane residents crossing the border to go out at bars and restaurants. There has also been an increase in rowdy evening activity downtown according to local bartenders. Bar hoppers from Spokane when interviewed didn’t seem to care about respecting people and property, one woman stating “Idaho sucks, we only come here because you’re open.”

This sort of attitude and behavior from out-of-towners breeds resentment among local business owners and patrons alike. Regardless of the reasons, Idahoans are welcoming but wary of newcomers not respecting the culture they chose to migrate to. The people in this town have worked very hard to stay open and serve and support the surrounding communities so treat everyone accordingly. Over tip your servers and bartenders, if you’re from California they make half or less the hourly from $7.50 per hour to as low as $3.00 an hour. When you vote, remember what didn’t work where you came from and protect the ideals you benefit from. When you buy real estate take into account how your investment will affect the community you’re buying into.

And if you’re from Spokane, show an appreciation for sharing our community when you come to have fun over the border.