Greg Johnston Real Estate Blog Pocatello Idaho Real Estate Information

29Oct/140

Old Town Pocatello Trick-or-Treat on Halloween!

This Friday evening, Old Town Pocatello businesses are hosting a business trick-or-treat. Please plan to attend this Friday, October 31st 2014, from 2:30 to 6:00 p.m. Participating businesses will have an orange poster in their window or on their door to let you know they are a participating business. Dozens of businesses do participate. Last year well over 1,000 children in costumes participated. The weather should be nice. Plan to attend. Most of the participating businesses are on Main and Arthur Streets, and some are on the side streets in between Main and Arthur. When you are trick-or-treating please stop by my real estate office. Please visit Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 150 N. Main Street. Come visit on Friday for some candy, and come back next time to let me help you with buying or selling real estate. Greg Johnston, REALTOR

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10Oct/140

Pocatello real estate market statistics – 2014 third quarter

We are flying through this year! I can't believe it is October already. I have compiled the 3rd quarter 2014 Pocatello, Idaho real estate market statistics. As always, I have compared them to the previous quarter, and most importantly, the same quarter one year earlier. The statistics are always very interesting and give us a picture of what is happening with our local real estate market in Bannock County, Idaho.

At the end of September 2014 we have 509 single family homes for sale on the Greater Pocatello Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service (MLS). We had 514 at the same time in 2013. The numbers are almost identical. We have a large drop off of homes listed for sale from the previous quarter when we had 597 homes. That is normal, seasonal inventory levels. There are always more homes for sale in the summer than in the fall.

There are a few bright spots in the Pocatello real estate market. One bright spot is that we have 67 homes under contract compared to 54 at the same time last year. Also, home values have come up a little in the past 12 months. An average sales price is $154,715 compared to $150,940. It is only about a 2% annual appreciation, but I like that values are headed in the right direction. Year to date we have sold 709 homes. This is up compared to 679 homes at this time in 2013.

New construction is still selling. In the past 12 months we sold 48 homes. That is identical in the number of sales for that time frame last year. I am a little concerned that we will have fewer new home sales in the future. Not because of lack of demand, but because we are running out of building lots. Only 38 building lots have sold in the last 12 months. Only 64 building lots are on MLS. Not all of them are great building lots, either. Without a place to build, we will see fewer new homes selling unless Pocatello can get a new subdivision developed soon.

I think good things are happening in Pocatello and Chubbuck, Idaho. Although they are not huge gains, we are seeing gains in home values and home sales. I feel that we are in a "normal" market. We are stable. We are in a market that is consistent and not experiencing big swings up or down. If you have any questions about the Pocatello real estate market, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 208-232-9010. For a complete list of the market statistics click on this link: 2014 3rd Quarter Stats.

24Jul/140

2014 Pocatello Parade of Homes Information

It’s that awesome time of year again! The Pocatello, Idaho Parade of Homes is coming up soon. The parade is put on by the Building Contractors Association of Southeast Idaho. New construction is popular right now. The local home builders have been busy. This year has twelve entries to view. There are some very neat properties on display this year. Mark your calendar to attend. The 2014 Pocatello Parade of Homes will be August 7th – 9th, 2014.

On Thursday the 7th the homes are open from 1:00 until 9:00 p.m. On Friday the 8th and Saturday the 9th, the homes are open from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at Citizens Community Bank Pocatello locations, Pocatello branches of Idaho Central Credit Union, and at Franklin Building Supply.

If you want a sneak peak at the homes, click on this link for a copy of the Parade of Homes magazine: Pictures of Homes

I am a REALTOR. If you have a desire to build a home, please call me. I can help you find a lot to build on, a floor plan to build, and line you up with a home builder I have done business with in the past and know will do a great job for you. I can also help sell your existing home so you can move into your new home. Give me a call at 232-9041 or email PocatelloRealtor@Gmail.com to begin the process of having a new home built. I have a few new homes for sale that have recently been built, and that are under construction. Contact me so I can tell you about them.

9Jul/140

2014 second quarter Pocatello, Idaho real estate statistics

We are in the busy summer selling season for Pocatello, Idaho real estate. The statistics have been compiled for the second quarter of the year. The real estate market statistics give us a good indication of what is happening right now, and what we can expect to see in the future.

As I look at the numbers and compare them to one year ago, I am surprised how close the sales numbers are to being identical. In June 2014 we sold 91 homes. June 2013 we sold 90 homes. In the second quarter of 2013 we sold 256 homes. In the same time during 2014 we sold 255. Year to date, we have sold 420 homes in 2014 compared to 411 in 2013. The new construction sales figures are nearly identical, too. In 2013 we sold 27 new homes in the first six months. In 2014 we have sold 25. The same holds true for twin homes and townhouses as we see 79 sales in 2013 compared to 76 sales in 2014. Other things that are comparable are the average days on market, the average list price, and the average sales price. I am amazed at how close the numbers are. I had expected our numbers to be higher than last year. The market is active and the local agents are busy.

There are a few numbers that are not identical. We have far more homes for sale right now than we did one year ago. We have 597 homes listed on the MLS now compared to 518 in 2013. Due to the laws of supply and demand, this will prevent us from seeing much appreciation in 2014. We have sold more multi-family homes so far this year, 32 compared to 22 at this time last year. That is a good sign that the investment market is picking up again.

Here is a link to view the full page of statistical data.

I expect the market to remain strong through the third quarter of this year before slowing down seasonally in the fall and winter months. Although home values are not increasing, they are stable, and stable is acceptable.

If you have any questions about the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market, call Greg Johnston, REALTOR® at 208-232-9010.

29Apr/140

Great buy on custom home for sale!

I have just listed an incredible home that really is a rare find. This custom built home is located in Inkom, Idaho just below the Pebble Creek Ski area. The home is gorgeous. It was built was quality materials. It is located on 2.9 acres. The view of the valley below is incredible from many of the windows and especially from the covered deck. The price is $375,000. The combination of the desirable location, small acreage, excellent condition, great price, and incredible view is what makes this a rare find.

This is a two-story home. There are four bedrooms and two bathrooms on the upper level. The main floor has a large, gourmet kitchen. There is a dining area and family room off the kitchen. It is a large, open floor plan. There is also a formal living room and formal dining room. The home has a four car garage split in two sections. Two bays are on the main level, and two bays are accessible in the lower level of the home.

Click on this link to view the inside pictures of the home on Pebble.

If you are interested, or know anyone who may be interested in purchasing this home, call Greg Johnston, Realtor, at 208-232-9041. Thank you.

23Apr/140

Pocatello real estate market statistics – 1st Quarter 2014

The first quarter real estate market statistics for Pocatello, Idaho have been compiled. The statistics are a very helpful gauge of the strength of the local real estate market. I think the first quarter of 2014 has given us some good insight. Here are some of the highlights:

A March 2013 vs. March 2014 comparison shows a slight increase in year over year sales. We sold 57 homes in March 2014, up from 53 in March 2013. The real increase is the figure for the past 12 months, meaning April 1st through March 31st, the end of this last quarter. The figure for the previous year (4/1/12-3/31/13) showed 734 home sales in that one year period. The figure for this current year (4/1/13-3/31/14) showed 869 home sales. That is a one year increase of 135 more home sales – 18%. That is a large increase! That is a good sign to see a large increase in home sales.

New construction continues to be increasing in sales as well. 5 new homes sold in March – that is about 8% of the market. New homes are popular.

Home values in the first quarter of 2014 are up from the first quarter of 2013. This year the average sales price is $145,063. The previous year was $139,529. That is a $4,500 increase, or about 3% increase in values. That is a good sign also.

The only concern I see is that the number of homes for sale right now has increased a lot. Last year at this time there were 463 single family homes listed for sale on the Pocatello, Idaho MLS. This year we report 523 homes for sale. Why such a big increase? In my opinion, the market has improved and many home owners are trying to sell their home in an improved market. Keep in mind that many of the homes listed for sale the last few years have not sold. With things improving, many home owners are saying, “Let’s try again now and see if we can sell our home.” The improving market is bring out more home sellers. This is providing a great selection for home buyers, but preventing the local area from an increase in home values. Do not be surprised to see flat, or low appreciation numbers this year.

Here is a link for the first quarter Market Statistics.

If you have any questions about the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market, or would like to buy or sell real estate, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, at 208-232-9041.

1Apr/140

Benefits of home ownership

The age-old debate continues. Is it better to rent a home or to own a home? There are pros and cons for both arguments. While you can say home values go up, you can also point out that they can also go down. The financial benefits of homeownership are evident year round, but particularly around tax time.

1. Homeownership Builds Wealth Over Time

We were always taught growing up that owning a home is a financially savvy move. Our parents knew it, and their parents knew it. But this past decade of real estate turbulence has shaken everyone’s confidence in homeownership. That is why it’s so important that we discuss this again now that we are in a ‘new market.’ Homeownership can be a very savvy financial move – but only if people buy homes they can actually afford. In 2014, this idea of sticking to a home you can afford to gradually build wealth is a “rule” that just happens to be new and old at the same time. Historically, homes appreciate in Idaho at about 3% per year based on a 30-year average. If you live in your home for five years it may go up in value about 15%.

2. You Build Equity Every Month

Your equity in your home is the amount of money you can sell it for minus what you still owe on it. Every month you make a mortgage payment, and every month a portion of what you pay reduces the amount you owe. That reduction of your mortgage every month increases your equity. The way mortgages work is that the principal portion of your payment increases slightly every month year after year. It’s lowest on your first payment and highest on your last payment. Thus, as the months and years go by, your equity grows! On a 30-year loan it may seem you will never pay off your home, but take a look as the balance goes down every month you make your payment. It takes time, but the balance is going down. You will be amazed at how fast you can pay off the home by just adding a little more to the principle every month.

3. You Reap Mortgage Tax Deduction Benefits

• Mortgage deduction: The tax code allows homeowners to deduct the mortgage interest from their tax obligations. For many people this is a huge deduction, since interest payments can be the largest component of your mortgage payment in the early years of owning a home. For example, if you paid $6,500 in mortgage interest on your home in one year, that full amount is tax deductable. This also applies to home equity loans against the house. Many people will pay off high rate non-deductable loans (cars, credit cards) with money they use borrowed against their home. Now it is deductable, and often at a lower interest rate.
• Some closing cost deductions: The first year you buy your home, you are able to claim the points (also called origination fees) on your loan, no matter whether they are paid by you or the seller. And because origination fees of 1 percent or more are common, the savings are considerable.
• Property tax is deductible: Real estate property taxes paid on your primary residence and a vacation home are fully deductible for income tax purposes.

4. You Get a Capital Gains Exclusion

If you buy a home to live in as your primary residence for more than two years then you will qualify for a capital gains tax exemption. When you sell, you can keep profits up to $250,000 if you are single, or $500,000 if you are married, and not owe any capital gains taxes. There are not many ways that you can earn income and not have to pay taxes on the gain. Your personal home is one way to earn money and not have to pay taxes on it.

5. Long Term, Buying Is Cheaper than Renting

In the first few years, it may be cheaper to rent a home than it is to have purchased a home due to the costs associated with getting a loan to buy a home. But over time, as the interest portion of your mortgage payment decreases, the interest that you pay will eventually be lower than the rent you would have been paying. But more importantly, you are not throwing away all that money on rent. You need to live someplace, so instead of paying off your landlord’s home or building, pay off your own!

Are there disadvantages as well? Maybe. You can argue that it costs money to fix up a home you own where it would not be your responsibility to pay for that as a renter. You can argue that it takes time to sell a home where you can just quickly leave when renting. Overall, in my opinion, it is just nice to have a place to call home and live how you want to rather than living under someone else’s rules, even if you have to make a little effort to own a home. If you have any questions about buying a home in Pocatello, Idaho, contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR at 208-232-9041 or by email at Greg@JohnstonTeam.com.

30Jan/140

Investors: Trailer Parks for Sale

Real estate has always been a popular investment. There are a few types of properties that are popular with real estate investors. One popular investment is storage units. The other is manufactured home parks. I receive calls often from people asking if I have any storage units or trailer parks for sale. Many investors buy rental houses. However, storage units and trailer parks are popular because of the low maintenance required. For example, a mobile home park is just land. You rent the lot to someone and rarely have to worry about fixing things. It is a simple investment compared to a home where you have to worry about repairs to the plumbing, electrical, furnace, etc.

Right now I have two small mobile home parks for sale in American Falls, Idaho. One park has eight spaces. The other park has eleven spaces. Here are some details on the properties.

424 Lincoln, American Falls, Idaho

Eight lots in the park. Each lot rents for $155.
There is one older manufactured home included. It rents for $195/month.
Total monthly income is $1,435 if fully occupied. There are a few vacancies.
Expenses: Monthly water bill is $475. Monthly property taxes are $102.
Net income is $858 per month.
List price is only $55,000.

115 Roosevelt, American Falls, Idaho

Eleven lots in the park. Each lot rents for $155.
Two manufactured homes are included, but one is in poor condition.
One home is rented for $345 per month.
Total monthly income is $2,050 if fully occupied. There are a few vacancies.
Expenses: Monthly water bill is $591. Monthly property taxes are $149.
Net income is $1,311 per month.
List price is $100,000.

If you have wanted to purchase a trailer park, these could be the right investments for you. They are small and manageable, and located in an area where there is a demand for lots. Give me a call so we can talk more about it. Also, I know of many trailers for sale that you can buy, move to this park, and rent the homes if you want to. There are many investment opportunities. If you are looking to invest in real estate, please contact Greg Johnston, Realtor, at 208-232-9041.

17Jan/140

New Rockwell Homes for sale in Chubbuck!

Newly constructed homes are always popular with home buyers. There is definitely something special about owning a brand new home. Fresh smells, new carpet, and being the first owner are valuable to many people. Right now I have two new homes for sale built by Rockwell Homes that were just completed. The homes are located on Camden Street in Brookstone Subdivision in Chubbuck. One home is priced at $165,000. The other is larger and priced at $169,900. Both homes are ranch style homes with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms on the main floor. The basement is unfinished. Two car garage. The builder offers a one-year warranty on the home. Click here to view the pictures of the homes: Camden.

We have some other new homes under construction right now. They will be in the same general price range. You can select your colors and materials for the home. Pick out the carpet, counter tops, and paint color. You can customize your new home. Plus, we have a twin home under construction that will be for sale around $135,000 per side. This twin home is a one-level home that is popular with buyers.

Have you been considering building a new home in Pocatello? Right now is the time to start working on it. Give me a call so we can discuss having a new home built for you. It will take 30-45 days to finalize your floor plan and obtain a building permit. It then takes 3-4 months to build the home. If you start now you can enjoy your home this summer. We can help you build any home on any lot in any price range. You can choose from a home we are currently building, or you can bring us your custom floor plan.

Looking to build? Give me a call, Greg Johnston, Realtor at Keller Williams Realty East Idaho, 232-9041. I can also help you sell your current home.

7Jan/140

2013 Pocatello Idaho real estate market statistics

2013 has come to an end. I have compiled the sales statistics for the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market. I like to compare market data with previous years. This year to year comparison gives us a great indication of what is happening with the local real estate market. Overall, 2013 was a good year for real estate home sales in Pocatello, Idaho. We had more home sales than the last few years, and more than we have had in one year since 2009. Click here for a copy of the 2013 Market Statistics. I think you will find them to be very interesting and informative.

There are a few things that really stand out to me. 1- We have more homes on the market right now than we had at this time last year. We have 429 homes on the MLS right now. We had 359 at the end of 2012. I think home owners are seeing that homes are selling and so more people have put their home up for sale. Many people may not have been able to sell their home in the last few years and now feel they may be able to sell it. The main negative with more homes for sale is that it will prevent home value appreciation. 2- We sold 861 homes in 2013. That is up a lot from the 705 home sales in 2012. That is about a 20% increase in home sales. That is a huge jump! It is nice to see so many more sales. 3- 50 new homes sold in 2013 compared to 25 newly built homes in 2012. The number doubled. New construction in the Pocatello, Idaho area is rebounding! 4- The average sales price in 2013 was $151,690. In 2012 it was $146,251. Although it is not a big jump, it is still a 3.5% increase in home values. After years of depreciation we will gladly take any home value appreciation we can get.

Last year I predicted a strong 2013 and I was right. Sales increased. I also said new construction would be strong. I was right. New construction was stronger. What is the forecast for 2014? I am confident that the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market will remain strong, but I do not expect another 20% increase in home sales. I expect the total number of home sales in 2014 to be comparable to 2013, but it may be slightly less. Last year we had a busy January and a great start to the new year. This year it is slower in January than it was last year. Rumors are that mortgage interest rates will continue to rise. A rise in interest rates will deter some home buyers. Let’s hope we have 861 home sales in 2014, but do not be surprised if we have a slight pull back to the 800 range.

The real estate market is good right now. If you have an interest in selling your home, buying a new home, or investing in real estate in the Pocatello, Idaho area, please contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, at Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 208-232-9041.