Greg Johnston Real Estate Blog Pocatello Idaho Real Estate Information


Building lots in Inkom Idaho near Pebble Creek Ski Area

Take a look at this incredible subdivision in Inkom, Idaho. The views are amazing! You have an unblocked view of the valley and are just below a beautiful mountain view. This is Peerless Parcels Estates. There are nine lots available to choose from. Most lots are 1.11-1.50 acre and ranging in price from $89,900 to $134,900. This is an open space subdivision. That means the homes and lots are not close together. You have over 10 acres of open space that will not be built on. This space has trees and a natural spring on it. This subdivision is located just below Pebble Creek Ski Area. It is beautiful. Take a look at the details and additional pictures by clicking on this link for Peerless Parcels.

If you are looking to build a custom home, you need to look at Peerless Parcels Subdivision in Inkom, Idaho. Quiet location, incredible views, and a great location near Pebble Creek Ski Area. For a plat map, copy of the restrictive covenants, or more information, contact Greg Johnston, Realtor at 208-232-9041.


Old Town Pocatello 2015 Halloween Trick-or-Treat

This Saturday is Halloween. The annual Old Town Pocatello trick-or-treat is scheduled for Halloween Day, Saturday the 31st between 3:00 and 5:30. Make sure to stop by my real estate office at 150 N. Main on the corner of Main and Clark Street. We will have candy for all the trick-or-treaters. This annual event is sponsored by local businesses along Main Street, Arthur Street, and some of the side streets. Look for the orange signs in the window of participating businesses. Last year had over 4,000 kids. It is a big event. Have a fun and safe Halloween. Greg Johnston, Realtor

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How do homeowners accumulate wealth?

I found this article to be very interesting. It discusses how a homeowner can accumulate wealth much easier than someone who is renting. It suggests not to try and time the housing market to buy a home or investment property, but anytime is good since in the long run values go up and you pay down the balance every month as you make a mortgage payment. I suggest you read this and buy more real estate.

By Lawrence Yun, National Association of REALTORS Chief Economist

"The differences between buying and renting are massive. According to the Federal Reserve, a typical homeowner’s net worth was $195,400, while that of renter’s was $5,400. The data reflects 2013 and the next survey of household finances, which is conducted every three years, will be out in 2016. Based on what has happened since 2013 and projecting a conservative assumption of what could happen next year to home prices if we see only 3% price growth, the wealth gap between homeowners and renters will widen even further. The Fed is likely to show a figure of $225,000 to $230,000 in median net worth for homeowners in 2016 and around $5,000 for renters. That is, a typical homeowner will be ahead of a typical renter by a multiple of 45 on a lifetime financial achievement scale.
Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked. A vast majority of homebuyers take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage to make a home purchase. After 30 years, there is no mortgage payment (nor rent payment). So the home price growth over that time period would be the equity that the homebuyer would have accumulated.

This simple example does not play out nearly as neatly in the real world, since people do not stay in one residence over the 30 year period. Almost all homeowners trade up, change neighborhoods, or move to a better school district at some point. However, they are able to make those residential relocations due to the housing equity accumulated, even over a shorter period, and can immediately apply that equity to the next home as a down payment. Therefore the conditions of steadily building housing wealth still hold.

We also know that not everyone can or should be homeowners. The memories of easily accessible subprime mortgages and subsequent harsh foreclosure pains are still fresh, and remind us of the devastating impact on the families involved, local communities, and to the broad economy. In addition most young adults have not developed the financial standing or have found a stable, desirable career and, therefore, choose not be homeowners until later. The homeownership rate among households under the age of 35 is 35% currently and rarely rises above 40% historically. For those under the age of 25, the current ownership rate is 23% and rarely rises above 25%. But the time will eventually come when people want to convert to ownership. By the time people are in their prime-earning years of 45-to-55, nearly three-fourths do eventually become homeowners. By retirement, nearly 80% are homeowners.

Most consumers appear to already understand the simple math and the benefits of homeownership. So don’t over think the matter of whether now is a good time to buy, or whether stock market returns will be better. The exact timing of a home purchase will have little financial impact in the big scheme of things. Just know that homeowners generally do come out ahead of renters in the long run."


Why to invest in Pocatello Idaho real estate

As a real estate investor, you are willing to invest in any market that helps you achieve your investment goals. Your goal is to make money. Some investors like to purchase property close to where they live. Others are willing to invest in property anywhere across the Country that makes sense financially. As you look for investments, please consider investing in Pocatello, Idaho. I think you will like what you can find in this community.

My name is Greg Johnston. I am a REALTOR and real estate investor. I manage my own real estate investments. Having worked in real estate as a REALTOR and property manager for 16 years, I know about investment properties. I know which properties will make money, be easy to rent out, and which are the best investments. I currently manage 70 properties and know what tenants are looking for. There are many great opportunities for real estate investing in Pocatello, Idaho. Let me tell you about this market.

Pocatello is a city of approximately 54,300 people. There is also an adjacent city of Chubbuck with an additional 15,200 people. In our market area we have a population of 69,500 people. Pocatello is a University town. It is home to Idaho State University (ISU). The additional 15,000 students at ISU give us a large pool of people who need to rent homes and apartments. Pocatello has a large demand for rentals. One statistic provided by the Greater Pocatello Chamber of Commerce shows that Pocatello has 22,388 housing units. 13,011 are owner occupied and 7,532 are occupied by renters. That is a large percentage of renters. The vacancy rates are very low in Pocatello due to the large number of potential tenants.

Real estate values are very reasonable. The average sales price of a single family home is $154,000. We have a very stable real estate market. Many out of state investors love the stability our real estate market offers. Pocatello does not offer large annual appreciation, but it also is most likely not going to have large periods of depreciation, either. A 30-year average shows annual home values appreciate 3% per year. The investment market is also stable. I have never experienced a period of needing to lower rents to fill a vacancy. Rents do increase gradually over time. Values of apartment complexes increase as the rental income increases with it.

Locally, we have a large demand for rentals. Small one and two-bedroom apartments rent out well. So do large homes. I have rented small studio apartments to tenants for $300 per month and large executive homes for $2,000 per month. We need investors to provide homes for people to rent. There is a strong demand for homes and apartments in all price ranges. I can always find several good investment properties at any given time. I can find undervalued single family homes, duplexes and fourplexes, large apartment complexes, and commercial properties. Whatever you like to invest in, I can find it for you.

Please do not be concerned about investing in a market out of the area where you live. Pocatello features many large property management companies who are set up to accommodate you. They have enough staff to easily handle managing more properties than they currently are. As a local REALTOR, I will get you in contact with qualified property management companies.

With low real estate prices, low vacancy rates, a large pool of potential renters, and local property managers in place ready to assist, Pocatello, Idaho is a great place for real estate investing. Please contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, at 208-232-9041 to discuss investing in Pocatello real estate.

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Pocatello Idaho real estate market statistics for 3rd quarter 2015

Another quarter is behind us. It is now October and the busy summer real estate market is behind us. What a summer it was! I have compiled the real estate market statistics for the Pocatello and Chubbuck area and all of Bannock County, Idaho. Here are some interesting statistics to be aware of. This will give us an idea of the health of the market and predict the future real estate market.

Right now there are 430 single family homes on the market for sale. Last year at this time we had 509 homes for sale. That is a big drop in inventory - about 20% change! In 2015 we have sold 783 homes year-to-date. At this time last year we had 709 home sales. That is also a big change for the positive. The number of days on market for homes is 112 days. That is lower than in the past. However, home values have not changed dramatically. Year-to-date in 2014 the average sales price was $156,092 and in 2015 it is $156,889. That is only 1/2% higher.

The figures show a steady market in new home construction, but larger homes are being built based on the average sales price. We still have a shortage of residential building lots. We need more land to build on. Investor interest also remains consistent with 49 multi-family units sold in the past twelve months compared to 50 sales at the same time one year ago.

How do we interpret the numbers? We have lower inventory and higher sales than in the past. This is a sign that we could begin to see home value appreciation in our market soon. Click on this link to get a copy of the 3Q 2015 Bannock County.


Selling a home with owner financing

Some property owners ask me if they should carry a contract or offer owner financing when they have a home to sell. This is a scenario where the seller of a home acts as the lender and takes payments on the home over time. It is a good concept to get your money over time and earn some interest on it. There are definitely some advantages and disadvantages to doing this. I want to point out that this can only be done if there is no mortgage against the home. Any loan against the property will need to be paid off before you can transfer the property to someone else.

The advantages of selling a home on owner financing:
1- You can earn a very good amount of interest on your money
2- You may be able to defer income tax on the equity since you have not received it yet
3- More home buyers will be interested in the home (such as those who cannot qualify for a loan).
4- Quicker closing. No waiting for appraisers and loan underwriting.

The disadvantages of selling a home on owner financing:
1- You do not get all of your money at the time you sell the home
2- Possibility you have to foreclose if the buyer cannot make the payments
3- If it was your primary residence, it may have been sold tax free if you lived there for more than two years. Now it is considered an investment and is taxable income.
4- You are considered a lender and may need to comply with lending guidelines and disclosures.

Everyone's situation is different. Sometimes it is a good idea to sell a home on owner financing. However, there are scenarios where it is not a good idea. That is why it is wise to talk to an accountant, financial planner, and your REALTOR(R) at the time you plan to sell a home.


Owners overvalue home by large margin

I found an article to be interesting. Here is an excerpt. Take a look:

For the seventh consecutive month, the gap has widened between what home owners say their home is worth compared to what appraisers say, according to Quicken Loans’ August 2015 Home Price Perception Index. Home owner estimates now stand 2.65 percent higher than appraiser opinions, the largest gap in more than a year, according to the index. “The perception trend of most of this year suggests home owners may be assuming that home values have been in a steady, linear path upward,” says Bob Walters, Quicken Loans chief economist. “In reality, home values have remained mostly flat this year, and this false assumption may be leaving home owners disappointed when their appraisals come in.” "

This is a national story, but what does this mean for us in Idaho? As a full-time Realtor, it is not uncommon for me to meet with a home owner and for them to tell me what they think their home is worth and for me to tell them it is not worth that much. It may be human nature to always feel our property is better than a neighbors. We take pride in ownership and try to improve what we own. However, we have to be realistic in valuing a property. As a Realtor I can help show you comparable sales to put a value on your home. We never want to overprice a home for sale. No matter how nice the home is it will not sell if a buyer can find a comparable property at a lower price. Pricing your home accurately and fairly is the best thing you can do to get your home sold.


First time home buyers making a comeback

A recent report published by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) has shown that the first time home buyer market has picked up significantly. In the past few years the market for first time buyers has been sluggish both nationally and locally. This is due to the economy in general and the fact that many of the "great" first time home buyer loans were taken away several years ago. The NAR study says that 32% of all recent home sales have been to first time home buyers (the majority under the age of 32). That is by far the largest segment in the market.

The first time home buyer market is making a come back. So, how does this affect you? 1- If you have a home under $100,000 that you would like to sell, we may have the buyer. 2- If you know of anyone who is renting a home, great first time home buyer loan programs are back. There are low-down payment and zero-down payment loans available. They need to take advantage of this and buy a home now. The busy spring real estate market is here. Now is the time to buy and sell. Give me a call with any questions you have about buying or selling a home.


Pocatello Storage Units for sale

One popular real estate investment is storage units. They are popular because of the ease of owning them. Compared to residential apartments, this simple building is very low maintainance. No plumbing repairs. Ne electrical repairs. It is very easy to manage. Do you know of anyone who may have an interest in buying storage units in Pocatello, Idaho? I have a building with 93 units for sale at a price of $300,000. Having been built in 2010, they are still in excellent condition. The monthly rent when fully occupied is $3,210. The other good news is that there is an assumable first mortgage on the building. That will make financing much easier for a new buyer. I can give you all the terms.

93 Storage units – newly built in 2010. Lot size is .56 Acres.

5 units measure 5’X5’ and rent for $20 per month each 4 out of 5 are rented now.
60 units measure 5’X10’ and rent for $30 per month each 50 of the 60 are rented.
5 units measure 5’X15’ and rent for $35 per month each 4 out of 5 are rented.
18 units measure 10’X10’ and rent for $45 per month each All 18 are rented now.
5 units measure 10’X20’ and rent for $65 per month each 4 of the 5 are rented.

Total rents when fully occupied is $3,210 per month, $38,520 annually.

If you have an interest in investing in storage units, call Greg Johnston, Realtor, at 208-232-9041.


2014 Pocatello Idaho real estate market statistics

2014 went by fast, didn't it? I can not believe it is 2015 already. At the end of every year I compile real estate statistics for the Pocatello area including Bannock County. The year end statistics give us a good indication of what is happening right now and help us to predict what may happen this year. Here are some of the important statistics:

At the end of 2014 there are only 359 single family homes listed for sale on the Pocatello Multiple Listing Service (MLS). That is a big decrease in listings from both last year (429 homes at the end of 2013) and last quarter (509 homes at the end of September). Less competition is a good thing for home sellers. It also helps home values to begin to appreciate. Home values did increase in 2014. The average price was $151,690 in 2013 and up to $157,996 in 2014. That is a 4% gain. 4% really is a good figure. We like to see home values appreciating.

In 2014 we had 888 single family home sales reported on the MLS. That is up 3% from the 861 sales in 2013. So, we had more homes sell and at a higher average price. That is a good sign for Pocatello, Idaho's economy.

New homes remain popular. 55 new homes sold in 2014 compared to 50 in 2013. Some larger new homes have been built and sold. The average new home price is $226,817 up from $196,196 last year. Larger homes being sold is another signal of an improving real estate market. There are a few subdivisions with available building lots for sale. However, we do not have as many as we need. In 2014 we only had 33 lots sold on MLS, down dramatically from the 107 sold the year before. Watch out for prices on bare ground to go up since there are only 57 lots for sale on the MLS. Many of the new homes sold are owned by developer/builders and not part of the MLS reported sales.

Real estate investor interest remained consistent. We saw 45 multi-family units sell in 2014 compared to 41 in 2013. Right now we have 50 on the market for sale, almost equal to 53 listed at this time last year.

To summarize, the Pocatello, Idaho real estate market is improving at a good pace. We like to see 3-4% increase in sales and home values. We should be on pace to experience similar growth in 2015, although a few new businesses in Pocatello and American Falls could cause a demand for housing. If that happens we will see higher home sales, higher home values, and lower inventories as investors buy homes to rent and resale later. If you have any questions about Pocatello, Idaho real estate please contact Greg Johnston, REALTOR, with Keller Williams Realty East Idaho at 208-232-9041.

Click on this link to get a copy of the 2014 Market Statistics.