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Idaho Continues Its Attraction Streak, Fueling Housing and Rental Markets

Recent data from Oxford Economics highlights that six Pacific Northwest cities have emerged among the top 20 in the United States for population growth percentages. Particularly noteworthy is Idaho's trend of drawing newcomers, a pattern that has persisted for several years now, influencing both the housing market and apartment sector demand. Remarkably, in 2023, four Pacific Northwest cities made the top 10, with Idaho cities claiming three spots.

Boise, Idaho, stands out with a population increase of 2.3% in one year, significantly outpacing the national average growth rate of 0.5%. Looking ahead from 2024 to 2028, the economic outlook for Boise's Treasure Valley is promising, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 2.1%, compared to a projected national growth of 1.7%.

Additionally, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls have demonstrated strong population increases, driven by factors similar to Boise's, including Coeur d’Alene’s appealing outdoor activities and Idaho Falls' more affordable living costs. Over the year, Coeur d’Alene experienced a 2% population rise, while Idaho Falls saw a 2.5% increase.

In Oregon, Bend also ranks within the top 20, showcasing a 1.4% growth rate. While the local economy is significantly influenced by tourism, Bend attracts newcomers with its outdoor appeal and quality of life.

Olympia, Washington, also earned a spot in the top 10 with a 1.7% growth rate, benefiting from its closeness to Seattle. Approximately a quarter of Olympia's workforce commutes to Seattle, yet Olympia maintains a robust employment foundation in state government and education, alongside a burgeoning industrial sector in Lacey.

Seattle itself continues to attract residents, with a 1.5% population growth in 2023. Despite a dip in tech employment, other sectors like aerospace and retail have contributed to job growth, supporting the region's population increase. After a period of net out-migration, Seattle witnessed significant in-migration in 2023, reaching a peak comparable to 2016 figures.

However, the surge in population across these thriving areas is not entirely matched by new housing developments. With ongoing population growth and a deceleration in construction, the Pacific Northwest is likely to see an uptick in rent prices. A combination of reduced apartment construction and the delivery of new units indicates potential decreases in vacancy rates. Given that affordability drives both population growth and apartment demand in these cities, vacancy trends will be critical to monitor in the upcoming years.

Source: Elliott Krivenko, MMCG, CoStar


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