Surging Summer Housing Prices By Joshua Nishimoto
With the influx of a diverse set of individuals and families moving to Sandpoint from all over the country, mostly from California, we are seeing new and exciting developments popping up all over the area. For more information about these types of developments, we turn to real estate agent Luke Webster for the latest information on the ups and downs of development housing, the housing market in general, and how we as locals can prepare for new neighbors.
“Bonner County has several different developments currently under construction or in the planning phase,” Webster said. “Until we have some more rural utilities like sewer and water that allow for smaller parcels, I feel that we won’t see new starter homes in the county under $500k. The utilities and underlying zoning are a couple of things locally we can have a say or control in. The costs of goods and demand are a bit out of our control.”
New developments mean more people can move into the area, which means locals need to prepare themselves for this population shift. But it’s not all gloom and doom. Having more developments means more options for everyone.
“New housing for locals is pretty simple,” Webster said. “It means more people and more options for locals to sell, trade up or down in size or money.”
One might consider new developments might give more options to low-income families, but according to Webster, that’s not necessarily the case. “I don’t believe you will see low-income homes (not talking about government housing, etc.) until there are county utilities and zoning changes,” he said.
When considering new developments, one can’t ignore the fact that employee housing is also playing its part. On May 3, Schweitzer Mountain announced its second venture into employee housing through a partnership with Eastmark Capital Group, a real-estate development company (its first project related to employee housing occurred in the summer of 2020 when they renovated a former assisted living facility in Sandpoint; a dormitory-style housing development for 15 seasonal and full-time employees).
Through this partnership, Schweitzer is creating an 84-unit apartment complex near the intersection of Schweitzer Plaza Drive and Triangle Drive in Ponderay, granting employees walking distance to shopping, dining and transportation services.
“As far as new developments go … Hopefully it will be a win-win for the community and the ski hill,” Webster said. “I am not a fan of apartments, condos or any other types of housing without a garage. Most American small businesses, inventors and entrepreneurs get their start in the garage … I hate seeing high-density ‘affordable’ housing that keeps people locked into the rat race.”
As far as the housing market in general, it appears to have peaked. According to Webster, this trend looks to continue to move in predictable ways for the summer.
“I believe it has peaked nationally,” Webster said. “We can more than likely expect another surge and sideways movement in our market as people leave the West coast.”
Whether you are living in Sandpoint or the surrounding area, or you’re considering moving here, Webster reminds us that we are all in this together. “I feel we live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world,” he said. “We are all blessed to live in such an area. Remember to be kind, patient and helpful to one another. If you just got here or have been here forever, remember that it is never too late to help a neighbor, choosing kindness over anger. Wave more and complain less.”