Car prices are nuts these days. Housing prices? Pretty much the same. For proof, see Eli Saslow's story in the Washington Post about a modest three-bedroom home in the Boise suburb of Star, Idaho. Trevor Descisciolo bought it 2018 for $239,000, with help from a relative. Over the last year, he watched with astonishment as the Zillow estimate rose $30,000 a month. Finally, he decided he had no choice but to sell, then use the profit to buy land and build a new home elsewhere in the area. The story notes that people began driving by and taking photos as soon as the for-sale sign went up, even before the listing price had been decided. That listing price: $485,000. "A half-million dollars," Descisciolo says. "It’s wild. It’s more than twice what we paid."
Descisciolo is guilty of rounding up there, but with good reason. The eventual winning bid had an escalation clause that drove the final offer up to $513,000. It was made by Craig and Heidi Christensen, who needed to relocate to the area and tell Saslow they had looked at more than 50 houses over three months. Their initial budget was a max of $400,000. "If we keep going like this for another few months, we might be looking at the same places for $600,000. What choice do we have?" says Heidi. It's part of the new normal of home sales: A listing, a day or two on the market, then a deadline to have all offers in. Saslow puts all this in the context of a year in which real estate values have surged 25% and further widened the gap between homeowners and wannabes. (Read the full story, which notes that one agent put a plea in a listing for people to refrain from submitting "love letters" on why they would be the perfect buyers—another real estate trend of 2021.)