Welcome to the Weekly Survival Real Estate Update. This new column will feature news, statistics, market analysis and opinions. We plan to feature one or two retreat locales each week. Typically, we will report on one locale in the Continental United States and one internationally. Our first full length update will appear next Friday and feature Northwestern Montana and New Zealand, both locales have excellent characteristics and qualities for the retreat shopper.
One quick note this week: The Northern Idaho market seems to now be feeling the combined effects of the real estate market crunch and liquidity crunch. Over the past few weeks there have been major price reductions on large acreage properties, some new listings of retreat-qualified properties–now listed at reasonable market values–and investors trying to dump their rural subdivisions which have just received approval. There are currently 1,141 residential listings and 1,605 vacant land listings in the northern Idaho area (Sandpoint, Priest River and Clark Fork north to Bonners Ferry and Porthill) in an area of about 35,000 people in two counties.
For all of you looking at Northern Idaho the market there is flooded with listings and the time is at hand to cherry pick the retreat of your dreams. The decline (Crunch) here will never be as bad as the coastal locales or big cities due in part to the fact that only 17% of the land here is in private ownership and it drops to 11% in northwestern Montana. This alone may actually cause the decline to stop over the next year, as the demand for retreats increases as city dwellers ‘bail out’ of the nosediving markets. This is especially true with larger acreage homes and land (40+ acres), as sellers get wise to this fact.
All in all, no matter what retreat locale you are considering it looks like everyone is in for a rough ride. Read, study, plan and then investigate some more before making your move. But whatever you do, don’t hesitate. Because, like those battle packs of South African .308 ball ammo, one day you’ll wake up and say “Darn, I knew I should have bought a dozen cases of that stuff while it was still cheap.” Remember, smart people learn from their mistakes, but the wise learn from others’ mistakes!
For more information and analysis of retreats for sale in your locale of choice, please visit SurvivalRealty.com. Locales listed on the site do not have to follow JWR’s list of approved areas in his top 19 western states. If you think that a locale you are interested in moving to has merit, please let us know. We would be happy to contact realtors there, find and approve a few listings, and get them up on the site for you. The more feedback and help we get the better the site will be, so go ahead, have it tailored to feature retreats in your favorite locale. – TS