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Answering the million-dollar question: why one city in the Treasure Valley has so many million-dollar homes

From May of 2021 to May of this year 880 million-dollar homes were sold in Ada County, and nearly half of them were in Eagle.

EAGLE, Idaho — It's no secret, the cost of housing in Idaho keeps growing. 

So much so that Zillow reported Idaho, along with Montana and Tennessee gained million-dollar cities for the first time. For perspective, most million-dollar cities are in large coastal regions, like Los Angeles and San Francisco. But in Ada County, from May of 2021 to May of this year 880 million dollar homes were sold, and nearly half of them were in Eagle. 

“It's always fascinating to me, even when I go back and review the stats,” said Brett Hughes a Broker and owner of Boise Premier Real Estate. “So in Ada County, there was 880 million dollar homes that have sold, Eagle had 380 of them. So almost half, which is pretty wild.” 

As someone who has grown up in Boise and has worked in real estate for 20 years, Hughes has watched how Idaho has grown, especially in Eagle. 

“Even I'm surprised by it,” Hughes said. “So, in ‘19 to 2020, we sold 78 million-dollar houses, and then from ‘20 to ‘21, 207. So more than double, and then from ‘21 to 2022, 383.” 

For perspective, Hughes said in 2010 less than three homes in the million-dollar price range were sold in Ada County. That is partially because many of these homes that are now valued at a million dollars or more, are double, and in some cases, triple, what they were valued at three to four years ago. 

One particular home in Eagle was on the market for nearly four million dollars. 

“This is on two acres and has its own private beach, so it's really cool with its own little like Casita, separate little living quarters. Gorgeous house,” Hughes said. “This one's been on the market for about 50 days, and they've had two offers, and I think they're about to get another one, but nothing that they've been able to reach so far.” 

Hughes said that it is unusual that the house has been on the market for so long. 

“So right now, the average days on market for a million-dollar homes in Eagle is 10 days,” Hughes said. “Which is wild, because the whole Ada County MLS, the average days on market is 20 days. So, they're going faster than everything by double.” 

Last year, 31% of homebuyers who bought a million-dollar home in Eagle paid in cash. 

“They're pulling equity out of their places elsewhere, and bringing them here, and our prices still look pretty affordable to some. Obviously, to us locals, not so much,” Hughes said. He added that it is pushing up the home prices too. 

“That's a really interesting factor because they don't have to have an appraisal, they don't have to have the full underwriting. So values can climb quickly,” Hughes said. “And now, that becomes comparable for somebody else who's actually getting financing. So it's kind of like a vicious cycle to make prices go up quickly.” 

He added that the biggest factor behind the growth in Eagle is pure migration, more people moving into the gem state looking for a better quality of life. 

But why Eagle?

“You know, Eagle is a really cool spot,” Hughes said. “It's just a little quieter. It's just a little like, slower pace of life. The lots are typically a little bit bigger, and even from a developer's point of view, everything they do is so much harder as far as you have to go through so much more, so many more approvals. The open space requirement is bigger, what the city will allow is more stringent. So I think people are drawn to that.” 

The mayor of Eagle Jason Pierce agrees. 

“It's the open space, it's the people not living on top of each other, it's the space in between the houses, it’s the ponds, it's the greenbelt, it's our recreational opportunities with the foothills,” Mayor Pierce said. “we're not trying to create million-dollar homes, we're just creating a family atmosphere and a place where people want to live and that comes from what's available in our community and so people are going to pay more when they find a place where community hits home.” 

While Hughes does not have a crystal ball, based on what he's seeing, he anticipates the city of Eagle to continue to soar upwards. 

“Eagle has never really been on the map so much as it is now,” Hughes said. “It's just such a great place to live.”

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