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Buying a Second Home in Idaho

by | Sep 4, 2020 | Discover Boise, Idaho Real Estate, Uncategorized

(UPDATED 5/1/2024) Idaho is home to some of the most scenic landscapes in the Northwest and after a vacation to one of its idyllic lakes or mountain towns, the fantasies of owning a second home in the Gem State begin. Here’s a look at some of the most popular vacation areas in Idaho and what to expect should you decide to buy a second home in Idaho.

McCall, Idaho. McCall, Idaho is a popular, bustling resort town located just a little over 100 miles or two hours North of Boise and is known for its pristine Payette Lake and Brundage Mountain resort making it a great destination all year long. Condos, cabins and beautiful estates line Payette Lake’s shores and the surrounding forest.

McCall was established as a resort town back in the early 1900s and has remained that way until today, however, it’s only in the past several years with the tremendous growth in Idaho that McCall has been put on the map. The real estate market in McCall is one of the most competitive markets for primary and secondary home buyers. The median price for a single-family home in Valley County which is home to McCall, Idaho is currently $850,000. For a town home or condo, the median price is $715,000. Homes in this area go quickly and it’s common for a home for sale to have multiple offers and disappear in a week once hitting the market.

Stanley, Idaho. Just 3 hours northeast of Boise, Stanley has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the area for primary and second homes. Located in central Idaho and surrounded by the Sawtooth, White Cloud, and Lost River ranges, Stanley is known for some of the best hiking, rock climbing, fishing and whitewater rafting in the US and is home to the breathtaking Redfish Lake.

Demand for homes are particularly high and often sell within days if not hours from hitting the market and it’s not unusual for homes to receive offers sight unseen. The area offers large adventure but is relatively small with minimal housing inventory.  One of the challenges of buying a home in Stanley is that many are sold directly from seller to buyer. In For Sale By Owner cases in this area being in the right place at the right time or knowing someone who has a home for sale is key to finding a home. Land sales have also increased in the area with 9 parcels sold on the MLS in the past 18 months. Yet, due to its size and the surrounding public lands Stanley will most likely never develop like McCall or Sun Valley, Idaho.  If you are looking to purchase land or a home in this area, give me a call and I can connect you with real estate professionals who know this area.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is located in northwest Idaho near the Washington State border. It’s known for water sports on Lake Coeur d’Alene, trails in the Canfield Mountains, and the surrounding 50 lakes. It boasts activities for all year round including snow mountain resorts.

Out-of-state buyers are fueling the real estate market in Coeur d’Alene. Many escaping the home price tags in their own states and desiring a piece of the outdoors are heading to this beautiful area. Once again the area has high demand for housing driving up prices. The average home price sale according to was $635,000 as of 5/1/2024. However, new developments are in the works and if you are willing to wait for a year buying a new home may be the answer. One of the biggest challenges to the area is that second-home buyers are competing against primary home buyers. The demand for homes has been increasing tremendously since the Spring and the inventory can’t keep up which will continue to drive up prices and create a seller’s market

If you’re still on the fence of whether buying a second home is right for you take a look at some of the pros and cons:

Pros. Buying a second home can be a great investment as these areas are popular destinations and are more likely to hold and even continue to increase in value. There is also the incentive for tax deductions. If you keep your second home unoccupied other than for your enjoyment and only rent it out for no more than two weeks per year then the interest on the mortgage and the property taxes are fully deductible from your gross income. Another option is to rent out your second home for income while you aren’t occupying it. Rental fees vary according to seasons and the popularity of the area. Typically, peak season weekly rental fees are usually equal to or greater than the property’s monthly mortgage payment, allowing you to break even with an annual occupancy of around 30% from a cash flow viewpoint.

Let’s face it owning a second home if you can afford it can be a great long-term investment and an opportunity to enjoy regular vacations in a familiar space without the stress of finding lodging while away. The advantages can go on and on depending on your situation, but as with any decision, it’s important to weigh the disadvantages before deciding to buy.

Cons. A second home mortgage typically requires a larger down payment of 20-30% and a higher interest rate and as with any home you own you are responsible for the maintenance. This means if you don’t live in the area hire a property management, or maintenance company to take care of any leaky faucets, burst pipes or any number of things that may need repair on your second home while you are not in town. Another important item to consider is that once you decide on a vacation home it can often lead to feeling married to that one vacation spot all year long, year after year. It can create a feeling of inflexibility and make you less likely to visit other beautiful areas during your vacation periods.

Here’s a great article full of pros, cons and next steps to purchasing a second home in Idaho: Pros/Cons of Buying a Second Home. In the meantime it’s free and fun to just check out some of the beautiful vacation homes for sale in lovely Idaho even if you never decide to purchase and owning that second home remains a fantasy.

Check out Idaho’s Vacation Homes in McCall, Idaho

Check out Idaho’s Vacation Homes in Sun Valley, Idaho

Check out Idaho’s Vacation Homes in Stanley, Idaho

Check out Idaho’s Vacation Homes in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Would you like to know more about the real estate market in Idaho? Please contact 208-509-9122 or for more information or to be connected to a real estate professional specializing in these specific areas.

Meet The Author

Jennifer Louis

Residential Real Estate Expert

Jennifer Louis, Boise Area Real Estate Expert is a relocation specialist for Boise and the Treasure Valley. Helping hundreds succeed in finding their perfect home while simultaneously assisting homeowners to prepare and sell their homes.

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