Building Report for Idaho—Residential and Commercial Construction Markets Continue To Grow
Statewide, construction in the Gem State over the last decade has been on a dramatic upswing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between
2010 and 2019, monthly figures for employment in the construction industry went from barely 30,000 employees to crest 48,000. Moreover, they continue
to increase into 2019 even as contractors step up their efforts to recruit still more skilled workers. Meanwhile, at 2.6 percent, Idaho has one
of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation  and ties with Nevada as the state with the fastest population growth.
Idaho’s economic growth isn’t expected to slacken anytime soon either thanks to sure and steady in-migration. According to Idaho’s own Department of Labor calculations, between 2015 and 2025, the state’s population increase will average triple that of the national rate. That means an annual rise of about 1.4 percent for a 10-year total of about 15.3 percent and an end population of nearly 2 million.
Looking deeper, the Department of Labor analysis indicates that more than a third of the incoming will be older adults and that most newcomers will be intent on living in urban areas with amenities. In fact, calculations project that over the decade, two-thirds of the growth will center in Ada and Canyon Counties to the south and Kootenai County to the north:
- Northern Idaho’s population will grow by about 14 percent.
- Eastern Idaho’s population will grow by nearly 17 percent.
- Southwestern Idaho’s population will grow by nearly 20 percent.
This growth not only supports future construction of every type but in fact makes it necessary, greatly needed and an excellent opportunity for smart investment. Viewing Idaho’s construction future through the lens of building permits offers promising and more comprehensive insight.
Permit Report for Idaho State
Year-to-date (YTD) Census Bureau statistics for residential building permits issued in Idaho were available up to October 2018, so we generated October YTD reports for 2017 and 2016 as well as 2013—a 5-year interval—for comparison.
- As of October 2018, a total 13,121 building permits had a valuation of nearly $2.5 billion. This was a 16.4-percent increase in number of permits over 2017’s YTD 11,266 and a 14.5-percent increase over 2017’s YTD valuation of a little over $2.1 billion.
- Compared to 2016 YTD figures, those 13,121 building permits represented a 30-percent increase in number of permits and a 32.7-percent increase in valuation.
- When compared to 2013 YTD figures—5 years previous—those 13,121 building permits represented a 76.8-percent increase in number of permits and a 78.8-percent increase in valuation.
- The bulk of permits issued were for single unit construction—10,050, which was a 62-percent increase compared to 2013 YTD figures. 2018’s YTD valuation at well over $2.1 billion also showed a nearly 69-percent increase over those 5 years.
- Over the 5 years, permits for buildings with five or more units more than doubled, going from 1,035 permits for 62 buildings in YTD 2013 to 2,580 permits for 157 buildings in YTD 2018—nearly a 150-percent increase in the number of permits with well over a 200-percent increase in valuation.
As a whole, Idaho’s construction and development industry is thriving and is consistent with those areas experiencing population growth—as a deeper dive down to some of our city and county levels demonstrates.
Permit Report for Twin Falls
The Twin Falls area has attracted attention because in 2018, it broke its own record for building permits issued. For the fiscal year, it issued 3,544 at a valuation of $140.8 million, which was a 36-percent increase over the previous year. It was also the most single-family homes permitted in 11 years along with a noteworthy 27 permits for four-unit buildings. For fiscal year 2018, Twin Falls categorized the 3,544 building permits issued in detail:
- 243 for new single-family homes,
- seven for duplexes,
- five for manufactured homes,
- 96 for residential additions or remodels,
- 47 for miscellaneous residential buildings,
- 59 for new commercial buildings,
- 87 for commercial additions or remodels,
- 122 for miscellaneous commercial work,
- 1,033 for electrical work,
- 938 for plumbing and
- 907 for mechanical work.
Fiscal year 2019 looks equally promising, with the last three months of 2018 accounting for another 167 building permits: 67 for new single-family homes, 19 for residential additions or remodels, 2 for manufactured homes, 10 for miscellaneous or accessory residential buildings, 5 for new commercial buildings, 17 for commercial additions or remodels, and another 47 for miscellaneous commercial work.
Permit Report for Cassia, Jerome and Minidoka Counties
Areas near Twin Falls continued to see sustained growth in 2018, particularly for single-family homes:
- Preliminary data up to October 2018 showed that Cassia County's 45 single-family home building permits were relatively in line with 2017’s complete year figures of 67 permits for single-family homes and 12 permits for buildings with three to four units.
- In Jerome County, Jerome issued 37 building permits for single-family homes, and Jerome’s unincorporated area was responsible for 38 single-family home building permits for a total of 75. This was a 25-percent increase.
- In Minidoka County, figures were not available for 2018. In 2017, however, the county accounted for 257 building permits—217 for single-family homes, 12 for duplexes and 28 for eight buildings with three to four units.
Permit Report for Bannock County
South of Idaho Falls, Bannock County’s growth was concentrated primarily in Pocatello, Chubbuck and Bannock’s unincorporated area. Over the course of 2018, 369 building permits were issued—a 65-percent increase over 2017’s figure of 223:
- Pocatello issued 230 of the permits, with 228 of them for single-family homes and two for buildings with three to four units.
- Chubbuck issued 103 permits, with 75 of them for single-family homes and 28 for buildings with three to four units.
- Bannock’s unincorporated area issued 36 building permits, all of them for single-family homes.
Permit Report for Bonneville County
With Idaho Falls hosting most of its development, Bonneville County’s preliminary data documented 713 building permits for single-family homes—a figure consistent with 707 in 2017:
- 264 in Bonneville County’s unincorporated areas,
- 250 in Idaho Falls,
- 188 in Ammon,
- nine in Swan Valley and
- two in Iona.
Permit Report for Boise—Ada, Canyon, Gem and Payette Counties
The Boise area has been a hotbed of development activity attracting national attention. Construction for both the residential and commercial markets has been thriving. Residential permitting provides insight into just how much populations are increasing and, in turn, the steadily growing opportunities for commercial ventures.
Ada County. Preliminary figures for building permits issued in 2018 in Ada County totaled 5,449 permits–with 4,086 for single-family homes, 14 for seven duplexes, 89 for 24 buildings with three to four units and 1,260 for 95 buildings with five or more units. Overall, this was an increase of about 9 percent over 2017’s comparable figures. Of particular interest, the number of single-family homes increased by about 12 percent, and the number of permits for structures with five or more units increased by 11 percent.
- Ada County's unincorporated area issued 439 permits—437 for single-family homes and two permits for a duplex.
- Boise City issued 1,040 total permits—761 for single-family homes, 12 for duplexes, 54 for buildings with three to four units and 213 for buildings with five or more units.
- Eagle issued 589 permits—574 for single-family homes and 15 for buildings with five or more units.
- Garden City issued 76 permits, all of them for single-family homes.
- Kuna issued 460 permits—437 for single-family homes and 23 for buildings with three to four units.
- Meridian issued 2,605 permits—1,561 for single-family homes, 12 for buildings with three to four units and 1,032 for buildings with five or more units.
- Star issued 240 permits, all of them for single-family homes.
Canyon County. Preliminary figures for building permits issued in 2018 in Canyon County totaled 1,822 permits—with 1,571 for
single-family homes, 22 for 11 duplexes, 116 for 29 buildings with three to four units and 113 for four buildings with five or more units. Compared
with 2017’s comparable figures, overall, this was an increase of nearly 19 percent, with permits for single-family homes increasing by 14 percent
while multifamily units increased dramatically. Permits issued for duplexes more than quintupled while permits for buildings with three to four
units went up more than 20 percent. Permits for structures with five units or more doubled.
- Caldwell issued 526 permits—446 for single-family homes and 80 for buildings with three to four units.
- Canyon County’s unincorporated area issued 292 permits, all for single-family homes.
- Melba issued one permit for a single-family home.
- Middleton issued 134 permits—130 for single-family homes and four for buildings with three to four units.
- Nampa issued 854 permits—687 for single-family homes, 22 for duplexes, 32 for buildings with three to four units and 113 for buildings with five or more units.
- Notus issued two permits for single-family homes.
- Parma issued three permits for single-family homes.
- Wilder issued 10 permits for single-family homes.
Gem County. Preliminary figures for building permits issued in 2018 in Gem County totaled 82 permits—with 74 for single-family
homes and eight for four duplexes. Compared with comparable 2017 figures, this represents a 34-percent increase particularly focused on single-family
- Emmett issued 24 permits—18 for single-family homes and six for three duplexes.
- Gem’s unincorporated area issued 58 permits—56 for single-family homes and two for one duplex.
Payette County. Preliminary figures for building permits issued in 2018 in Payette County totaled 37. Payette issued 33 permits for
single-family homes and four for two duplexes.
Permit Report for Kootenai County
Another prime area of continued and anticipated growth within Idaho comprises Kootenai County. Preliminary figures for building permits issued through October in 2018 in Kootenai County totaled 1,756—with 1,249 for single-family homes, 14 permits for seven duplexes, eight for structures with three to four units and 485 for structures with five or more units. Overall, this was nearly a 33-percent increase over comparable 2017 figures. Notably, single-family homes increased by 27 percent, and permits for structures of five or more units increased by 49 percent.
- Coeur d’Alene issued 622 permits—241 for single-family homes, 10 for five duplexes, eight for structures with three to four units and 363 for structures with five units or more.
- Hayden issued 133 permits, all of them for single-family homes.
- Kootenai’s unincorporated area was responsible for 431 permits—429 of those for single-family homes and two for a duplex.
- Post Falls issued 570 permits—446 for single-family homes, two for a duplex and 122 for structures with five or more units.
Construction Supplies and Building Materials in Idaho
As working families, young professionals and older retirees continue to move to Idaho as projected, the Gem State will likewise continue to prosper. The construction of new homes, additions, remodels, multifamily housing and all types of commercial ventures will total valuations in billions of dollars. It all adds up to ton upon ton of lumber, trusses and engineered wood building components as well as cement, insulation, wallboard and roofing materials just for starters.
For building contractors, Franklin Building Supply has everything you need and want not only for building stylish, strong and enduring exteriors but also for finishing homes with beautiful, comfortable and energy-efficient interiors. From windows and doors to trim, lighting, cabinetry and fencing, we can supply it all tailored to your building requirements, budget and schedule. Stop by one of our locations—you have 17 to choose from—and let our experienced building supply professionals show you how Franklin can make your job a whole lot easier all the way to 2025 and beyond.
 Idaho State Figures Set to October YTD units and valuation and calculated from https://www.census.gov/construction/bps/statemonthly.html