Friday, January 11, 2008

Idahoans' Faith Boosts Home Values

Whenever Idahoans approve a new Mormon temple, the faithful seek to congregate nearby and that gives home values an extra boost.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - In Idaho, when they worship the ground they live on, falling home prices are history.

True story.

Call it the "Temple Effect."

In Twin Falls, Idaho, after they broke ground on a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vacant lots around the temple site doubled in value and demand for housing surged, according to the Twin Falls Planning and Zoning Commission.

The same thing happened further north, in Rexburg, where a temple dedication is due in February this year.

Wherever Idahoans approve a Latter-day Saints temple, the faithful grab land nearby and flock to the area to buy homes.

There's really nothing mysterious about it. What appears to be a heavenly hedge against falling home prices is simply a matter of supply and demand housing economics.

Just as some home buyers want to live near good schools, the faithful like to congregate near the limited number of Mormon temples. Unlike those who visit Mormon chapels in the 13-million member church, only Mormons in good standing with the church are allowed full access to a temple.

But only four of the 124 Mormon temples in the world are in Idaho. Two older temples are in Boise and Idaho Falls.

Idaho Falls, by the way, had the nation's sixth fastest appreciating housing market in the third quarter, according to a federal home price index. The state of Idaho itself ranked sixth in home price appreciation among all the states in the nation.

Realtors can't use temples as a selling point because of the Fair Housing Act, but motels and other developers can boast a "view of the temple."

A temple's soaring spires are architectural eye candy and the Mormon faith is a powerful draw in Idaho, but the "Temple Effect" doesn't get all of the credit for rising home prices in the Gem State.

Natural resources, a strong economy and job growth in major population centers also help boost home values.

See The Video: "The Temple Effect"

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© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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