Monday, September 14, 2020

Bonneville County takes lead in incidence of reported COVID-19 cases

Wanting to be number one is usually a worthy goal, but it looks like Bonneville County is on track to be Idaho's top COVID-19 hotspot this week. Cases reported to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The number of total cases reported since the end of March has climbed to 2,208. While still small compared to Ada (11,953) and Canyon (7,687), a few things ought to set off alarm bells.

Number one, Bonneville County's seven-day moving average incidence rate per 100,000 people is the highest in the state now save for rural Custer and Clark counties. It's at its highest level since mid-August, when it peaked at 40.7. The statewide rate stood at 12.4 on Sept. 13.

Likewise, the first day of this week saw Bonneville outpace Ada and Canyon in the number of new cases reported.

If you want to browse the numbers, they can be found here: https://public.tableau.com/profile/idaho.division.of.public.health#!/vizhome/DPHIdahoCOVID-19Dashboard/Home. Meantime, let's be careful out there, OK?

Idaho Falls home prices up sharply in 2020

After watching a mid-century home across the street from me sell in less than a week we thought it might be time to take a new look at the housing market in the greater Idaho Falls area. What the January-through-August numbers reveal is a market in which homes are selling in the roughly the same numbers and at a faster pace than either 2019 or 2018, and at significantly higher prices.

The median price for a home in this area jumped from $193,256 to $246,054, an increase of 27.3%. This is confirmed by a report on Zillow.com, from August, which calls the market temperature “very hot.”

“The median home value in Idaho Falls Metro is $247,983. Idaho Falls Metro home values have gone up 11.5% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 0.4% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Idaho Falls Metro is $119, which is lower than the Idaho average of $173. The median price of homes currently listed in Idaho Falls Metro is $260,000. The median rent price in Idaho Falls Metro is $1,200, which is lower than the Idaho median of $1,400.

Mortgage delinquency is the first step in the foreclosure process. This is when a homeowner fails to make a mortgage payment. The percent of delinquent mortgages in Idaho Falls Metro is 0.5%, which is lower than the national value of 1.1%.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

AmeriTitle names Jenny DeMott newest I.F. escrow officer


Jenny DeMott
AmeriTitle has named Jenny DeMott as the newest escrow officer in its Idaho Falls office.

The promotion comes after nearly one year in the title and escrow industry. In this role she is responsible for the closing of real estate transactions for buyers, sellers, and borrowers throughout Bonneville County.

DeMott is a southeast Idaho native who graduated from Bonneville High School. She spent 15 years in the dental industry before moving into real estate industry, earning her real estate license in 2018.

Her passion for helping people, love for the business and ability to adapt helped her quickly move into an escrow officer position, said Richard Hajek, AmeriTitle VP and state manager. When she isn’t working, she enjoys golfing with her husband, Ryan, boating with friends, traveling, and spending her lazy days with her stepkids and her dog, Brooks.  

“Jenny has a high level of integrity, a superior work ethic, and an attitude for service that makes her a great fit with our already outstanding Idaho Falls escrow team," Hajek said. "I am proud of how quickly she has transitioned and stepped up to take care of AmeriTitle clients.”

DeMott can be reached at AmeriTitle Idaho Falls, at Jenny.DeMott@AmeriTitle.com or 208-524-6600.

Bank of Idaho expands commercial lending division

Tony Vahsholtz

Bank of Idaho has expanded its commercial lending division, embracing the strengths of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

With an eye toward becoming the go-to SBA lender in Idaho, the bank is capitalizing upon its
comprehensive expertise in SBA lending by creating a cutting-edge, stand-alone SBA department headed by Tony Vahsholtz, formerly the vice-president and area commercial manager of the Boise Market.

"SBA lending has always been a passion of mine, and I've been doing it since 1998," Vahsholtz said. "Judging by current trends, I really think you'll see a lot of SBA lending done over the next two years. We want to be regarded as the experts in this market."

The shift creates advantages on multiple levels: clients will benefit from the enhanced focus of the new department; and the bank gains assurance because a larger portion of its small-business lending portfolio will be backed by the SBA.

Bank President and CEO Jeff Newgard said adding a specialized department was a boots-on-the-ground decision made after booking more than 1,000 PPP loans in a matter of weeks. "Our loan officers along with our small-business customers are really finding that the SBA is tailoring programs to provide a lifeline that's not available anywhere else. So it only makes sense to get that help to the small-business community as quickly and efficiently as possible."

For instance, the SBA has introduced a program in which they'll cover the first six payments of loans booked before the end of September. "That's huge. For larger loans, that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Vahsholtz said. "And I imagine they'll make new offers as well, as the recovery continues. We want to be there to make sure small businesses in Idaho are first in line."

Vahsholtz officially began in his new role Aug. 17. He relishes the unique opportunity. "Bank of Idaho expanded into the Boise market when I signed on, just over a year ago, and this is very similar. We start up, expand, find the right people, and book some loans,” he said. “We’re very adept at growing the bank by simply addressing our customers’ needs. It's great to work at a place that operates like that. "

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Idaho Falls Costco reveals opening numbers

For Labor Day, Costco is offering it signature 10 inch round cakes. Available in white or chocolate. Baked fresh in house and available at all Costco Bakery locations. Save $2 off at the bakery through Saturday, Sept. 6.

Costco opened its doors in Idaho Falls Aug. 14, and while the grand opening was expected to be busy, it ended up being more successful than managers had predicted.

Over the weekend, 1,300 people signed up for a new membership. Approximately 11,000 members came through the doors and sales were 20% higher than anticipated, Manager Greg Gillingham told the Post Register.

“I think the larger warehouse helped to spread members out in the store a bit more so it didn’t feel congested or have lines at checkout,” he said.

I still have the Kirkland pink Himalayan salt I bought at the Pocatello store in 2017, so I'm on the fence about joining, but it's my wife who will make that decision, I suspect. If you have joined, here are some links that might enhance your experience.

25 Best Kirkland Products You Should Buy at Costco (Kiplinger)

The Best Things to Buy At Costco, Because We Know Those Giant Aisles Can Be Overwhelming (Woman's Day)

The 10 Best Things We Bought at Costco in February (Kitchn)