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Housing Scarce in Teton County Idaho

Housing scarce in Teton County, Idaho

TETON COUNTY, Idaho - Business is booming in Teton County Idaho and retailers are hiring, but employers are having a hard time filling positions.

In Driggs there are several help-wanted signs displayed in windows. Business owners said they want to hire people, but those people can't find housing.

Erika Earles has lived in Driggs for five years and works two jobs. She was just told she had to find a new place to live.

"My landlord wants to sell the place that I am living in and it is hard to find a single apartment in Teton Valley," Earles said.

The owner of Grand Valley Lodging, Liz Pitcher, said the average rent is about $800 a month.

"Availability is tight. We are at 100 percent occupancy since the beginning of the year," said Pitcher.

Regional economist Chris St. Jeor with the Idaho Department of Labor said the slowly improving economy and a better real estate market have to do with the high demand.

"The interest rate for a mortgage loan has decreased significantly, so we are starting to see a lot of people move into their own home instead of renting it out," he said.

But high demand means more money.

"Monthly rent is 20 percent higher than it is on the state level," St. Jeor said.

"Most of the places are three bedrooms for $1,000, which is double for one person," said Earles.

The price is something most people can't afford when the average salary for retail workers is less than $2,000 a month. St. Jeor said from 2013 to 2014, the retail sector in the county has grown 100.4 percent.

St. Jeor also said when the wages increase, the job shortage may even out.

The Idaho Department of Labor said 60 percent of the people who live in Teton County work outside the county. They go outside the county for higher-paying jobs and that is how most of them can afford housing in the county.

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