Located in Ada County, Boise is increasingly gaining more and more attention. After all, it boasts fantastic access to nature, a thriving coffee and beer scene, great schools and new real estate up for the grabs. But what does it take to move to “the city of trees”? Our relocation guide for moving to Boise should serve to help.
What Should I Know Before Moving To Boise?
Boise has always been one of those cities with a small-town feel, but its growth has started to sky-rocket in the last decade or so. Today, Boise is a mid-sized city getting larger and larger by the day. It has an estimated 2020 population of 234,576, and is the largest city in Idaho. It is currently growing at an annual rate of 1.25%, and spans over 85 miles. In terms of population density, Boise has a density of 2,803 people per square mile.
A spurt of new companies meant more employment, and new real estate projects ensured people were attracted to moving to the city. It was ranked the fastest-growing city in the United States in 2018 by Forbes. 2019 saw it getting ranked the best place to live for millennials, and also the best US city to buy a house. Wondering what fuels this growth?
For one, the ever-bustling Downtown Boise. Downtown Boise is as lively as ever, boasting a pleasant integration of trendiness with nature. It is filled with cafes and restaurants, and people strolling or biking around. The Boise river flows through, keeping pace with the people’s rhythm, and you can see rising foothills in the north. Surrounding the river is a 25-mile stretch of trails, lined by trees. This is known as the Greenbelt, and locals love coming here to get their fill of nature on a summer or spring day. The word “Boise” is French for ‘wooded’, and the city certainly lives up to its name and its nickname as the city of trees.
Boise also boasts fantastic accessibility to nature. For one, it is literally surrounded by snow capped mountains, and you can see them when driving around the city. Head to Bogus Basin to go skiing and snowboarding down the slopes. There’s also the option of getting a generous dose of thrill by visiting the foothills in the north to catch up on trekking and hiking. Kayaking, fishing, tubing and swimming on the Boise river are famous summertime activities that locals can’t really get enough of.
Add to this friendly locals, a laid-back vibe and a thriving coffee scene, and you begin to get the picture. Boise also retains some aspects of its small-town feel even though its growth is ever increasing. Part of this is the improved quality of life and lowered costs for people moving here from some of the big cities like New York City, San Francisco and San Jose.
Crime Rates In Boise
Crime is something that makes itself felt in every city of the United States, but its presence is a lot more aggressive in some cities than others. In order for you to get some perspective on crime rates in Boise, we’ve gathered together some statistics. The good news is that Boise, Idaho is quite the safe city to live in. For one, the violent crime rate per 1,000 residents is 2.78, distinctly lower than the national median of 4. The property crime rate per 1,000 residents is 20.22, which is again lower than the national median of 24. The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Boise is 1 in 43.
Boise, ID Weather
Boise experiences 4 distinct seasons, and though the weather is never extreme, you’ll still want a place with both, adequate heating and cooling. Boise sees around 220 days of sunshine, and receives an annual measure of around 12 inches of precipitation. Snow in Boise falls thinly and only lasts for a few days at a time. But a heavy snowfall can bring the city to a halt due to its rarity. Annual temperatures range from 24°F to 93°F and rarely fall below 10°F or rise above 101°F.
June to September sees the summer season in Boise, with temperatures reaching an average daily high above 82°F. July sees the mercury climb to its highest, reaching 93°F and dropping to 63°F at night. By mid-September, temperatures are dropping as Boise dons its fall avatar. The air is cool and crisp, people wear jackets and layer up when heading outside, especially at night. Temperatures reach lows of 41°F by October, and winter sets in by mid-November.
Temperatures during winter can drop to as low as 24ºF, met with overcast skies and light snowfall. Average daily highs rarely go above 47°F. This weather goes on until February, when temperatures start to rise again. By March, daily highs are around 55°F. However, sudden drops in temperature and snow flurries can make random appearances all the way until April.
How Expensive Is It To Live In Boise?
In case you didn’t already know, it is your budget that will eventually decide which city you will call home. From utility bills to taxes to monthly expenses, understanding your expenditures is an important aspect of any move. Read on for some statistics about Boise.
Cost Of Living In Boise Idaho
The cost of living in Boise is a pleasant 8% lower than the national average. A family of 4 living in their own home in Boise will have to spend around $2,863.59 a month on expenses, while a single person will spend around $814.55 on monthly expenses excluding housing.
Groceries cost 10% lower than the national average, so you can finally dump those cheap ready-to-eat meals and eat healthier. For instance, a loaf of bread in Boise costs $2.98, while a carton of eggs costs $1.62. A gallon of milk costs $1.74, and a bunch of bananas is $3.01.
Healthcare is the only thing that is higher than the national average, 3% to be exact, but the difference is minor. A visit to the doctor for you will cost $114.47, and for your furry friends will cost $48.07. Similarly, a dentist visit will be around $98.34.
Buying A House
Housing expenses in Boise are 12% lower than the national average. The typical home value in Boise is $391,754. This has grown 18.2% over the past year, and is predicted to rise by another 12.8% in the next year. On the other hand, the median home value is $305,013.
Renting A House
The average rent in Boise is $1,279 a month. A good 62% of the apartments here are rented out for between $1,000 and $1,500, and 18% rented for $1,500 and over. There’s also 19% that are rented in the range of $700 to $1000. Which means that finding budget-friendly apartments in Boise shouldn’t pose a massive challenge. Interestingly, 43% of the households in Boise are renter-occupied, showing that Boise is a rent-friendly city.
Utilities in Boise cost 14% lower than the national average. Your energy bill for a month will come to around $143.68, while your phone bill will be around $153.16. Gas sells at $2.81 per gallon. Your average water bill in Boise during the summer will be around $100 a month, while it can drop to as low as $30-$40 in the winter.
Boise Economy And Employment Opportunities
Wondering how much you’ll earn when living in Boise? Though this depends heavily on your job and salary, the average salary of residents in Boise is $63k. Manufacturing, food production, energy and outdoor recreation industries are some of the industries that have a strong presence in Boise. In addition to that, Idaho produces nearly one-third of the potatoes grown in the U.S. There are also companies with a major tech presence in Idaho, including Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and ON Semiconductor.
When it comes to occupations, some of the most popular occupations in Boise are that of a Software Engineer, Project Manager, and Mechanical Engineer. On an average, each of these pay between $39k and $110k per year. Some of the most popular employers in Boise are Micron Technology, Inc., Clearwater Analytics, St. Luke’s Health System and of course, HP Inc.
Parents in Boise have a range of choices when it comes to schools, as the city is home to 93 schools, of which 73 are public schools and 20 are private schools. It’s worth noting that schools in Boise spend an average fof $8,283 per student, a little less than the US average of $12,383. There are an average of 19 students per teacher. Parents can schedule a tour of any school they please through the Boise school district website.
Boise State University, The Boise Campus of Stevens-Henager College, and the College of Idaho are three among several colleges and Universities located in the city. If anything, these are some of the more renowned ones. 94.4% of the people in Boise are high school graduates, while only 40.9% went on to complete a 4 year degree.
Getting Around Boise
Figuring out how a city is placed in terms of transportation is more important than you think. From reducing or increasing your commute time to giving you the freedom to explore on weekends, a city’s public transportation and capacity for cars is a big factor for many when deciding where to move. The public transportation in Boise is kept going by Valley Regional Transit, the Regional Public Transportation Authority (RPTA) for Ada County.
Parking is ample in Boise, and traffic is bad, but not as bad as other cities its size. Apart from hailing a cab, you can also make use of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Boise Airport is 3 miles south of downtown Boise, and is an international airport.
ValleyRide bus service helps commuters get around Boise. There are 25 routes that run from Mondays through Fridays, and 8 that run on Saturdays. Do keep in mind that there are no services on Sundays. Most routes during the work week run from 5:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., and on Saturdays, most operate from 7:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.
An exception is route No. 9: it runs from downtown Boise to State Street and the Gary Lane shopping area at a frequency of 30 minutes. Its operating hours extend till 10 p.m. on weekdays and until 6:35 p.m. on Saturdays. A one-way bus fare costs $1.50.
A curb-to-curb service, ACCESS is a paratransit service for people who can’t access the ValleyRide buses because of a disability. It operates along the same timings as the buses. ACCESS fares are $3 per one-way trip for each passenger and for each guest. This way, everyone can make their way around Boise with ease. In addition, seniors over 65 and people with disabilities can take a free ride with SHIP transportation, available from Mondays to Fridays 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Boise also has a bike-sharing program called Boise GreenBike. There are about 125 bikes available for residents to rent. However, the program is currently in limbo and is non-operational. Valley Regional Transit hopes to revamp the program with 300 new electric bikes in its fleet.
Best Neighborhoods in Boise, Idaho
Your neighborhood is much more than just a place you commute to and from, and more than just where you live. Like people, neighborhoods have their own quirks and personalities, and finding a neighborhood that complements your lifestyle is extremely important to your happiness. Read on for some of the best neighborhoods in Boise.
1. North End
Beautiful homes, access to nature, perfect for families and retirees, North End is one of the top neighborhoods in Boise. There’s a range of architecture when it comes to homes, and for a little over a million, you can live in a stately mansion. The North End Neighborhood Association is the city’s oldest neighborhood association, advocating for historic preservation and running two popular homegrown events in Boise: Halloween on Harrison Boulevard and the Hyde Park Street Fair. The average apartment rent in North End is $1,352, and the typical home value is $586,969.
Nestled in the foothills in north Boise, Highlands has large lots and serene streets, giving residents unbeatable views of the city below. The schooling system is excellent, boasting some of the city’s highest-rated schools. Neighbors are all well-educated, heading to the golf course or community pool over the weekend and trekking up in the foothills when they please. The average home value is $757,048 and the average rent is $1,352.
3. Harrison Boulevard
Harrison Boulevard is one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Boise, boasting a mix of architectural styles and tree-lined streets. It truly is a boulevard, with lampstands at every intersection adding to the aesthetic appeal. Most of its homes were built between 1901 and 1942, and it was in fact the city’s first planned community. The average home rent in this neighborhood is $2,044, and the median house value is $780,410.
Is Boise A Good City To Live In?
The bad news? Boise’s public transit system could definitely use some improvement. As it currently stands, getting around Boise is quite difficult for someone who doesn’t own their own vehicle. The good news? Boise residents’ average commute time to work is just over 18 minutes, reasonably lower when compared to the US average of 26.4 minutes.
The city is not wide-spread, and you don’t have to bother about a long commute to reach your office as most are located within the city itself. The weather is felt enough to experience four distinct seasons, yet is not extreme in the least. You don’t have to worry about sweltering heat in summers, like in Austin, or snowy winters like in Chicago.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I retire to Boise, Idaho?
If you’re thinking about retiring soon, then Boise might be just the place for your dream getaway. The city landed at number seven on a list of best places to retire in 2019.
Does Boise have a homeless problem?
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Boise, ID, continues to decrease. There were 867 individuals recorded by social workers for this count back in 2016, which is a big difference from 552 today!
Why is Boise so expensive?
In the last few years, buyer demand for homes in Boise has remained high due to historically low mortgage rates and an increasing number of people who are able or willing to work remotely.
Why is the air quality in Boise so bad?
The air quality in Boise is so bad; it’s often ranked as one of the worst cities regarding pollution. Emissions from vehicles and industry are usually behind these poor conditions for several reasons: cars on eastern Oregon highways contribute their contribution; many fossil fuel-based industries can be found here too, like logging or mining operations which release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere when burning wood or coal respectively during production processes (or even just driving).
What is a good salary in Boise?
Boise has a median home value of $201,800, and the median household income is $44,832. Many variables affect an individual’s salary in any given place, such as cost of living and regional pay rates — but the average paycheck in Boise is listed at $43,975 annually.
We certainly think moving to Boise is a great idea, but the growth that Boise is experiencing has already started to take its toll in the form of increasing housing costs. As a result, we recommend making the move to Boise while the going is good and the homes are affordable. Make sure you find the best moving company to help with your move.