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Post-Recession Home Values Held Firm In Small Northwest Counties

Nick Bastian

Across the nation, home values plummeted after the U.S. housing bubble burst in 2008. But that was not the case in some of the less populous counties in the Northwest.

Many urban areas – including Seattle, Portland and Boise – saw home values drop by tens of thousands of dollars after the recession. But drive a few hours outside of the city, and you reach a place like Minidoka County, Idaho. A new Census Bureau analysis reveals there was no significant hit on property values here -- nor in most counties with a population of 20-65,000.

But that doesn't mean the area had a booming housing market.

“When they're talking stable, it means it's not dropping any more but it's also not rising very fast," says Rupert, Idaho Sheryl Koyle. "So it's just kind of status quo, if that makes sense.”

There were exceptions to the small-county rule. The median property value in Crook County, Ore., near once fast-growing Bend, took a bigger hit than King County, Wash. in terms of dollars.

But experts say most smaller counties never experienced the huge rise in housing prices in the first places -- and therefore, avoided the big drop.