New Eagle development coming soon
By Brad Carlson Photo Jim Peterson
Jim and Jan Hunter founded Boise Hunter Homes in 2007, an Eagle-based, developer-builder catering to “move-up” homebuyers. BHH seeks to combine luxury, value, and active-lifestyle amenities at developments that recently include Sky Mesa in Meridian, Henry’s Fork in Eagle, Harris North and Harris Crossing within the master plan of Harris Ranch in east Boise, and Dry Creek Ranch – a master-planned community on Eagle’s east boundary. Eagle Magazine recently visited with owner Jim Hunter, co-owner Travis Hunter, and Dry Creek Ranch project manager and real estate director Adam Zaragoza.
EM: Who are your typical buyers, and what do they seek in a new home in terms of amenities and location?
Jim: We build second- and third-time, move-up housing. Our typical buyers are professional couples with families, or retirees who have moved here for the quality of life. Many of them are seeking an active lifestyle. They want communities that have amenities conducive to that active lifestyle. Our latest project, Dry Creek Ranch on Eagle’s east boundary, will have six-plus miles of internal trails that will connect all the way to Stack Rock to the northeast of us, and in turn to hundreds of miles of existing public-land trails. We connect on the southwest side to the Eagle Bike Park. Twenty-five percent of our buyers currently come from out-of-state, and they seek a higher quality of life compared to the areas they left.
EM: What trends do you see in the move-up market regarding the pace of sales?
Jim: Right now, the market is very strong in high-quality, move-up housing. And in many cases sales are only constrained by the subcontractor base, which is spread too thin. It is a question of getting the houses completed.
EM: What are your near-term plans for the 1,800-home Dry Creek Ranch? How will your process balance homebuyer demand with opponents’ concerns about potential environmental and traffic impacts?
Jim: When we acquired the property in 2016, Ada County’s approved master plan allowed for twice the density, at 3,500 homes. We cut the density in half, increased the open space by about four-fold, reduced traffic counts by almost 70 percent and reduced the commercial element by 90 percent. We feel that the revised plan fits the community better and honors the agricultural history of Dry Creek Ranch.
EM: What lessons have you learned about community and home design as the Boise area has grown over the years?
Jim: People here have active lifestyles and they like to have capacity in a house to have RV garages and toys. They like immediate access to places where they can get exercise.
Adam: One of the benefits of Dry Creek Ranch and its location is proximity to Idaho Highway 55, the major arterial to the Idaho West Central Mountains. In the Dry Creek community, you will have your community gardens, equestrian facilities and trails that adhere to the nature of the Dry Creek Valley.
EM: How do you feel about Eagle as a headquarters site and residential community going forward?
Travis: It really goes back to proximity to the active lifestyle. Boise Hunter Homes is based here because of that. Eagle is the center of demand for the lifestyle we enjoy and our buyers seek.
Adam: It is a central location to meet demand throughout the Treasure Valley.
EM: How has the competitive landscape changed since the recession?
Travis: Directly after the recession, many builders began working again where land speculators left off. Lot inventory was plentiful at a discounted rate. However, as the economy has recovered and building has ramped up, lots have become scarce. In turn, builders such as ourselves have collected our capital and put it back into the ground, playing the developer and the builder in order to keep up with demand the Valley.
EM: What’s new in-house at BHH? What are the company’s prospects long-term?
Travis: We have grown significantly in staff and our organization is healthy and growing, as many in the Valley are. Ultimately this is driven by market demands such as our opportunity at Dry Creek Ranch. Dry Creek is the largest master-planned community we have endeavored in the Treasure Valley. We look forward to the prospects it brings to our buyers as well as the local economy.