Rexburg, Idaho has grown over 60 percent since 2000, increasing its population from 17,000 to just over 30,000 in 12 years.
Madison County in general has grown by almost 9,000 people just since 2002, and a quarter of that growth occurred between 2003 and 2004. As of 2014, Madison County was the fourth-fastest growing county in Idaho.
Why has Rexburg grown so much and so quickly? While many factors play a role in the area’s expansion, the Brigham Young University campus located there (BYU-Idaho) can take a large chunk of the credit. Significant expansion began in 2004 after the existing Ricks College was converted into a four-year university. Enrollment has steadily increased, and BYU-Idaho plans to expand its student population through the end of this year. Currently, Rexburg has the lowest median age (23.3) in the nation as a direct result of its student population. BYU-Idaho is the major employer in Rexburg since many residents work for the university. As the arriving students obtain jobs, invest in housing and food, and participate in local recreation, the community experiences significant economic growth.
Not all of Rexburg’s population growth and economic development can be attributed to the local university, but it has had a huge impact on the city dynamic and business environment. As BYU-Idaho brings in more students, it will continue to create jobs and boost the local economy.
The housing market made steady progress toward full recovery as housing prices increased 1.0 percent in Idaho and 1.7 percent nationally from May to June according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index. This represents a 4.2-percent increase compared to June 2014 for Idaho and a 6.5-percent 12-month increase for home prices nationally. In Idaho, home prices are 13.5 percent below their May 2007 peak, while home prices across the country are 7.4 percent below their pre-recession high.
Construction of new homes in the U.S. increased by 9.8 percent in June according to a report by the Commerce Department. This rise was driven by construction of multifamily housing units, such as apartment buildings. The dramatic increase in apartment building construction reflects a changing housing environment wherein more people are looking to rent and live in urban environments. While new construction of single-family units was down slightly from May, numbers of new permits rose 30 percent compared to June 2014.