Ever wondered why so many houses in the Boise area don't have basements? It's not to save money. In fact, there is a perfectly rational explanation.

In most places, basements are a no-brainer. They provide extra space, a cool escape from the summer heat, or a cozy den in the winter – what's not to love? But Idaho has a few geological quirks that make basements a rarity.

Why Don't Most Homes In Idaho Have Basements?

As you know, Idaho is no stranger to earthquakes. We've got the notorious Yellowstone Caldera not far away and the Sawtooth Fault that caused the 2020 earthquake near Stanley. Building a solid, earthquake-resistant basement isn't easy since our soil isn't always the most stable. That's why there are so many crawl spaces instead.

Idaho's water table can also be unpredictable. When we get our epic snowmelt in the spring, the water can start to rise, and if you've got a basement, it can become a swimming pool fast.

How Do Homebuilders Make Up For The Lack Of Basement Space In Idaho?

Since Idaho is blessed with so much land, it's easier to expand horizontally instead of vertically. Ranch-style homes take advantage of our vast landscapes and make up for our lack of "depth."

So, while basements might be missing, there are perfectly good reasons. Our quirky geology, seismic activity, and unpredictable water table have led us to be a bit more creative with our home designs. So, when you're wondering why you don't have a basement to store your ski gear or play some ping pong, remember – Idaho's unique characteristics keep us living out instead of down.

Are All Idaho Homes Missing Basements?

Some Boise area houses do have basements.  Cool ones!  Check these out.

This Truly Bizarre Boise Bench Home Has a Speakeasy Hidden In Its Basement

The house in question is located at 2679 W Palouse Street and will set you back a cool $650,000. At 3,613 square feet, it's actually a better value per square foot than the cheapest and much smaller home on the market in Boise. It was built in 1949, but very much feels like it's stuck the '70s.

Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart

Boise Home Bench With Basement Kitchen

  • 4 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • 2,300 sqft.
  • 0.27 acres
  • "Entertainer's Dream"

Gallery Credit: Kyle Matthews

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