SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Home prices in Spokane County continue to rise, even as fewer homes hit the market.
The new median home price in the county is now a record $400,000, according to the February Home Sales Report from Spokane Association of Realtors. The median price is up 23.1% compared to February 2021, when the median price for homes was $325,000.
While crossing the $400,000 mark is certainly noteworthy in this boomtown, it is not unexpected. Prices have been steadily increasing since 2011, and the median price in Spokane County has been hovering around the $400,000 level since last summer when the median price reached a previous high of $395,000 in July.
Tom Hormel, President-Elect of Washington Realtors warned the median price can be deceiving, depending on the inventory that closed in any given month.
"It's historic," Hormel said of the $400,000 mark. "But it's a view of the market in a one-month cycle."
The increase in the median price comes as overall sales have dropped. The Spokane Association of Realtors notes that sales were down 21% for single-family homes and condos in February 2022 over the previous February.
But again, those numbers don't tell the whole story. Spokane saw its third-highest sales year in 2021, according to Hormel. And new home construction was at the second-highest level in the past decade.
"Buyers are outpacing sellers," Hormel said. "As long as that keeps happening median sales will fluctuate and go up."
The market is especially brisk for homes listed below $300,000 according to Hormel, with those homes often selling fast and over list price. But for the most part, any home that is priced correctly is selling. The average home spends just four days on the market.
But not every home is selling. Hormel said some homes are sitting on the market for 45 to 60 days, usually because the seller got too aggressive with their pricing.
"Even in a crazy market, if you overprice, the market will reject it," Hormel said.
Still, Hormel expects prices will continue to rise, and the median price record will be broken by the end of the year.
For buyers, higher prices aren’t the only challenge they will face. The report shows new listings are down slightly from a year ago.
One bright spot, inventory is up significantly in the past year. The Spokane Association of Realtors reported 237 properties listed for sale, which is considered a 21-day supply. That’s up dramatically from last year when it was at just a 9-day supply. It should be noted, a healthy level is considered a 5-and-half month’s supply, so Spokane County is still far out from there.
March, April, and May are typically the hottest months for real estate in Spokane, so inventory should increase, but to see a healthier market, Hormel said more new homes are needed.
"We need cities and counties to relax rules about zoning to allow more housing to be built," he said.
Another big challenge for local buyers is people and money coming in from out of state.
The secret is out when it comes to how great it is to live in the Inland Northwest. It’s drawing people who grew up here to stay while attracting others who are new to the region with money to spend. It all adds up to a crowded field for buyers.
"When they see a $600,000 house, they sold their house for maybe $2.5 million in California. Now they're coming here,” Real Estate agent Perry Domini said of new buyers entering the market. “Well, $600,000 for an awesome house, that’s not a big deal for them."
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