The Spokane County’s average home price showed little sign of slowing in May when it hit another all-time high – $ 375,000.
Last month’s median closing price was 29.5% above the median of $ 289,900 in May 2020, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors.
And real estate agents say the uptrend in property prices in the area is likely to continue as long as interest rates stay low and buyer demand continues to outpace housing supply.
“Personally, I think it will be tied to interest rates and events over the next six months,” said Rob Higgins, executive officer of the Spokane Association of Realtors. “If the demand continues, we’ll see these prices continue to rise.”
The Spokane area isn’t the only place where property prices are rising. It’s a national trend, said Higgins.
“I would never have predicted such prices in Spokane,” said Higgins. “But if you look at the national numbers for 150 different (metropolitan statistical areas), we are not outliers when it comes to percentage price increases.”
The nationwide average existing home price for all apartment types was $ 341,600 in April, up 19.1% from $ 286,800 in April 2020, with price increases in each region. It’s a record high, marking 110 consecutive months with year-over-year gains, according to the National Association of Realtors. May dates are not yet available.
Spokane County had 224 homes in the market last month, which is a 10-day listing. That means it would take 10 days to sell all of the available properties in the county. For comparison: In May 2020, the district had 631 apartments – an offer of 1.3 months – for sale.
In May, 686 single family homes and condos were sold on less than 1 acre, compared to 501 in May 2020.
That number reflects sales that went under contract in April. The surge in sales this year is likely because more sellers are offering homes with fewer coronavirus restrictions, Higgins said.
Spokane Valley has the highest home demand with 172 closed property sales year-to-date, followed by Northwest Spokane with 179 closed sales and South Hill with 157, said Eric Johnson, president of the Spokane Association of Realtors.
It is still possible for buyers to enter the Spokane market, especially if they have equity from a home sale for a new property, Johnson said.
A two-person household of $ 60,000 each could afford a $ 400,000 home on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, he said. The industry generally recommends that the buyer’s monthly mortgage should not exceed 30% of their gross income.
However, it could be a challenge for buyers to earn less.
“It becomes a burden for low-income people – there is no doubt about it,” he said. “Because the only way to get around that is to supply the market with (residential) units.”
Last month was one of the best on record for houses under contract in Spokane, according to a May report from John L. Scott Real Estate.
“The total number of listings counted in May was lower than we would normally see as the month starts on a Saturday and ends with a bank holiday weekend,” the report said. “The next three months will be crucial for home buyers as we see an increased level of new resale offers ahead of the fall market.”
One bright spot in Spokane’s fast-moving property market is the recent influx of new listings, said Tim Olsen, real estate agent at John L. Scott.
“We’re seeing more inventory hit the market early in June,” he said.
It’s typical for buyers to compete with up to a dozen other listings for homes priced below $ 350,000. That number dipped to around four to five listings around Memorial Day weekend as more people took to the streets for camping trips and outdoor activities, Olsen said.
“It’s one of those deals where the market is adjusting to the post-COVID environment, and part of the slowdown we’ve seen over the past few weeks is people wanting to have fun because (COVID- ) Restrictions are lifted. ” he said.
Olsen acknowledges that it is a difficult and frustrating real estate market, but advises buyers to be open to understanding market dynamics and to be flexible when buying a property.
“For first-time home buyers, I try to constantly encourage them to work with a lender right away to make sure they have their ducks in a row,” he said. “Let’s be honest – stress arises when you don’t know what’s going to happen.
“If you’re well prepared, it doesn’t get nearly as stressful to stay in the game and find a home in the long term.”