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Thu., Aug. 9, 2012, 3:07 p.m.

UW housing study shows single family homes are selling statewide

A week ago we tossed out some numbers on how the Spokane housing market is gaining steam. Notably, median sales of homes sold in Spokane County were at $170,000, the best since July 2010.

If you want a statewide perspective, we just found what you're looking for, the UW Runstad Center's overview of housing in Washington state.

That center collects data and slices it all sorts of ways. Here's how they look at Spokane County for the second quarter of 2012: 

                                                                    Spokane County

Single FH sales  % vs last quarter %     Vs. last year %

 5,860                 -15.9%                       6.7%       

Bldg permits   Median resale % change  H. Afford Index 

333 -20.1%    $168,100            4.1%              204.8                  

Sales, median home prices and affordability data for each of Washington's 39 counties are available at the Runstad Center's website.

The second quarter median sales price here is for existing homes and doesn't include new homes, which are typically selling higher than $170,000 in Spokane County.

The UW center takeaway: "The market is clearly stronger than a year ago, but it eased off a bit compared with the pace we saw in the first quarter," said Glenn Crellin, associate director of the center. "We always see actual sales numbers increase between the first and second quarter, but this year that increase was less than typical

The Housing Affordability Index is another metric the Runstad people keep track of. Spokane's is now 204.8, which is OK.

Here's Crellin's explanation on what the HAI demonstrates:

When the Housing Affordability Index is in excess of 100, it means that the median
income family has a higher income than the bare minimum required to afford the median price
home. At a level of 120, for example, it means that the median income household has 20
percent more income than the minimum required at that level of home prices. Conversely, when
the index is below 100, as it typically is for first-time buyers, it means that these families cannot to buy a median price home in that market.

To dive deeper, here's the text from a recent Runstad Center press release:

Washington state's housing market continued to improve during the second quarter of 2012 despite a slight drop in existing home sales, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.

Existing home sales during the second quarter of 2012 increased 10.4 percent compared with a year ago, however the seasonally adjusted annual rate dropped 2.6 percent from the first quarter.

As a result, the seasonally adjusted annual rate declined compared with what we were observing during the first quarter."

Evidence of the improvement, Crellin said, is seen in the $236,000 second quarter median sales price of homes statewide, which is a 4 percent increase over 2011. The median price in King County, meanwhile, surged 6.5 percent to $370,800, the highest median price in the state.

The number of homes on the market also declined and buyers looking to take advantage of low interest rates are bidding up the prices of move-in-ready homes, Crellin said. Distressed properties represented a smaller share of the total in the second quarter, also contributing to the price increase.

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.