Nation/World


Spokane Ranked Among Top Five Housing Markets

FRIDAY, FEB. 10, 1995

Rising mortgage rates curbed demand for existing homes last year and sharply trimmed increases in housing values, a real estate trade group reported Thursday.

But Spokane, with a 9.8 percent jump in median price, climbed back into the ranks of the top five housing markets in the nation despite a slowdown in sales.

The National Association of Realtors said only 80 of the 133 metropolitan areas in its survey posted gains in median home prices in the fourth quarter, compared with the final three months of 1993.

And in most of these, the appreciation ranged from 0.1 percent to 6 percent, compared with typical increases of between 5 percent and 10 percent two years earlier.

The median is the midpoint, meaning half of the homes cost more and half cost less.

The Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina was the nation’s strongest market, with values shooting up 14.7 percent to $124,500.

The increase in Spokane brought the median price to $97,300.

The city has consistently placed among the nation’s best housing markets since 1991, when it finished first for the year with a 15.3 percent increase. Median price then: $64,000.

Nationally, the price of an existing home in the final three months of 1994 was $107,900, just 0.8 percent above the same period a year earlier. Prices ranged from $357,000 in Honolulu to $55,000 in Waterloo, Iowa.

“Higher rates are shaking up the market,” said Edmund G. Woods Jr., president of the real estate group. “As more people are shut out and demand tapers off, prices tend to either stall or rise more slowly.”

Indeed, the group said, demand slackened throughout most of the nation as mortgage rates climbed throughout the year. Sales fell in each of the four regions.

According to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 30-year, fixed-rate conventional mortgages averaged 9.1 percent during the OctoberDecember quarter, compared with 7.64 percent in the same period of 1993.

Sales of existing single-family homes, town houses, apartment condominiums and cooperatives fell 6.7 percent at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, to 4.31 million from 4.62 million a year earlier.

Only four states - Delaware, Michigan, Arizona and Minnesota - recorded gains. Sales were unchanged in Florida and figures were not available for Alaska and Georgia.

Sales plunged at double-digit rates in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including drops of 22.8 percent in Vermont and 22.3 percent in Maryland.

But despite the sales declines, a few areas, including the West and Midwest, bucked the trend of slower appreciation.

Median prices in the Midwest jumped 2.1 percent to $87,200 and were up 0.6 percent in the West, to $143,400.

MEMO: This graphic ran with story: STILL RISING, BUT SLOWER The median price for a Spokane area home continued to rise in 1994. The 9.8 percent increase ranked the area fifth in the United States in housing appreciation.

United States Percent Median City +/- Price Raleigh, N.C. +14.7 $124,500 Salt Lake City +14.6 $102,200 Albuquerque, N.M. +11.3 $114,500 Colorado Springs +10.8 $105,500 Spokane +9.8 $97,300

Northwest* Percent Median City +/- Price Portland +9.5 $120,000 Eugene +9.0 $96,700 Boise +6.0 $101,000 Tacoma +4.6 $119,400 Seattle +2.8 $156,400 Tri-Cities -0.6 $108,100 *other than Spokane Source: National Association of Realtors Staff graphic: Vince Grippi

This graphic ran with story: STILL RISING, BUT SLOWER The median price for a Spokane area home continued to rise in 1994. The 9.8 percent increase ranked the area fifth in the United States in housing appreciation.

United States Percent Median City +/- Price Raleigh, N.C. +14.7 $124,500 Salt Lake City +14.6 $102,200 Albuquerque, N.M. +11.3 $114,500 Colorado Springs +10.8 $105,500 Spokane +9.8 $97,300

Northwest* Percent Median City +/- Price Portland +9.5 $120,000 Eugene +9.0 $96,700 Boise +6.0 $101,000 Tacoma +4.6 $119,400 Seattle +2.8 $156,400 Tri-Cities -0.6 $108,100 *other than Spokane Source: National Association of Realtors Staff graphic: Vince Grippi



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