January 6, 1995 in Nation/World

Home Sales Increase 5.5% In Cda Area

Eric Torbenson Staff writer

Despite slower December home sales that mirrored a slowing trend in the second half of the year, 1994 Kootenai County home sales rose 5.5 percent over 1993 sales.

“It was a great year in 1994, and I fully expect we’ll have another great selling year for 1995,” said Allen Plahn, president of the Coeur d’Alene Board of Realtors. “Even though we tailed off a little bit toward the end of the year, I think the trend is stable and we’ll be able to sell some things here.”

The 1994 increase compares with just a 2 percent increase in 1993 sales vs. 1992. Plahn said he expected lower numbers considering that home sales had fallen off the 1993 pace around July. The increase also came despite sharply higher mortgage rates, which slowed home sales nationwide.

“Our good year this year still shows that this is a great place to live,” he said.

However, Kootenai County continues to become a more expensive place to live. The average price of homes sold continues its annual march upward, rising 9.7 percent in 1994. Home prices rose 6.1 percent in 1993.

For December 1994, sales fell 5 percent in the county, mostly because of slower home sales in Post Falls, according to the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service.

Thirty-four percent fewer homes sold in Post Falls last month compared with December 1993. That figure appears to be one of those one-time glitches that show up in these numbers, said Allen Plahn, president of the Coeur d’Alene Board of Realtors.

Plahn points to 28 percent higher home sales in Coeur d’Alene as a truer indication that the market still has strength. Home sales in Coeur d’Alene were also up significantly in November, and that could suggest sustained sales through the beginning of 1995, Plahn said.

One thing to look for in home sales for 1995 is the outcome of Micron Technology Inc.’s search for a site to build its $1.3 billion manufacturing plant.

“There’s a little bit of instability out there right now about the Micron thing,” he said.

Some homeowners are holding off putting their properties on the market because they feel they’ll be worth more if Micron decides to locate the plant and about 3,500 jobs in Kootenai County.

“It’s an awfully big variable out there,” Plahn said.

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