The Kootenai County home sales market continues its decline from 1994’s record pace. Sales dropped 16 percent in June compared to last year.
At the halfway point of 1995, the market is off 15 percent. Realtors actually are welcoming what they consider a return to “sustainable growth” in the home market.
Home sales suffered somewhat from damp weather in June, but the numbers from the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service suggest continued strength in the two biggest sales areas of Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls.
Fewer sales in Kootenai County’s outlying areas and in the Dalton and Hayden Lake area accounted for more than half of June’s drop in sales compared to June 1994.
“Houses will sell right now that are priced correctly,” said Brad Jordan, owner of The Jordan Co./Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Service. “There are also some great buys existing out there, some in the upper end of the market.”
Home prices rebounded in June after falling below 1994’s average price in the spring. Homes sold for an average of 7 percent more in June than last year.
For the first half of the year, the average home prices rose about 1.6 percent from 1994’s record prices.
The slowdown of the market could have been more dramatic had interest rates not taken another turn downward.
“We were sitting around during the winter thinking about how we were going to sell homes at 11 percent interest rates,” Jordan said. “But now rates are around 7 percent, which, historically, is quite low.”
According to MLS data from the past five years, the next three months typically are the strongest sales months of the year. Low interest rates could help keep some of the market’s momentum.
“I think we’re going to continue to see sustainable growth,” Jordan said. “I don’t see us growing 20 percent again like it has in the past few years.”
The market continues to cluster around the middle-priced homes. More than half of the homes sold this year were priced between $70,000 and $124,999.
The volatile sales of homes with acreage and waterfront property fell off 19 percent. Although high-end homes aren’t selling quickly here, the numbers in this category don’t often reflect true trends in the market.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphics: Home Sales