December 19, 1996

Real Estate Market Thaws In Wake Of Paralyzing Storm

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:housing

Home sales in south Spokane chilled down in November because of the paralyzing ice storm, but real estate experts said the market has picked up again.

Only 98 homes in the south and west parts of Spokane and Spokane County sold last month, compared with 120 in the same period in 1995. At least 15 of the homes were new.

The average price of the homes sold last month was $131,200 compared with a $125,200 in November 1995.

Countywide, the average home price so far this year at $113,799 is up about 2 percent over last year.

Only 33 homes sold countywide during the two-week period surrounding the ice storm, said Greg Benner, president-elect of the Spokane Association of Realtors.

“That hit us real hard,” said Benner, sales manager at Tomlinson Black South.

Since the cleanup and electrical repairs, real estate activity has picked up, he said.

“Sales are coming along real well,” Benner said. “It’s all a pretty good looking economy.”

But he said he doubts agents can make up for the lost sales during the storm’s aftermath.

Tom Crowley, current president of the association, said the weather stopped a lot of homebuyers from looking, so that could reduce the number of home closings in coming weeks.

At the same time, the weather may have created extra demand that will keep agents busy through early next year.

“I would say there is pent-up demand,” he said.

Don Walker, spokesman for the real estate association, said Spokane’s housing market still has a lot of good opportunities for cost-conscious buyers.

“There are some tremendous values,” he said.

The average sales time for homes on the market in the south part of the city and county was 102 days.

Mortgage rates have remained steady in the 7 percent to 7.5 percent range.

, DataTimes


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