July 17, 1997 in Nation/World

Home Sales Pace Accelerates A Bit Housing Market Warming Up After Slow Start

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane County home sales finally are gaining ground over last year.

Home sales in June outpaced those sold last June by about 8 percent, with 465 homes changing hands this June, compared to 430 last year.

Despite the strong showing in June, 1997 figures still lag behind those from last year by 128 homes, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

“It appears we may be slowly narrowing the gap in closed sales created with the unusually harsh weather earlier this year,” said Greg Benner, president of the Realtors association.

“We hope to gradually increase sales in this steady market to end the year somewhere near the sales totals of 1996, or better,” Benner said.

So far this year, 2,103 homes have been sold, as compared with 2,231 through June of last year. June is the first month this year to outperform last year.

Benner attributed the upswing in the market to good mortgage rates, a strong economy and a solid inventory of homes. Sunshine and higher temperatures also have brought buyers out, he said.

“The good weather we’ve had at times recently plus outstanding market factors … have fueled a pickup in sales,” Benner said. “This is definitely a good time to buy a home.”

It took about the same amount of time to sell a home last month, 76 days, as it did last June (75 days). The average price rose almost $5,000, from $115,107 last June to $120,591 last month.

Homes stayed on the market the longest in the Spokane Valley, where they took an average of 90 days to sell. However, the most new homes, 23 out of 127, were sold in the Valley.

The greatest number of homes was sold in the Northwest, where 142 homes were sold, staying on the market an average of 77 days.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Home sales


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