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Home Sales Off, But Market Improving

Sat., June 7, 1997

Spokane County home sales dropped 10 percent as compared with last year, but Realtors are seeing signs of improvement in the market.

Last month, sales on 409 homes closed, compared with 457 in May 1996. The dollar volume dropped from $52.6 million to $47.2 million, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.

Still, homes are selling faster than they did last year - average sale time in May 1997 was 75 days, compared with an 81-day average in May 1996. Also improved over last year are pending sales, those which have been agreed to by both parties but await appraisal, mortgage and title search approvals.

“The first three months of the year were slow, but starting in April, I saw a significant change in the market with things selling faster,” said Rick Shulman, an associate broker with John L. Scott. “I think we’re going to see a steady improvement and by the end of the year, we’ll surpass last year’s figures,” he said.

Shulman attributes the quickening of the market to pent-up demand. People who have waited through bad weather and possible interest rate fluctuations are now ready to buy, he said.

“They’ve waited three, four, five months,” Shulman said, “and now, they’re very, very active.” Greg Benner, president of the Realtors association, agreed. “If the present trend of increasing sales continues, we should make up the number of sales that were lost during the ice storm,” he said.

Of all the homes sold, 15 percent were new constructions. In the Valley and northwest section of the county, 16 percent of all homes sold were new.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Graphic: Homes sales

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