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Priciest homes? Think rural

Sat., Feb. 25, 2006

Looking for a top-dollar house? Get out of town.

An analysis of Spokane County Assessor’s data indicates that of the 10 most expensive homes in Spokane County, five are near Liberty Lake, three are in the Mead/Colbert area north of Spokane, one is in Spokane Valley and one between the Valley and the South Hill. All sit outside incorporated cities.

Assessment records show:

“ The two most expensive homes, assessed at roughly $2.4 million and $2.26 million, are perched on hillsides overlooking Liberty Lake from the east and west.

A residence near the fork in the road that takes drivers to Liberty Lake County Park ranks fifth on the list at about $1.85 million. Next is a wooded abode just east of the Liberty Lake city limits assessed at about $1.7 million.

A large house on Liberty Lake’s historic Wicomico Beach ranks ninth at about $1.4 million.

“ The county’s third most expensive home, at roughly $2.2 million, is in a pastoral expanse about a mile south of the Spokane Valley city limits. To the west, a residence on Tower Mountain between Spokane and Spokane Valley was assessed at more than $1.5 million.

“ The fourth, seventh and 10th most expensive homes sit on rural lots four to eight miles north of Spokane. They range in assessed value from $1.37 million to $1.9 million.

“ By contrast, a residence in Kootenai County on the Spokane River was recently assessed at about $12 million, said County Assessor Mike McDowell. Property values in Kootenai County have gone up about 27 percent in the last year, he said.

“ Home values across Spokane County have increased about 16 percent a year, Assessor Ralph Baker said.

Homes in outlying areas or with waterfront views are hot right now, he said. But with values going up all over, Baker said he was unsure whether the value of that type of property was increasing faster than others.

Appraisal supervisor Byron Hodgson offered a theory for why some outlying areas are worth so much.

“To get a big, sprawling house you’ve got to have space,” Hodgson said.

The assessor’s office estimates the value a property would fetch on the market. Because prices change daily, assessed values usually are lower than what a home would actually sell for. Also, the properties evaluated here include only single-family residential lots and exclude undivided land.


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