July 27, 2006 in Business

North Idaho home market eases slightly

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Buying a house in Kootenai County is getting easier.

More homes are for sale, according to recent statistics from the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service, and fewer buyers are competing for them.

A year ago, North Idaho’s real estate market was running at a frenzied pace. Many homes were snapped up the same day they went on the market. Sellers could choose from multiple offers.

Market dynamics now favor buyers.

The inventory of homes for sale has risen 125 percent since last summer. The number of sales, however, dropped by 27 percent during the first six months of the year.

Prices are the one anomaly in the numbers: They continue to climb.

The average sales price for a Kootenai County home was nearly $235,000 at the end of June, compared to $194,000 a year ago.

High-end home sales are the reason, according to Dan Flanagan, MLS president. That portion of the market continues to be strong, and it’s pushing up average sales prices, he said.

“It seems like people can still afford million-dollar homes and lakefront and riverfront,” Flanagan said. Those buyers “aren’t affected by rising interest rates.”

Other areas of the market are much softer. People looking for three-bedroom, two-bath family homes for less than $200,000, for instance, have much more to choose from.

Buyers aren’t competing with investors, who accounted for about 35 percent of Kootenai County’s real estate activity last year, Flanagan said.

“Obviously, the investors have backed way off,” he said.


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