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Home sales down 22 percent in 2008

Attracting buyers was more difficult last year for Kootenai County residents who had their homes for sale.

The number of homes sold in the county fell by 22 percent in 2008, according to the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service. The service reported 1,492 home sales last year, compared to 1,918 in 2007.

Home prices, however, experienced modest drops compared to other parts of the country.

The average sales price for a home in Kootenai County was $225,114 last year, a 6 percent decline from 2007.

The median price was $192,000, a 5 percent drop from 2007. Median price means half the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

New construction represented 25 percent of home sales in the county in 2008.

Median sales prices, by community, were $195,000 in Coeur d’Alene/Dalton; $180,736 in Post Falls; $225,622 in Hayden; and $178,000 in Rathdrum/Twin Lakes.

Spokane Valley

Key Tronic reports slight profit in Q2

Despite a worsening economy, business from new customers helped Key Tronic report a small second quarter profit, the Spokane Valley-based contract manufacturer reported Thursday.

Key Tronic reported total income of $100,000, compared to $1.6 million in the same period of fiscal 2008.

That translates to a second quarter earning of 1 cent per share compared with 16 cents per share from the second quarter of fiscal 2008, the company reported in a quarterly statement.

Total revenue for the first six months of fiscal 2009 came in at $95.2 million, compared to $95.4 million in the same period of fiscal 2008.

Company CEO Jack Oehlke said the quarter was in line with forecasts. “While the global economic situation continues to create slowdowns among some of our existing programs, we saw an increased revenue contribution from new customer programs,” he said in an earnings release.


Exxon Mobil breaks profit record

Exxon Mobil Corp. on Friday reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago.

The previous record for annual profit was $40.6 billion, which the world’s largest publicly traded oil company set in 2007.

The extraordinary full-year profit wasn’t a surprise given crude’s triple-digit price for much of 2008, peaking near an unheard of $150 a barrel in July. Since then, however, prices have fallen roughly 70 percent amid a deepening global economic crisis.

Irving, Texas-based Exxon said net income slid sharply to $7.8 billion, or $1.55 a share, in the October-December period. That compared with $11.7 billion, or $2.13 a share, in the same period a year ago, when Exxon set a U.S. record for quarterly profit. It has since topped that mark twice, first in last year’s second quarter and then with earnings of $14.83 billion in the third quarter.

Revenue in the most recent quarter fell 27 percent to $84.7 billion.


Boeing resumes 787 production

Production of Boeing’s new 787 jetliner has resumed in Everett.

Workers on Thursday finished joining the fuselage and wings for the fifth 787, the hot-selling but long-delayed aircraft built for fuel efficiency with carbon composite parts. The plane, along with five other 787s, will be used for testing.

In all, 30 787s are in production at this time. Boeing has orders for 895 of the planes from 58 airlines.


Feds delay deadline for U.S. toy makers

U.S. makers of toys and other children’s products will get an extra year to comply with certain lead and chemical testing rules, but retailers won’t be able to sell the items if they fail to meet government regulations set to go into effect Feb. 10.

The deadline was set when Congress last summer imposed the toughest lead standards in the world in passing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The measure bans lead beyond minute levels in products for children 12 or younger.

On Friday, members of the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted unanimously to push back by one year the Feb. 10 deadline for manufacturers to begin certain testing for lead and other harmful substances before their products hit the market.


Southwest reaches contract deals

Southwest Airlines Co. said Friday it agreed to boost pay for its pilots, and the carrier’s mechanics ratified a new contract that includes 3 percent annual raises plus bonuses.

Details of the tentative agreement with the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association were not released, but the company said the deal includes raises and increased retirement benefits.

The contract would be retroactive to 2006, when negotiations began, and run through August 2011. It still faces votes by the union board and membership.

Pilots union spokesman Neal Hanks said there is “always give and take” in negotiations, and the company got some scheduling changes it wanted.

Meanwhile, Southwest’s mechanics approved a four-year contract that calls for raises of 3 percent each in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and 1 percent in 2012.

Southwest shares fell 22 cents, or 3 percent, to close at $7.03 after sinking to a 52-week low of $6.97 earlier Friday.

From staff and wire reports