Homes sales in Spokane County leveled off in April, and average and median prices slipped, possibly reflecting high unemployment in the area, the head of the Spokane Association of Realtors said Friday.
Rob Higgins said 329 properties sold, just three more than in March and substantially below the 445 of last April.
The average price was $197,339, off from $200,229 in March and $204,002 a year ago. The median price fell to $172,500 from $176,200 in March and $183,500 in April 2008.
Sales of new homes also declined.
Active listings increased to 2,997 from 2,687 in March, but down from the 3,218 last April.
Higgins said the price decreases may reflect purchases by first-time buyers seizing on the newly available $8,000 income tax credit. That activity should increase still more if the IRS signs off on a $25 million Washington program that will enable homebuyers to use the credit as part of their down payment, he said.
One-half of potential buyers do not have the down payment to get into the market, he said.
Higgins said that when he shared the Spokane numbers with a San Francisco software vendor Friday, his comment was the county looked good relative to the many other markets he has visited recently.
The major drag is layoffs, Higgins said. “We’ve got to get the employment market going.”