Home sales steady, but prices take dip

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.

The major drag is layoffs, Higgins said. “We’ve got to get the employment market going.”

Bert Caldwell

New York

Chrysler hurdle falls as court fight ends

The group of dissident Chrysler bond holders challenging Chrysler LLC’s government-backed restructuring plans said Friday it is dropping its court fight.

The dissolution of the group – at least on an official basis – clears away the largest obstacle standing in the way of Chrysler’s plans to sell the bulk of its assets to Italy’s Fiat Group SpA and could pave the way for the quick exit from bankruptcy protection that the automaker and the federal government desire.

Geoffrey Gwin, principal of the Group G Capital Partners LLC hedge funds, said that after weighing the obstacles ahead and along with the opposition they had faced before, the group’s five remaining members realized that they couldn’t mount an effective legal challenge.

Associated Press


Toyota loss worst in company history

Toyota Motor Corp., battered by plunging global sales, reported its worst annual loss since its 1937 founding – and forecast even more red ink in the year ahead.

The world’s largest carmaker said Friday its net loss for the January-March quarter was $7.7 billion – bigger than General Motors reported for the same period.

That brings Toyota’s fiscal year loss to a larger-than-expected $4.4 billion, a dramatic reversal from the record profit it earned the previous year.

Associated Press

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Where does the money go?

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