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Sales, median home prices up

Inventory was reduced 8 percent in October

Median prices for Spokane County homes sold in October increased 3 percent over September, the first upturn since March, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The number of sales jumped 15 percent compared with September, and also was up 15 percent from October 2008, an association release said. The gains were aided in part by the first-time homebuyer tax credit of $8,000 that some lenders will credit toward the down payment.

Buyers snapped up 507 homes at an average price of $177,072, down 12 percent from the average price in October 2008. The September average was $179,636.

But the median price climbed to $164,900, up from September but off 7 percent from the prior year.

The number of new homes sold, 54, was an improvement on September’s 50 but still well below the 80 sold a year ago.

Through October, 3,831 homes sold, compared with 4,374 during the first 10 months of 2008.

The October sales helped reduce inventory 8 percent from September.

In a separate report released Thursday, real estate consultant First American CoreLogic projected that, using September as a base, home prices in Spokane County will decrease 2.65 percent over the next year.

CoreLogic also said home prices in Washington, excluding short sales and bank sales, had decreased 10.3 percent in the past 12 months, fifth worst among the 50 states. Another 3.8 percent drop is forecast for next year.

Idaho prices had fallen 10.9 percent, fourth worst, but a 2.6 percent rebound is forecast.