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Home sales stay up

Thu., Feb. 11, 2010

Area’s median price continues to slip

Home sales exceeded year-ago levels for the fourth consecutive month in January, but prices continued to weaken and inventory increased.

There were 177 closed sales for the month, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors. Only 121 homes sold in January 2009, when snow brought the market to a near standstill. In December, 346 homes sold.

The median price was $160,000 last month, down 8.6 percent from $175,000 in January 2009. The average price fell 14.7 percent to $175,605, from $205,845.

The number of homes on the market rose to 2,828, compared with 2,606 in December and 2,530 in January 2009.

Realtors’ Association President Rob Higgins said inventory typically jumps in January, by almost 1,300 homes in 2008, for example.

The real test for the market will come after the expiration of the first-time homebuyers’ tax credit on April 30, he said.

Meanwhile, a separate report from RealtyTrac Inc. shows the foreclosure rate in Spokane County remains low, at one home in 1,257. That’s one-third the national rate of one home in every 409 in foreclosure. The rate in Kootenai County is one home in 239, almost twice the national rate.

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