Spokane real estate affordability rebounding

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2010

Home sales up sharply over 2009’s numbers

Spokane homeowners can see hope out the front window and worry out the back, according to two new real estate reports.

A Washington Center for Real Estate Research market snapshot shows the number of homes sold during the first quarter increased 27.3 percent over the same period in 2009, but slipped 2 percent from the fourth quarter.

The median price, at $170,200, retreated 5.6 percent from a year ago.

But combine prices, low mortgage rates and steady incomes, and affordability has regained the levels of five years ago, before prices peaked, then fell.

Statewide, median prices have edged 3 percent lower in the last year, to $245,900. The number of homes sold jumped 36 percent compared with low 2009 sales.

Center Director Glenn Crellin said the effect of the income tax credits available to first-time buyers and those who had not owned a home in three years was difficult to determine, but he noted activity up to an April 30 deadline to qualify was more subdued than during the program’s first phase, which ended Nov. 30.

In a separate report, industry monitor CoreLogic said 7.1 percent of Spokane homeowners – almost 7,000 – owed more on their mortgage than their home was worth as of March 30, and another 5.7 percent had 5 percent equity or less.

Almost 16 percent of Washington homeowners, and 24 percent of Idaho and U.S. homeowners, were underwater.

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