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January homes sales up slightly from 2010

Spokane County home sales hit a seasonal low in January, but finished with slight increases in number and average price compared with a year ago.

The Spokane Association of Realtors reported 184 sales, up from 176 in January 2010. The average price was $178,903, compared with $175,382 last year.

The median price fell to $155,000 from $159,375.

Association President Rob Higgins noted this year’s sales increased despite the expiration in April of a first time homebuyer tax credit that provided an $8,000 incentive for purchasers.

There were 2,676 homes on the market on Feb. 4, a one-year supply based on the 224 pending sales at the end of January.

Bert Caldwell

Spokane County foreclosures increase

The foreclosure rate in Spokane County increased almost 60 percent in January compared with the same month in 2010, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

Lenders reclaimed 116 homes, and the owners of another 133 received a notice of trustee sale. One home in every 801 was subject to some kind of foreclosure action.

The national rate was one home in every 497, down 17 percent from a year ago, said RealtyTrac, which monitors foreclosure developments.

The rate for Washington climbed 43 percent to one home in 565, 12th highest among the states. 

The rate fell in Kootenai County, to one home in 331. Lenders took back 57 homes, the owners of 127 others received notices of default or trustee sale.

The rate for Idaho was one home in 241, fourth highest in the country. 

Bert Caldwell

Avista project earns LEED certification

The first phase of Avista’s multi-year plan to improve energy efficiency at its corporate headquarters has earned a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The plan includes using more natural light, renovating the 54-year-old heating and air conditioning system and replacing ceilings and windows. So far, the work has been completed on one floor.

When finished, renovations at the five-story building will reduce Avista’s energy costs by nearly $150,000 per year. The energy savings are enough to power 116 homes for a year and serve about 80 homes with natural gas.

The Spokane office of McKinstry designed and built the improvements and was a consultant for the LEED certification.

Becky Kramer