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Number of Spokane County homes sold up 13 percent in 2012

Thu., Dec. 6, 2012, midnight

November sales of homes in Spokane County dropped from the month before, but average and median prices rose, leaving area real estate brokers still confident that housing continues to recover.

Rob Higgins, director of the Spokane Association of Realtors, said the big takeaway is this year’s nearly 13 percent gain in number of homes sold, compared with 2011.

“Last year we were looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. This year we’re out of the tunnel, breathing some air,” he said.

The total number of home sales in November was 381, compared with 429 in October. That’s an 11 percent drop.

“But inventory continues to trend downward,” Higgins said. There are 13.8 percent fewer homes on the market in Spokane County than there were one year ago, he noted.

Other key indicators include:

Prices: New and existing homes sold showed a 3.2 percent increase in average price over October; the median price rose 2 percent. November’s median price for all homes sold was $163,799.

New homes: So far in 2012, 462 new homes have sold. For the first 11 months of 2011, the number was 456. Higgins said new home activity only began to perk up in the second half of this year. Sixty new homes sold in November, compared with 46 in November 2011.

Foreclosures: The November total of foreclosure sales dipped compared to November 2011, Higgins said.

This November there were 35 distressed sales, compared with 36 in October and 63 in November 2011.

“It’s now been seven straight months that the percent of distressed sales (of the total sold) is less than 20 percent,” Higgins said. That’s helping existing home values start to come back up, he added.

Kootenai County: New and existing home sales are up 8 percent compared with one year ago, said Kim Cooper of the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors. Median sale price was $165,000, up 11 percent from a year ago.

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