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Spokane home sales up 25 percent, prices off 2.8 percent

Sales of existing homes in Spokane surged in the first three months of the year, while prices fell.

Sales were up 25 percent over the last quarter of 2011 and up 21.6 percent from the first quarter of 2011, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies at the University of Washington.

The county’s seasonally adjusted sales rate during the first quarter was 6,970 homes, meaning that if the sales rate for the quarter continued for a year, that number of homes would be sold in 2012.

Statewide, first-quarter sales were up 7.9 percent from the previous quarter, and 11.3 percent higher than a year ago.

The median sales price of homes in Spokane County was $158,100 in the first quarter, a decline of 2.8 percent over the same quarter a year ago.

Overall, sales returned to a level close to the average of the past 20 years, reflecting a return to the market by first-time and move-up buyers, and continued interest in distressed properties by investors, said Glenn Crellin, associate director for research at the center.

“The prevalence of distressed properties in some neighborhoods held prices back,” Crellin said.

In areas with more desirable properties, he said, prices are up because fewer distressed properties are holding the market back.

Here are year-over-year figures for other Inland Northwest counties:

• Adams: sales down 50 percent, prices up 3 percent.

• Ferry: sales up 30 percent, prices down 22 percent.

• Lincoln: sales up 6.7 percent, prices up 39 percent.

• Pend Oreille: sales up 29.4 percent, prices down 22 percent.

• Stevens: sales up 25.4 percent, prices down 22 percent.

• Whitman: sales up 48.6 percent, prices up 3.9 percent.

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