Spokane County home sales picked up again in October, but median sale prices dipped for the third straight month.
The total number of new and existing homes sold came to 429, up from 385 in September and up more than 100 homes — almost 33 percent — from 323 in October 2011.
At the same time, the median sales price in October slipped again, to $160,794 from $165,000 in September, according to Rob Higgins of the Spokane Association of Realtors.
A number of reasons could explain the median price drop, he said, including the mid- to lower-range buyer gaining confidence. “That activity, at the lower range of prices, would drive the median down slightly,” Higgins said.
The October totals include sales of both new homes and existing homes, Higgins said.
For the first 10 months of the year, the numbers look much brighter, according to Higgins.
Sales of homes for the year are up 12 percent from the same 10 months of 2011. Median sale prices for the year are $159,900, up 3.2 percent from a year ago.
The number of homes on the market dropped in October to 2,491 properties, a decline of 7 percent.
“I’m impressed that the numbers are better than I expected,” he said. The numbers from the second half of 2011 were fairly strong, marking Spokane’s housing market’s first sustained climb after three rough years.
“I wasn’t sure we could exceed the second-half numbers from a year ago,” he added.
Higgins said the gains occurring in the market reflect improving confidence by consumers, combined with attractive interest rates.
Adding all home and condo sales, October’s total volume was $76.1 million; September was $69.3 million and October 2011 was $55.1 million, according to association figures.