May 7, 2013 in Business

Home sales pick up

New housing leads way with 76 percent increase
By The Spokesman-Review
 
More homes sold

337: Number of homes sold

in April 2012

442: Number of homes sold

in April 2013

New home construction continues to lift the Spokane County housing market.

There were 218 new homes built and sold during the first four months of 2013. That’s 100 more than during the same span of months last year – a 76 percent increase, said Rob Higgins of the Spokane Realtors Association.

The association reports 442 homes of all kinds were sold in April. That compares with 337 sold in April 2012, Higgins noted.

The totals for new home sales only include spec-built homes, not new homes built by residents who purchased a parcel of land and hired an architect and a building contractor, Higgins said. That subgroup, however, is likely less than three or four sales per month, he said.

The 2013 surge in new homes may be related to continued low interest rates along with buyers unable to find what they want from the homes listed for sale, Higgins said.

“So they see that building new is an option for them, and they can afford to build a new home instead of an existing home,” he said.

The uptick in the economy has led to more home listings. In April there were 2,528 homes for sale, compared with 2,310 in March. Yet April’s inventory is down 3.2 percent from a year ago, when foreclosed properties were in large supply, Higgins said.

The median home sale price in Spokane in April was $160,149. In March that number was $157,950.

Higgins said local real estate workers are starting to think ahead to the time when home sales hit 5,500 per year. “That’s where we were in 2004 and 2005,” Higgins said. “That’s a sustainable number for Spokane,” he said.

But getting to that level is not imminent, said Higgins, who estimated Spokane won’t hit that mark until 2015.

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