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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County home sales soar

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Spokane County home sales continue to outpace last year’s record-setting rate as 618 homes changed hands in March, the Spokane Association of Realtors reported.

Sales rose 6 percent from the 582 homes sold in March of 2004, a slightly slower growth rate than the double-digit increases experienced in January and February.

However, closed sales are up 9 percent over the first quarter of last year and the average price is up 11 percent, at $147,971. The median sales price of $129,900 is a 9 percent increase over the first quarter of last year. And closed sales of new construction are up 15 percent over last year, the Realtors Association reported.

In addition, the total dollar volume produced by home sales has risen 21 percent from last year. By the end of the first quarter last year, $162.4 million worth of homes had been sold. This year, that number is $197 million.

Last year, home sales in Spokane County topped the $1 billion mark for the first time.

Average gasoline price up 6.3 cents to $2.28

U.S. gasoline prices again soared to a record last week, and average prices on the West Coast rose above the $2.50 a gallon mark, the federal Energy Information Administration said Monday.

The nationwide average price of regular gasoline rose 6.3 cents to a record $2.28 a gallon, according to the EIA, the statistics arm of the U.S. Department of Energy. Prices on the West Coast, typically the country’s highest, shot up by 13 cents to $2.52.

The gains came even as futures prices fell 11 percent in New York over the same period and followed an increase of 6.4 cents in the previous week.

Group wants tougher vehicle roof standards

A consumer group on Monday urged the government to strengthen its regulations involving vehicle roof design, asserting that tougher standards could prevent thousands of deaths and serious injuries.

Officials with Public Citizen said they were pessimistic that a proposed rule on roof strength, expected to be issued this summer by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, would adequately prevent serious injuries and fatalities.

United Airlines firm on planned pension cuts

United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton reiterated the carrier’s intent Monday to eliminate unionized employees’ current pension plans and replace existing labor contracts as necessary to obtain bankruptcy exit financing.

Escalating fuel prices have left the airline in no position to compromise on its cutback plans, Tilton said.

United, a unit of UAL Corp., also planned to make its position clear in a bankruptcy-court filing late Monday. The company said the filing would state its intent to replace existing pensions and tear up collective bargaining agreements with the mechanics’ and machinists’ unions if they don’t agree to permanent pay cuts and other concessions by a May 11 trial date.

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