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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Average housing prices in Spokane County drop $10,000 in July

This house at 608 E. 33rd Ave. on Spokane’s South Hill was on the maket in June 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Buying a home in Spokane County just got a little more affordable.

Average prices dropped about $10,000 between June and July – a cool-down that local Realtors attributed to discouraged buyers choosing to wait out the competitive market.

“When you have buyers loosing out on three to four homes, and having to fight in multiple situations, they’re getting exhausted and tapping out,” said Ken Sax, president of the Spokane Association of Realtors and designated broker at Keller Williams Realty.

He knows of one young couple – first-time buyers – who made bids on four homes this summer. Each of their offers was more than the asking price, but the couple was outbid each time. They decided to put their home search on hold and continue renting for the time being, Sax said.

Another client sold her home but also plans to rent until the market settles down, he said.

The average sales price for single-family homes and condos in Spokane County was $259,300 in July, down from $268,828 in June, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The median sales price was $235,000 in July, down from $246,250 in June.

Sax also attributed the drop in prices to overconfident sellers adjusting their expectations. Some sellers are finding they have to reduce their asking price to generate interest in the property, he said.

However, “it’s a hiccup, not a bubble bursting,” Sax said of July’s lower prices. “Sellers are being more reasonable and sensible, and buyers will come back into the market when they’ve healed from their wounds.”

In recent weeks, the Seattle area’s super hot housing market has received attention for an apparent slowdown. The number of homes for sale in King County jumped 44 percent in July compared to a year ago, The Seattle Times reported. The county’s median home price of $699,000 was down $27,000 from record highs earlier in the year.

“I’m going to say it could have a ripple impact on the local market,” Sax said of the Seattle real estate slowdown. But real estate is like weather – it’s extremely local, he said.

While inventories of homes for sale in Seattle increased in July, Spokane County’s inventory was down 26 percent during the month compared to a year ago. About 1,466 homes were for sale in the county in July.

Despite the drop in inventory, local home sales were up 10.2 percent in July compared to a year ago. A total of 896 homes sold in Spokane County during the month, compared to 813 homes in July 2017.

Sax called July’s drop in local housing prices “a slight shift toward a buyer’s market. It’s a healthy direction to go,” he said.

When the market is so competitive, buyers are forced into overpaying for houses. Some prospective buyers drop out of the market, Sax said, and others end up with higher mortgage payments.