As Spokane is gaining nationwide recognition for outdoor activities, affordability and Gonzaga basketball, homebuyers from other cities and states are taking notice.
The metro area is becoming a mecca for housing affordability, having attracted the most interest from out-of-area homebuyers in the third quarter of any of the 100 U.S. cities evaluated in a recent report by the website Realtor.com.
The largest share of potential buyers searching for homes in Spokane are from Seattle, Atlanta, Georgia, and Coeur d’Alene according to the report.
“We’ve been seeing a steady demand from outside buyers for a while now,” said Ken Sax, designated broker at Keller Williams Realty. “It seems like it might be at a certain peak right now, and that’s because of affordability. These major metro markets are just getting priced out of peoples’ reach and, not only that, it’s definitely a lifestyle choice.”
Realtor.com analyzed the nation’s 100 largest metro areas nationwide for cross-market demand, studied views of listings on its website and compared how many out-of-town buyers looked at homes in a particular city compared with the number of locals wanting to move somewhere else.
Almost half of home shoppers within those metros looked for properties outside of their region. Daytona Beach, Florida, and McAllen, Texas, trailed Spokane for the largest amount of out-of-market shoppers in the third quarter, according to the report.
Spokane’s placement at the top of Realtor.com’s list isn’t surprising, said Rob Higgins, executive director for the Spokane Association of Realtors.
“The Intermountain West is the next big growth area, and Spokane is at the top of that,” he said. “Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland have filled up, so to speak, and people are looking at ‘where do I go now?’ ”
John L. Scott Real Estate Broker Julie Cope said more than a third of her clients this year were out-of-town buyers from Western Washington, California and Texas.
“I hear often that they like the trees, the four seasons and the affordability – especially if they have property in a higher market,” she said.
Homebuyers were, on average, finding homes that were 21% less expensive in Spokane compared with the median listing price on properties in their metro areas, according to Realtor.com.
The median closing price in Spokane County in October was $265,000, compared to $240,000 in October 2018. However, the county’s median housing price remains below the national median single-family home price of $280,200.
Higgins said he’s proud of Spokane’s ranking as a top relocation market.
“I think Spokane is poised for growth and what we need to do, in my opinion, is make sure we manage that growth properly,” Higgins said. “There’s been a lot of work done over the years to make Spokane what it is. It’s a nice place to live, and we’re very fortunate.”
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.