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Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County home sales post gain

A home is shown for sale in the Manito Park neighborhood Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A home is shown for sale in the Manito Park neighborhood Sunday, April 16, 2017. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Home sales registered their first year-over-year increase in September for the first time since 2018, as sales picked up toward the end of the prime buying season.

Home sales were up 7.4% compared to September 2018, according to data from the Spokane Association of Realtors.

More than 799 single-family homes and condominiums on less than 1 acre sold last month, up from 744 homes in September 2018, according to the Realtors association.

Inventory remained low in September, with 977 properties on the market, representing a 1.2 month supply. A healthy market typically contains a six-month supply of homes.

“The market has continued to get tighter and tighter as far as inventory,” said Rob Higgins, the Realtor group’s executive officer. “I think we’ll see that going into next year.”

The median closing price was up 13.8% in September at $267,500, compared to $235,000 in September 2018.

Although the median closing price in the county continues to increase because of a lack of supply and a persistent demand, it remains below the national median existing home price of $278,800, according to August data from the National Association of Realtors.

“Even though (Spokane County) prices have been going up significantly, we are still better than in many places around the country,” Higgins said.

The real estate market experienced a dramatic rise in sales during the first half of 2018 and began cooling off last fall. This year, the market has been a bit more stable, Higgins said.

“I think demand has remained strong, but we actually saw the market start slowing down because of inventory issues that carried over from last year,” Higgins said.

The Spokane County housing market remained brisk over the summer as buyers snapped up homes, but activity didn’t seem to be as pronounced as the year prior, said Chase Baxter, broker with John L. Scott Real Estate.

“From what I saw, it seems like a lot of houses I would go to last year would have lines out the door with people waiting to see them,” Baxter said. “This year, it didn’t happen as much. It seems like there was bit of a slowdown, but the percentage of homes selling is still a little bit high.”

As the fall gets underway, there’s a greater selection of homes than during the busy spring and summer seasons and fewer buyers in the market, making it an optimal time to shop for a home with less competition in the local market, according to a September housing report by John L. Scott Real Estate.

“Often in the fall, there’s a little bit of a price increase, but we haven’t really seen that this year, indicating now is still a really good time to look at buying a home,” Baxter said. “It’s going to be slow going into the winter for buyers if they wait until November, because there is going to be way less homes available.”

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