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

Spokane County likely to see uptick in new home listings this summer, but prices expected to remain high

Spokane County had 188 homes available on the market last month, representing a 10-day supply.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

The summer homebuying season is expected to bring an uptick in new property listings in the Spokane area, but the increase in supply likely won’t be enough to meet ever-growing demand and surging prices, real estate experts say.

While new listings were up 14.3% with 781 properties hitting the market last month, compared to 683 new listings in April 2020, the number of available homes remains at a historic low.

“We are so short of product that 100 new listings when we are at 10 to 14 days inventory is still incredibly a deep sellers market,” said Ken Sax, managing broker for Professional Realty Services.

The county had 188 homes available on the market last month, representing a 10-day supply. That means it would take 10 days to sell all available properties in the county. For comparison, the county had an inventory of 602 homes in April 2020.

As the area’s housing supply remains tight, home prices continue a trend of double-digit increases year over year. Spokane County’s median home price soared to its highest level in history in April at $356,500, a 27.3% increase over $280,091 in April 2020, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The county’s real estate market remains competitive, but the number of multiple offers per property appears to be tapering off, especially for homes priced above $350,000, Sax said.

In the past several months, it was typical for a home to garner dozens of offers.

“We are seeing a lot of examples where there are two to three offers on some homes in the $400,000 to $500,000 range,” he said. “In the $300,000 to $325,000 range, I think buyers are going to see some of the same things – multiple offers, having to write aggressive offers and waiving contingencies.”

Spokane Association of Realtors President Eric Johnson expects Spokane’s housing market dynamics to persist through the summer.

The county’s median home price could continue to increase month to month, but it depends on interest rates and the level of demand spurred by in-migration to the area, he said.

“If we still can’t supply the marketplace with what we need, that price pressure is still going to be there,” Johnson said.

A national trend

Spokane isn’t alone in rapidly increasing home prices this year.

In data released Tuesday, the National Association of Realtors reported nearly every metro area nationwide recorded year-over-year price increases during the first quarter of 2021.

“Significant price increases throughout the country simply illustrate strong demand and record-low housing supply,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “The record-high home prices are happening across nearly all markets, big and small, even in those metros that have long been considered off-the-radar in prior years for many home seekers.”

The national median existing single-family sale price increased 16.2% to $319,200 during the first quarter, the greatest year-over-year increase since 1989, said Gay Cororaton, director of housing and commercial research for the National Association of Realtors.

While the median home price in Spokane has continued to increase because of demand outpacing the number of available homes, it remains below the median home price in several Western cities.

Boise’s median sales price increased 32.8% to $422,600, the greatest year-over-year increase of all West Coast cities during the first quarter. Seattle’s median price increased 17.9% to $653,400.

Spokane’s median rose 24% to $337,500 during the first quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2020, according to the NAR. It ranked 14th among metro areas nationwide in year-over-year price growth during the first quarter.

Spokane’s affordability compared to other West Coast cities continues to drive demand. In addition, companies relocating to the area in search of lower lease rates are bringing additional employment to the area, Cororaton said.

Cororaton anticipates prices will continue increasing nationwide this year. As COVID-19 vaccination rates increase, more sellers might feel comfortable putting their homes on the market and that could ease supply constraints, she said.

“Nationally, next year, we’ll see slower price growth,” Cororaton said. “But this year, we’ll still see very strong price growth, especially through the summer.”

This article was updated May 13 to reflect that Boise had the greatest median home price increase during the first quarter for cities on the West Coast.