By Emily Todd
Not only has COVID-19 taken a lot away from us these past few years, but it has also made life difficult. It has had an impact on everyone and everything. Now that the pandemic is slowing down, we can focus on our own personal recovery. The layers in this recovery will be the greatest challenge as many seek a return to “normal.”
The financial recovery for families is paramount. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the housing prices have been increasing at record rates. If the housing prices keep going up, it’s going to be difficult for the average person to find homes and afford them.
Housing prices in Spokane, Washington, are still going up. Even though the statistics are not as high as 2021, they are still at a dangerous (level) for those seeking a home. When the demand for housing is high and supplies are low, home prices often rise, which makes it hard for people to find and buy home.
For example, according to a Spokesman-Review report, “[the] housing prices were up to 23.3% last year.” Yes, costs have been skyrocketing. The inventory is very tight, and the country has not built enough houses. It’s affecting locals’ ability to purchase a home. Real estate agent Tim Todd stated that “the growth rate [in Spokane] is at 16.4%.”
Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University researchers recently released a list of the nation’s top 100 most overpriced housing markets. The report shows that “Spokane came in sixth place, with home prices more than 45% above the expected value based on historical pricing data.”
In addition, The Spokesman-Review reported that, “Spokane has already decided to use more than 10% of its money to address the housing crisis.” Spokane County has also “set aside $4.5 million for affordable housing,” according to The Spokesman-Review report. Previous City Council President Ben Stuckart offers another solution: “build more housing downtown and have about 5,000 to 10,000 more people live downtown if apartments are built in the vacant parking lots.”
As much as I would love to see the housing prices go down, I see why investors, real estate agents, and residents want them to stay up. “The reason is because, if you bought a house for a certain amount of money and it goes up 10% each year you would have $20,000 in appreciation, so in a few years that number increases. If you have rentals and you bought the house years ago your payment would have stayed what you paid before. The rental price would go up about $400 per month making you around $3,600-6,000 a year in income,” expressed Todd.
In addition, real estate agent Todd identified the effects on a community when the market crashes like it did in 2008: “Everyday homeowners did not have enough equity to sell their house and break even, so they ended up renting them out. Then after a few years the rental market took off because nobody was buying or selling. So, then renters started making more money than normal, making people not wanting to sell their houses.”
Even though COVID-19 has made these past years difficult, especially on homebuyers, Spokane has learned some valuable lessons from it. I hope that what we have learned stabilizes future housing prices, allowing Spokane residents a place to call home.