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Not too long ago, Jobs Plus used a three-pronged approach for pitching Kootenai County's merits to companies contemplating moving here: Quality of life, available workers and affordable housing. North Idaho's pine-covered hills and deep-water lakes haven't changed, but the labor market and housing prices have. With unemployment rates at a record-low 2.5 percent and $130,000 homes a distant memory, the area is less attractive to firms thinking of moving to the area.
Two nonprofits seeking to find affordable housing for their clients have turned into the agencies displacing them from two buildings. And owners of another low-income housing complex in downtown Spokane, who hope to create affordable condominiums, might be making the units too expensive for the building's current tenants.
I'm confused. Tomorrow, there's a landlord- tenant housing fair set up at the Music City Annex Building on West First Avenue, in an attempt to help the tenants being evicted from the New Madison Apartments.
Spokane is among a few metropolitan areas being profiled in the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's quarterly report. The U.S. Housing Market Conditions report will feature profiles of cities representing 10 regions throughout the country.
The women of Steel House are losing their home. But they're doing everything they can to preserve the spirit and habits of the house on the University of Idaho campus – the nation's oldest on-campus women's cooperative dormitory. Since the UI announced two weeks ago that it was closing the house, the residents have demonstrated on campus, met with top UI officials and come up with a possible arrangement to lease another house.
Home sales in Spokane County leapt almost 20 percent last month, compared with February 1997. But the number of sales in February 1997 wasn't hard to beat. Sales that month had declined 19 percent over February 1996. Some 274 home sales closed last month, compared with 229 the year before, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. February sales are representative of activity in December and January.
Fewer Valley homes sold last month than in January of 1997 and prices were down compared to a year ago. Fifty-eight homes sold in the Valley during January, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors, compared to 75 a year earlier - a drop of about 23 percent. However, the Valley still led the Spokane area marketplace in the number of new homes sold last month, with 14.
Middle-class Americans are seeing the value of their most important investment - their homes - increase at the fastest rate in six years. Cities in the South and Midwest dominated the list of big gains in 1997. The largest increase for existing homes, from the fourth quarter of 1996 to the fourth quarter of 1997, came in Charleston, S.C., the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
Home sales in Spokane County dropped slightly in January, compared with the same month a year ago, but Realtors are optimistic about sales this spring. About 5 percent fewer homes changed hands last month, at 224, compared with 237 in January 1997, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. January's closings reflect buying activity in November and December.
In 1978, a housing program was started for low-income retirees. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provided rent subsidies for qualifying tenants and families under contracts with apartment owners for as long as 20 years.
The Valley led the Spokane area last year in the number of new homes sold. In 1997, 301 new homes were sold in the Valley. That compares with 181 new homes sold in northwest Spokane, 158 on the South Hill and 64 in northeast Spokane. Continued suburban growth in Liberty Lake and elsewhere helped the Valley lead the way.
Valley home sales cooled 10 percent last month compared to November of last year, when an ice storm put a freeze on the residential real estate market. Total volume for the Valley was also down in November. Sales totaled $11.8 million last month compared to $14.2 million one year earlier. However, real estate analysts say that's just a dip in the road.
Spokane County's housing market is holding steady as October turned in a strong performance. October home sales outpaced the same month last year by 26 homes, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors' Multiple Listing Service. "We're pretty much on track here to do similar numbers as we did last year," said Bruce Hardie of Coldwell Banker Grand. "If this mild weather continues, we'll have a great winter."
Single-family home sales for the first nine months of the year have slumped in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls, while sales have been robust in areas bordering those communities. Through September, according to the Coeur d'Alene Multiple Listing Service, there were 426 home-sale transactions in Coeur d'Alene, down from 441 for the same nine months in 1996.
The Spokane Valley lead the county in home sales for September, with mostly mid-priced homes those in the $100,000 to $159,000 leading the pack. A total of 135 homes sold in the Valley during September, at an average price of $124,793, up from the same month last year, with 112 homes sold with an average price of $122,429.
The number of new homes built in King County last year nearly doubled, but for many potential buyers, the prices are out of reach, a new report says. Renters also are being hit hard, with rents rising faster than incomes and vacancy rates at an eight-year low, says the Annual Growth Report compiled by County Executive Ron Sims' budget and planning staff.
'How can this happen in this country?' Toley Nosov says his family lived in fear at the Park Arms Apartments (not pictured) before finding another place to live in May. Photo by Dan McComb/The Spokesman-Review
In a city where newcomers can pay $1,500 a month for a dingy studio apartment while long-time residents live in rent-regulated splendor, a last-minute deal to extend rent controls brought tenants a sigh of relief Monday. Eight minutes after the half-century-old rent laws expired at midnight Sunday, state officials came up with a compromise that extend protections for all but the wealthiest among more than 2 million people in 1.1 million rent-regulated apartments.
Spokane County home sales dropped 10 percent as compared with last year, but Realtors are seeing signs of improvement in the market. Last month, sales on 409 homes closed, compared with 457 in May 1996. The dollar volume dropped from $52.6 million to $47.2 million, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service.
Joe and Marcia Melton dreamed of owning their own home. But with one small child and another on the way, saving $10,000 for a down-payment seemed impossible. Then they heard about HomeStarts, a housing program that helps families build their own home to earn the down payment.