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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Look At Your Home Through E Of A Buyer

Emotional ties can bind - and blind - when it's time to sell your home. For many people, especially those with custom-built homes or families, letting go of a property packed with memories can be difficult.

Sales Of Existing Homes Plunge To Three-Year Low April Drop Raises New Concerns About Economic Slowdown

Sales of previously-owned homes fell during April to the lowest level in almost three years, suggesting that lower mortgage rates may not be enough to keep the U.S. economy from continuing to decelerate. The 6.4 percent decline in home resales last month to 3.390 million at an annual rate was the third decrease in four months, a realty trade group said. In March, sales rose an unrevised 5.8 percent.

Some Idaho Homeowners May Be Entitled To Refunds

Thousands of Idaho homeowners may be entitled to refunds under new rules governing escrow accounts. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development began enforcing rules giving homeowners the right to recover $1.5 billion in overpayments to their accounts.

City May Cut Speed Limit On Some Arterials

Transportation City Traffic Engineer Bruce Steele's office is readying a proposal to the City Council that would reduce the speed limit on certain collector arterials from 30 to 25. He said engineers are looking at 40 streets citywide and will recommend the reduction on streets that wind through residential neighborhoods or that have had a high number of accidents, such as Standard and Addison in the Nevada-Lidgerwood neighborhood.

Fha Raises Loan Limit To $115,900 Increase Reflects Higher Prices Of Spokane Homes

Prospective home buyers in Spokane County who qualify for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration can now consider upgrading to homes with six-figure price tags. Based in part on the increasing median price of homes here, the FHA bumped up the mortgage limit on single-family home loans by more than 15 percent, from $97,850 to $115,900. The new limit took effect Thursday. Local real estate officials predict a minor surge in the market of midrange homes.

Latest Economic Reports Suggest Economy On Track For Soft Landing

Fresh reports show labor costs rising at the slowest pace on record, consumer confidence in the economy jumping to a five-year high and falling mortgage rates helping to revive sales of existing homes. Analysts said the reports Tuesday were consistent with the Federal Reserve's goal of a slower, but stillgrowing economy and low inflation.

Housing Starts Hit Two-Year Low Soggy Weather Blamed For 20.7% Plunge In West

Construction of new homes fell in March to the lowest level in two years as builders paused for lower mortgage rates to pare inventories and for the West Coast to dry out from severe flooding. "We did see in 1994, and into the beginning of this year as well, a sizable buildup in unsold inventories," said economist David F. Seiders of the National Association of Home Builders.

Home Sales Tumble In Kootenai County

A sharp drop in March home sales in Kootenai County shows the local home market has a slight case of indigestion. Kootenai County home sales in March plunged 35 percent from last year because of high inventory, Realtors said. But they said the market should be able to digest the oversupply of homes with an energetic summer selling season. "We're still blessed with having an area where people really want to live," said John Beutler of John Beutler & Associates in Coeur d'Alene. "I think that if you look at it from a rational standpoint, we really couldn't maintain that record pace, and it wouldn't have been healthy for our economy," he said, referring to sales in 1994. March's home sales dip put the yearly figures 15 percent behind 1994's pace. But that's really what most market watchers expected, said Brian Stranger of Acuff Northwest Inc. "I think those numbers are very realistic for what we thought would happen," said Stranger, the president of the Multiple Listing Association. "I still think it's an inventory problem where most people weren't in a hurry to buy." The oddest figure to come from the multiple listing numbers was a 36 percent increase in the average price of homes sold in Post Falls. Donny Beveridge, a Realtor for Treaty Rock Realty in Post Falls, said the preponderance of higher-priced new homes could be pushing the average price up. One-fourth of homes sold so far this year fell between the $85,000-$99,999 price range. "I think builders are building a lot more of those homes for first-time buyers, who I deal with mostly," he said. The "sluggish" market will probably pick up if interest rates continue to be stable, he predicted. Despite lagging behind in total number of sales, the market continues to show an overall increase in average price. For the year, prices are about $8,000 higher than at the same time in 1994.

Overpricing Slows Sales Of Homes In February

Escalating prices caused single family home sales for Spokane County in February to decrease 36 percent from a year ago, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors. The total number of homes reported sold in February was 225, compared to 351 in February 1994.