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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.
1. Architect Glen Cloninger, left, and builder Dave Mark hope to recreate the mood of Spokane's distinguished old neighborhoods. Photo by Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review 2. Garages in Grapetree are tucked out of sight on the sides of houses. 3. Playful chimneys epitomize Cloninger's attention to detail.
Spokane has no choice but to make room for granny. A state board ruled Tuesday the city must let homeowners build small apartments - commonly known as granny flats - in single-family neighborhoods.
Lenders and housing advocates gathered in Spokane Thursday to discuss a topic more confounding than the federal budget deficit. How do communities provide affordable housing when the government's ability to help is diminishing?
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.
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.
1. (Color) Charles Washington wants to live in a clean and sober environment. Photo by Sandra Bancroft-Billings/The Spokesman-Review 2. Ann Finke manages the Commercial Building. Photo by Sandra Bancroft-Billings/The Spokesman-Review
Land use Spokane County hearing examiners will consider today whether to allow 179 houses where 58 normally would be allowed.
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.
Sister Zoe Nasset is a dreamer, and as she says, a talker. Her dream is to build an inter-generational community of transitional housing. Photo by Sandra Bancroft-Billings/The Spokesman-Review
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.
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.
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.
City workers Shane Warner and Craig Dowdy remove transient camp. Photo by Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review
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.
Ann Finke will manage the apartments. Photo by Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review
The MeadowWood development near Liberty Lake, where average home price is $160,000, is rapidly filling in. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
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.
Steve and Kathy Leonard bought this Post Falls rancher. Photo by Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review
Renters looking for Valley apartments shouldn't have trouble finding deals in the classified advertisements.