Spokane, WA Real Estate: About Current Market Conditions

offered by Jeannette Karis RE/MAX of Spokane "The Real Estate Broker with the English accent!"

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At the end of 2018 the closed sales were up 1% on 2017. The total closed sales reported in the Spokane MLS for single family homes on less than 1 acres & condominiums was 8.212 sales. Lower inventory made for a very tight market with multiple offers for homes in great updated condition in the most popular neighborhoods. The average sales price for the year was $255,231 up 11.2% over 2017 so buyers who delay buying will end up paying more for the same home or buying less of a home. New construction is an option for buyers who are comfortable with a non-refundable deposit to the builder, a 6 month wait to complete construction and can comply with a non-contingent purchase. New construction sales were up 4.9%, 831 v 792 in 2017.

In 2018 more cash buyers, some with family financing found that cash can get the offer but not necessarily with a discount as in previous years. Multiple offers were very common in the March-June period. This made it hard for buyers needing the seller to contribute to their closing costs. Adding it onto the price was not working and sellers were not selecting those offers. Market is slower at the begiining of 2019 and I expect this to continue through March 2019. Although Buyers ma have fewer options they ma have a little more time to consider making an offe. Also their is more opportunity for buyers to get closing costs help as homes are staying on the market a little longer. As always the updated ones do not last a week before an offer is accepted.

Properties that are not in fabulous condition are attracting rehab buyers and investor buyers. Even with low inventory most first time buyers do not want to do any fix up work. It is still a beauty contest for a seller to attract the best price. Buyers in all price ranges may prefer to negotiate their closing costs into the purchase contract but many sellers with more than 1 offer will select the one not asking for buyers cost rather than going with the highest price when the concern will be, will it appraise. Buyers who find a lender who will put their file through underwriting prior to making an offer and have funds if needed to pay their own closing costs have a greater chance of success.

Very few sellers are in a short sale position and are unable to pay off their lender when the home sells. Fewer bank owned properties are coming on the market.

Common home designs in this area are shown above


Lender owned properties are a different transaction and are attracting mainly investor buyers. Many of the lender owned properties will need work, condition is unknown and not every buyer has the extra cash this requires. There are also possible additional closing costs to the buyer including paying delinquent water bills, seller & buyer title insurance, outstanding HOA fees - it varies from lender to lender.

The housing stock in the Spokane area includes properties built in 1890 right through to the present day. The great majority of these have basements although they may range from the rock basement or root cellar to the full, finished, daylight walk-out basement and everything in between. Construction is mainly wood frame and the large majority of resale homes are sided with wood or vinyl. Brick and stone are used more for accents due to costs, although a number of homes in the 50's were built entirely of brick. Homes built since the 2000 have new technology products, Green homes, Low Energy homes and Smart homes.

With hydro electric power, utility bills may be lower than those in other states. However even with the recent increases in the price of gas, electric and oil, gas is still a popular choice for a heat source in homes but not usual as a cooking source or for the use of gas dryers in a resale home. Central air conditioning is available in a great many homes. Central vacuum is more common in the upper end properties.

In this area the sf figure most commonly quoted is the tax assessed sf, the sf of the foundation less the garage. So to figure out the total living space this figure may be multiplied by 1.5, 2 or 3 depending on the style of the home and whether or not additional levels have finished living space.The total sf figure now available is not necessarily all finished. Price per sf is not a number commonly used in the Spokane market outside of new construction as we have such a diverse mix of construction styles and age of homes. There may or may not be a basements or dissimilar quality finishes so the number you come up with is fairly meaningless unless you are only comparing a single style of home in the same development. Many websites generate this number but it can be frustrating for buyers. The best explanation I can come up with is to compare it to an average temperature for the US at any given moment, it is a number but what does it mean?

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Jeannette Karis, ABR,AHWD,CRS,ePro,GRI,MRP,PMN,SFR,SRES,VAMRES - "The Real Estate Broker with the English accent!"
call/text 509-994-8246 // licensed in WA state
RE/MAX of Spokane, 12810 E Nora Suite E, Spokane WA 99216, (each office independently owned & operated)