Spokane, WA Real Estate: About Current Market Conditions

offered by Jeannette Karis "The REALTORŪ with the English accent!"


A the end of 2016 the closed sales totaled 7,571 and were up 9.9% over 2015's total of 6,892 sales. This was the best year-end total since 2006. Together with less inventory it 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 $212,144 7.4% up over 2015 when the average was $197,439. New construction is an option for buyers who are comfortable with a non-refundable deposit to the builder, a 6 month wait to complette construction and can comply with a non-contingent purchase. Distressed sales were a decreasing part of the market in 2016.

This has increased the interest for new construction. However when a builder dos not have a model home available some buyers will back off making an offer based only on a plan. Builders are quoting around 6 months from permit to complete with non-refundable deposits required upfront by many and contingent offers needing a home to sell are not often acceptable to the buider.

I saw more cash buyers in the market in 2016 and some were surprised to find that cash did not necessarily give them a discount and many struggle with a full price price offer.

Properties that are not in fabulous condition are still struggling to attract buyers. Even with low inventory most buyers do not want to do any fix up work. It is still a beauty contest. Buyers in all price ranges are wanting to negotiate their closing costs into the contract but not every seller has enough equity or the inclination to negotiate this and with competition asking for closing costs will put a buyer out of the running. 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.

The sellers in a short sale position are not able to pay off their lender when the home sells. Offers are subject to sellers lender approval and then the negotiations start all over again with the lender. This process can still take up to 6 months or more to complete. Some sellers are able to get short sale approval prior to going on the market and this can speed up the process. However this continues to be a frustrating position for buyers and sellers both.

Common home designs in this area are shown above

Lender owned properties are continuing to enter the market and are attracting mainly investor buyers. Many of the lender owned properties will need work and not every buyer has the extra cash this requires. There are also possible additional closing costs to the buyer including paying the last water bill, 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, 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 siding. 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 were 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 both with and without basements that the number you come up with is fairly meaningless unless you are only comparing a single style of home. Even then the variation is more of a neighborhood value reference. 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?

email Jeannette

Jeannette Karis, ABR,CRS,ePro,GRI,SFR,SRES,VAMRES,MRP - "The REALTORŪ 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)