Real Estate

click to enlarge Buder Haven low-income housing in downtown Spokane.
Buder Haven low-income housing in downtown Spokane.

Another Bubble?

The local sellers' real estate market is booming, with homes selling as soon as they hit the market, and going for full, and at times more than asking price. But over the mountains in the Seattle area there's a valley, some local agents say. Some are concerned the bubble could burst.

Advice from local real estate agents: if you think you're going to buy and then sell in two or three years, it's better to rent. Don't let emotion — the idea that if you don't buy now, you'll never be able to afford anything — guide your decision.

• From 2014 to 2015, the market saw an 18 percent jump in sales.

• In that same time, the median price of a home in the Spokane area jumped from $168,000 to $179,900, a 7 percent increase (compare that to the statewide median home price: $289,400).

• From 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, median home prices continued to grow at 7 percent.

• Prices across the state have surpassed pre-recession levels for the first time.

• Spokane and King counties had the largest inventory at the end of the first quarter of 2016 at 1,898 and 2,162 respectively. But, those numbers represent approximately 20 percent decreases from the previous quarter.

— Mitch Ryals

Low income housing in Spokane County

Spokane County is poised to see four low-income housing buildings completed by the end of 2016 for a total of 352 units, thanks in part to funding from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. Three additional structures are fully funded as well, but construction has not yet started.

The four projects already underway are located at:

• 201 E. 2nd Ave. "Buder Haven"

• 217 E. 2nd Ave. "The Marilee"

• 315 W. Mission Ave. "West 315"

• Palouse Hwy and Regal "Palouse Trails Apts."

Even with the three additional buildings, which will add another 135 units, executive director of the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium, Kay Murano, says it's not enough.

She points to the 867 homeless youth in grades K-12 throughout Spokane Valley school districts.

"That represents 313 families," she says. "That is a huge number."

Murano adds that state investments in the Housing Trust Fund has dropped from a high of $200 million during the 2007-2009 biennium to $75 million for 2015-2017.

In Spokane County, applications to take advantage of the Housing Trust fund totaled more than $156 million, which means less than half of the funds needed for proposed projects were available.

— Mitch Ryals

Rental Realities

For those looking to rent an apartment, options are limited. Units are snatched up within days, and sometimes hours, and the vacancy rate is nearing a historic low.


1.3 percent: Percentage of vacant apartment units

$660: Average Rent.

$0.78: Rent per square foot


0.2 percent: Percentage of vacant apartment units

$800: Average Rent.

$0.89: Rent per square foot

CALL 211

Need help? Call 211 for help finding affordable housing or accessing services like food banks, health clinics, emergency shelters, health clinics, civic legal help or rent assistance.

• Information specialists are available Mon.-Fri. 8-6pm

• Bilingual, English/Spanish specialists on staff

• Free interpreter for over 155 languages


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