KREM 2 spoke with four real estate experts from the Inland Northwest to ask about the state of the eastern Washington state and northern Idaho real estate markets and who holds the power.
Our local real estate experts, contributing to the conversation:
- Cindy Carrigan – Spokane Valley real estate agent since 2001
- Jacquelynne Sandoval – Spokane Valley Realtor since 2018
- Greg Washington – North Idaho Realtor/Home Builder since 2002
- Marianne Bornhoft – Spokane Realtor/Broker since 1995
Over the past five years, real estate agents have seen the pandemic impact the pace at which people have bought and sold homes. Some realtors said they even remembered that there was only a few weeks of inventory, as buyer demand has increased significantly.
“It was a great time to own real estate,” North Idaho real estate agent Greg Washington shared. “There was so much demand for this area. Values have increased over 30% in recent years.”
Washington said it was surprising how much housing took off during the height of the pandemic.
Now, things look a little different. Homes stay on the market longer. However, with two to three months of inventory in both the eastern Washington and northern Idaho housing markets, based on the numbers alone, realtors could call it a sellers’ market.
“We still have very low inventory for the amount of demand we have in Spokane,” said Spokane Valley Realtor Cindy Carrigan.
But with the backdrop of exiting an extremely hot and abnormal market, realtors said months of inventory show markets are normalizing.
“We’re leaning more towards a balanced market,” Carrigan said.
“Right now, today, we’re probably in that three to three and a half months of inventory,” Washington noted. Historically, that would say the sellers still have the power, but right now, coming off the heels of the last couple years that we’ve had, it definitely feels a little more balanced at this point.
When considering “inventory,” realtors say valuations are determined by how long it would theoretically take to sell all the homes available on the market.
Real estate agents said buyers are able to work and negotiate more with sellers, rather than buying at first sight.
“Buyers are able to look at homes for more than 15 minutes and have to make a decision,” said Jacquelynne Sandoval, a Spokane Valley real estate agent. “They’ll go in and look a couple of times. They’ll go in and look at a house a couple of times.”
Despite buyers climbing the property rankings, real estate agents said rising interest rates could discourage some people from being able to buy their dream homes.
“For every 1% increase in interest rates, we reduced someone’s purchasing power by 10%,” Washington explained.
As a Spokane real estate investor, Cameron Bellinger said the real estate game has had its ups and downs over the past four years.
“Before it was, ‘that’s the price,'” Bellinger said. “‘We’re not doing any concessions, no repairs, no inspections, this is the home you get.’”
He said he believes the power is starting to shift back from the sellers to the buyers.
“Especially as we move into the colder months,” Bellinger began. “I think we’re going to continue to see a shift in the dynamic of that relationship.
In the current market, he too noted how high interest rates are affecting the status of buyers in the Northwest hinterland.
“I think this is the most intense point where buyers aren’t trying to be in the market just because interest rates are high,” Bellinger said. “A lot of people can’t afford them.”
According to the Spokane Association of Realtors, the median home price in Spokane County for October 2022 was just under $400,000.
Across the state line, the Coeur d’Alene Realtors Association reports that the median home price in Kootenai County for October 2022 was $550,000.
But, as buyers continue to recoup some of their power, real estate agents said they are able to negotiate incentives that could reduce the cost of buying their dream homes.
“It’s really about finding the right way to sell and buy and really thinking outside the box and being more creative in your mindset,” said Marianne Bornhoft, a Spokane real estate agent and broker. “I know Eanyone can buy or sell a house in Spokane, even in these conditions”.
While each realtor had their own perspective and experience to contribute to the conversation, they all echoed the same sentiment that buyers and sellers can win in today’s marketplace.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can tell you right away,” Bornhoft said. “If there’s a house down the street that you really like, don’t wait because it probably won’t be there next year.”
“The purchase really makes sense right now because we’re continuing to see prices go up even with higher interest rates,” Carrigan said. “So it’s better to enter the market now. As interest rates rise and buyers lose purchasing power, this will affect prices. So it’s best to put your home on the market now if you need to sell anytime in the next 12 months.
“Both sides have power in any situation,” Sandoval shared.
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