Are you think of moving to Spokane, Washington? It’s a beautiful city, with almost every modern city amenity you could want (shopping, malls, Uber Eats, movie theaters, reliable transportation) along with tons of opportunities to get outdoors (hiking trails, camping, fishing - all within an hour or less from Spokane!). With a city as vibrant, yet down to earth, as Spokane, the housing market must be insane, right?
While housing prices have increased dramatically within the last four years, Spokane is still a very affordable city - especially when you compare it to Seattle! Seattle’s median home price is now above $800,000, whereas Spokane’s median home sales price is around $235,000.
On one hand, you have to take median home prices with a grain of salt. What sellers are asking for and what they actually sell for can vary dramatically, plus not every area of the city is actually $235,000. In Phoenix, the median home price was $241,000, but those cheaper homes could need serious and very costly work. $235,000 does not equal a completely done-for-you home in a nice neighborhood!
All of this begs the question: what is the housing market really like in Spokane? Can you get a decent home in Spokane at a good price? If some areas are currently too expensive, what areas of the city are up-and-coming?
Everyday Spokane interviewed local Spokane realtor, Corrie Jo Anderson, from Windermere Real Estate, about her perspective on the market and advice for people looking to get into the Spokane real estate market in 2019.
The Spokane Housing Market
After the housing bubble burst of 2008-2009, Spokane experienced crash of home prices and prices nearly bottomed out by 2011. In the last 7 years, prices have been gradually increasing and 2019 will be the 8th consecutive year of recovery. In fact, 2019 is being predicted as a year that will be a repeat of 2018 where there was a shortage of inventories with a strong demand among the buyers.
The entry level housing market is especially tight with homes valued under $250,000 being scooped up as soon as they come into the market. You have to be well prepared to be able to buy a house in the entry level segment, and Corrie Jo says buyers in this price range can typically expect a bidding war.
Spokane has become a seller’s market in recent times because of a 6 weeks supply of homes. To qualify as a neutral market where neither sellers nor buyers have an upper hand, the market needs to have a 4-6 months’ supply of homes.
Corrie Jo notes that median home prices in Spokane have increased by 11.8% in the last one year alone. She also predicts that prices will continue to increase in 2019, though this price rise has slowed down a bit. Total numbers of sales registered in 2018 were only 1% more than sales in 2017 but it was a result of fewer inventories and not slackening buyer’s demand. 36% of these homes were purchased by the Millenials, indicating a preference for Spokane by young adults.
Thinking about getting into the Spokane housing market soon? Corrie Jo points out strong economic growth “will continue to drive demand for home ownership with Amazon and other industries coming into the area.”
Popular Neighborhoods in Spokane: An Interview with Corrie Jo Anderson of Windermere Real Estate
Searching for an affordable (let’s say under $250,000) home in Spokane can be like finding a diamond in the rough. Corrie Jo shared some of her favorite neighborhoods with us below, but just be aware you can sometimes find amazing deals in pricier neighborhoods like the South Hill and Perry. These homes might need a bit of elbow grease to make them truly amazing, but you shouldn’t rule out any neighborhood just because it’s traditionally more expensive.
Where are your favorite areas of Spokane, in terms of affordability?
One of my favorite areas of the city where people are recently buying and genuinely starting to take great pride in their homes is the Northtown area. Housing is at the lower end of the price spectrum because they are mostly quaint older homes. There are many that have been updated and several come up often that need some TLC. Either way you can find affordable homes on the north side of town starting at $175,000.
Another area is Spokane Valley. The Valley has many different levels of housing and lot sizes as well as beautiful rural areas; it runs the gamut of housing from very early to mid-century homes to beautiful large new construction in gorgeous gated communities.
What Up-and-Coming Areas of Spokane Do You Recommend?
There is Hillyard, known as the one of the poorest parts of the city. There is a big push to gentrify this striking historic neighborhood, with restoration of it's beautiful old historic buildings, completed reconstruction of the main street (Market St) to its original historic quaintness, and new commercial construction development. It is really coming into its own.
Historic Market St. in Hillyard offers some of the city's finest antique shops and new music venues on the northside. They have also started annual fairs and festivals in the past few years bringing the community together. There are also several attractive newly painted murals (local artists) on the sides of buildings that are drawing a lot of attention. I believe if the city continues its push to gentrify, then in 10 years or so it will no longer be considered the poorest part of Spokane, but a destination that the city will be very proud of.
There is also the West Central community which is adjacent to Kendall Yards. This area is re-gentrifying and slowly but surely it's succeeding. The far west side of the neighborhood being so close to the Spokane river has been welcoming new residents recently who have been renovating their early century homes back to their wonderful original charm and glory.
Between West Central over to Kendall Yards is becoming an investor’s and first time home buyer’s delight.
Why Should You Work with a Spokane Realtor?
Spokane’s housing market is currently hot, hot, hot and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down any time soon. As mentioned above, it is possible to find a nice home in a more expensive market - a diamond in the rough!
However, it’s finding these ‘diamond in the rough’ homes that can be challenging, especially if you’re moving to Spokane, transitioning to a new job, and trying to establish roots. That’s why it’s important to work with a realtor! A realtor will spend time finding homes that appeal to you (and your budget), saving you time and only showing you the best houses for you.
After you’ve chosen a house, a realtor will work on your behalf to get the best price (and look out for any inspection issues, which is something you really need to pay attention to with the older Spokane houses).
Basically, you’re working with a realtor to do all the legwork you don’t have time to do. They’ll go to bat for you if there are inspection issues or errors in paperwork (yes, this happened to us several times during the home buying/selling process in Phoenix) instead of you having to be on top of everything.
If you’re interested in working with a local Spokane realtor or have questions about the home buying process, reach out to Corrie Jo Anderson with Windermere Real Estate. Her contact information is below - let her know Everyday Spokane sent you!
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