It is more than likely a dearth of inventory rather than the seemingly endless winter that has slowed Coeur díAlene sales this first quarter. Post Falls and Hayden have posted double-digit gains. No doubt the weather has slowed new construction, showing an impact on the Rathdrum market that also posted losses over last year.
Northwest Kootenai County, which includes Spirit Lake and Athol, reported three times the properties under contract when compared to last year. Coeur díAlene agents working Dalton as well continue to struggle to find available homes for their buyers with budgets under $300,000. Their exercises in futility resulted in a 34 percent decline in sales when compared to 2016. The average price of a home in that territory increased by 15 percent nearly reaching that $300,000 benchmark ($294,614). Post Falls sales soared by 27 percent achieving an average price that is also 15 percent higher than last yearís average at $237,832. In Hayden, home sales nearly doubled from last year with an average price that exceeds 2016ís average by 5 percent at $291,770.
North and East the markets are chugging along with the Silver Valley showing a 71 percent increase in the number of homes sold over last year (12 over 7) yet the average price of those sales diminished. Bonner and Boundary counties seem to have hit their stride with a 77 percent increase in sales as compared to last year (16 over 9). The average price dropped there too, but with small numbers one or two sales can really distort the averages.
Throughout the Multiple Listing Service area we find listings of homes on lots smaller than 2 acres are well down from last year. We can be sure the relentless snow storms have caused an area-wide slowdown in listing activity, but the reality is we do not have the inventory to satisfy current demand. What some say could prove true eventually ó that many folks will be selling in fear that this winter is the new normal ó but we have not noticed a mass exodus yet. Our total active listings are 21 percent below inventory levels a year ago. Still with strong numbers of sales in a few areas, our total MLS production is 15 percent ahead of 2016.
The lack of inventory is not confined to our MLS as agents across the country report demand exceeding supply. Our neighbors to the west in Spokane are expressing the same frustration of having qualified buyers with next to no choices of homes to purchase. Even so, where there is inventory, like Post Falls, houses are selling quickly and often with competing offers. For affordable housing we see less than three monthís supply of homes, which easily translates into a sellerís market.
The reality is we are connecting buyers with homes and land in all areas. If we can find some more inventory that will quickly sell too.
Trust an expert Ö call a Realtor. Call your Realtor or visit www.cdarealtors.com to search properties on the Multiple Listing Service or to find a Realtor member who will represent your best interests.
Kim Cooper is a real estate broker and the spokesman for the Coeur díAlene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur díAlene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur díAlene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.