KIM COOPER: Inventory pain continues

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A dearth of inventory continues to challenge would-be homebuyers in the North Idaho real estate market. As of the end of April, we had 23 percent fewer homes on lots smaller than 2 acres to sell than we had last year. Even as prices continue to increase, the demand is not slowing and is not being met by new listings. In fact, new listings are barely keeping pace with sales.

In Coeur d’Alene where there are 20 percent fewer homes for sale than there were last year, the average price has increased by 19 percent. In Post Falls inventory is off 20 percent and prices are up 20 percent when compared to 2016. Hayden’s inventory is down a third from last year yet its average price gained 8 percent in that time period.

Even with its flurry of new construction the Rathdrum/Twin Lakes portion of our geography has 36 percent fewer homes on the market than at this time last year. The prices there have increased more than 17 percent since this time in 2016. Hauser has seen a 36 percent drop with an average price increase of 2 percent. Silver Valley listings were off 19 percent which contributed to a 33 percent increase in average price, which further proved the theory of supply and demand. The figures above are for site-built homes on less than 2 acres.

Bonner and Boundary counties also show a 23 percent deficit in year-over-year inventory. Their average price for year-to-date sales is up 9 percent from the previous year.

Overall activity is down from last year in number of sales. The month of April ended with 417 total residential closings compared to 462 in 2016 for a decrease of 10 percent. Our absorption rate — the months of supply of homes — is now 3.88 year-to-date as compared to 5.44 months supply year-to-date in 2106. This 29 percent decrease in available housing includes all home types and illustrates the inventory problem.

Of course more buyers means better equity for folks contemplating selling their homes. We are often asked, “How long can this market sustain?” We wish we knew. What we do know is those people who are taking equity from the sale of their homes and wishing to move up may still find some bargains. Inventory in the $500,000 and over price ranges still have enough available inventory to give buyers the edge over sellers. Not so in most market segments below that.

If you are looking for land to build on, you need to be quick. One lot in Coeur d’Alene last week sold the same day it was listed. Finding a building lot there is extremely challenging unless you want to build on a hill.

So as inventory wanes buyers continue to pour into the North Idaho market. Coming from all areas as they choose to escape their growing areas they shop for homes here to fuel our more manageable growth.

Trust an expert … 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 d’Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your feedback and input for this column. You may contact them by writing to the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, 409 W. Neider, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815 or by calling (208) 667-0664.

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