Housing market on the move

COEUR d’ALENE — The number of homes for sale continues to grow in Kootenai County.

According to the Coeur d’Alene Regional Realtors, there were 1,055 residential listings in July. That’s a 44% increase from 698 listings in May.

The median home price held steady at $560,000 for the second straight month, which is a 22% increase over the same time a year ago.

The number of Kootenai County homes sold through July totaled 1,571, down 21% from a year ago.

Lindsay Allen, Coeur d’Alene Regional Realtors president, said there continue to be price reductions, and some homes are back in the $400,000 range, with some even below that benchmark.

“We’re starting to see that pop up again,” Allen said.

She said the slow in sales and lower home prices is a result of the rising mortgage interest rate, which was 5.8% for a 30-year fixed rate on Wednesday, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Earlier this year it was in the 3% range.

The uptick in rates means a loss in purchasing power, sometimes as much as 30%. That means if someone could have afforded a $1 million home, they would now qualify for a $700,000 home.

“That’s a big difference,” Allen said.

That led many potential buyers to step out of the market, Allen said, as they waited to see what was happening with inflation, interest rates and recession worries.

“They’re slower to pull the trigger,” Allen said.

Even new listings in July and August were not commanding as much attention as they did earlier this year.

“We saw a big pause,” Allen said.

She said the high-end, luxury market — those in the $1 million-plus range — has remained solid because people who can afford those homes aren’t as affected by interest rates.

“Those people have the money,” Allen said.

In speaking with other agents, she said there has been a recent uptick in activity.

More potential buyers are done waiting as more homes come on the market, which gives them more choices. Despite the high mortgage interest rates, they’re ready to start making offers again, particularly in light of rising rents.

“Why pay rent if it’s the same cost as a mortgage payment?” Allen asked.