Coeur d’Alene Press

Low inventory, high demand fueling higher housing prices

COEUR d’ALENE — When Jennifer Smock makes the 15-minute drive from her Windermere Real Estate office in Post Falls to the Coeur d’Alene office, she plays a game: Count the number of out-of-state license plates on the road.

The highest she’s tallied so far is 13.

“It’s not a big surprise that people want to be here, but in the last month or two it’s just overwhelming,” Smock said Thursday during her presentation at the Hayden Chamber of Commerce’s networking breakfast.

In her real estate forecast before about 40 people, Smock made a few things very clear: People are coming to Kootenai County, housing supply isn’t meeting demand, and prices are rising.

That trend will likely continue, said Smock, managing broker and co-owner of the Post Falls office.

“The story is, there’s just not enough availability,” she said at the Kroc Center. “We’ve been talking about this for years now. It is getting worse almost by the day.”

The government’s stay-home order and shutdown of nonessential businesses in March to combat the coronavirus was expected by many to tank the local housing market. It didn’t.

According to Smock’s PowerPoint program showing a residential snapshot year-to-date, the average sales price in Coeur d’Alene is $370,000; in Hayden, it’s $401,000, while in Post Falls, it’s $341,000, and in Kootenai County, it’s $381,000.

Year-to-date, Coeur d’Alene had 812 active listings; 437 homes sold; Hayden had 381 active listing, 184 homes sold; Post Falls had 794 active listings, 465 homes sold; and Kootenai County had 802 active listings and 1,470 homes sold year-to-date.

Listings are down nearly 25 percent from the same time last year.

Homes are selling for nearly 100 percent of asking price.

“There are very little to no discounts happening whatsoever right now,” Smock said. “Bidding wars are pushing things up even higher.”

Her prediction for what’s ahead: “By the time we end this year, we could very well see an average sales price of over $400,000 or right at it in Kootenai County.”

Because supply is low, those seeking to buy a home should expect to pay close to or even more than the asking price, she said. And they may end up competing with several others to buy that home.

But that’s doesn’t mean sellers can dictate prices

“The home still has to appraise,” Smock said. “That’s where we’re seeing a lot of push back right now.”

She said the county’s working class age population was expected to grow, before the pandemic, by 18 percent in 10 years. The retired-age demographic was estimated to grow by 30 percent over that same time period.

Now, she believes those figures are low.

More families are coming here, and not just…

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