Realtors, homeowners buoyed by housing market swing

Published On: Mar 06 2013 06:01:18 PM PST   Updated On: Mar 06 2013 06:31:40 PM PST
For sale sign, home, house

Homes sale prices have been rising across the Inland Northwest, another potential sign the economy is recovering in our area.

Over the last year home prices in Idaho were up 14.9-percent, the third largest gain in the country according to CoreLogic. Washington had an 8.4-percent jump, and nationwide there was a 9.7-percent increase, the largest increase since 2006.

In Coeur d'Alene, home sale prices are up 11 percent. It's still a little lower than the overall Idaho average, but realtors say they've been extremely busy and are enjoying every second of it. So are homeowners.

"We're deciding to sell. Family's growing," John Hartzell said.

Hartzell and his wife want to move to the country to give their two kids more of a backyard.

"We always have people coming through every week," he said.

The Hartzell's may even get more than their asking price with home sale prices going up in Idaho.

"Day-to-day it's pleasantly surprising," realtor Kim Cooper said.

Cooper is the spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors. He's been showing about as many houses now as he did in 2006.

"It's an exciting time to be in real estate," he said.

The numbers are encouraging, but Cooper worries what will happen if interest rates rise above four percent, especially with first-time home buyers.

"Their perception will be that interest rates are high, when those of us old-timers know they're nothing but low," Cooper said.

John Hartzell is confident he can sell his home, even if home prices aren't back up to what was once considered to be standard.

"We're excited about selling in a market that has reached its bottom and seems to show some improvements and some signs it's climbing up."

Cooper also says inventory is down 17-percent in Coeur d'Alene, a good indicator of a rising market.