Packed In: Here’s what could help with Spokane’s housing crisis

SPOKANE, Wash.– Housing markets across the Inland Northwest have been booming over the past year– especially Spokane.

That has sent the price of homes skyrocketing.

In the first eight months of 2021, 5-percent of homes sold for less than $200,000. Five years, ago that number was 52-percent. Just looking at November 2021 compared to November 2020 you’ll see a difference. People paid an average of $335,000 last November. This November, they paid an average of $400,000.

A report done by the Counselors of Real Estate shows that Spokane is in a housing crisis. It has a lot of people looking for a place to buy with fewer homes on the market.

The costs of homes is up 30 percent. The Counselors of Real Estate said Spokane is one of the top 20 cities in the country that has such a high price spike.

The issues Spokane faces make it hard for young families and first-time buyers to be a homeowner.

The report says only 15 percent of people who work in Spokane can afford a median-priced home this year. Five years ago, that was at 70 percent.

The city is also missing smaller, affordable homes like condos and townhouses. The Counselors of Real Estate call it “middle housing”.

The report points to Kendall Yards as an example of successful housing development. Walking down Kendall Yards, people will find single-family homes, duplexes, townhouses and apartments.

“You have that variety of housing and it provides the opportunities for a wide range of people. That’s missing in most neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods are mono-cultures. They’re all big single-family houses,” said Jim Frank, the founder of Greenstone Homes, which is the developer of Kendall Yards.

Both Frank and the Spokane Association of Realtors and said changing housing and land codes make it harder to build more places to live.

“It’s not just one thing that’s going to solve this, it’s going to be on every level. it’s multi-family, single-family, duplexes, things like that that are going to make a difference. But, we need to make changes and incentivize that behavior sooner than later,” said Eric Johnson, president of Spokane Association of Realtors.

Johnson hopes the report will help “correct some of the issues,” planning to get the data to elected and planning officials.

You can find a link to the study that highlights more issues and more solutions by the Counselors of Real Estate here.

Counselors of Real Estate by Tasha Cain

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