Foreclosures, sales increase

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Driven by low prices in many areas of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) area, sales of single family homes on less than an acre are outpacing last year's sales. While Coeur d'Alene and the northern portion of the county show less activity than in 2010, the rest of the market is well up.

According to figures just released by the Coeur d'Alene MLS a long awaited recovery could be under way in the Rathdrum/Twin Lakes area and the Silver Valley. These upswings do not take into consideration the decline in prices, but only the increase in sales.

In the Silver Valley the number of sales is twice what they experienced last year providing encouragement to our Realtor members and their seller clients who live there. The 16 sales to date reflect a 100 percent increase of sales reported at the end of February last year.

Encouraged too, are those agents working the Rathdrum/Twin Lakes areas. Sales reported there have increased by a whopping 275 percent over last year. This increase is not as phenomenal as it first appears however as the total sales by February's end totaled 15 compared to a paltry 4 by this time in 2010.

After a period of near stagnation the Hayden market seems to have rebounded. Sales of single family homes on less than an acre reported there show a 36 percent increase with an average price increase of 10 percent, similar to the average price increase in the Rathdrum area. Hayden, Rathdrum/Twin Lakes, North Kootenai County and the portions of Bonner and Boundary counties reporting also showed increases in average sales prices over the same period last year.

Most areas covered by our MLS however, continue to show price declines as foreclosures drag prices down. Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and areas South all declined. The biggest decline was in Benewah County but with only five sales reported, one low priced sale would skew the percentages dramatically.

In 2010 at this time, 72 percent of all residential sales were at less than $200,000. This year, 73 percent of our sales are in that category, indicating a marginal increase in sales of lower priced inventory. As a whole our inventory is down nearly 12 percent with residential listings down over 19 percent from this time last year.

Albeit early in the year, and with little track record to report so far, we want to provide you timely information with regard to your market. We know that, although you may not be a buyer or seller today, the real estate market is important to everyone as it affects the local economy in so many ways.

High prices or low prices, increased market movement means inventory is being absorbed, which stabilizes the market so eventually we will get back to normal - whatever that is.

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, Realtor 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 with your questions or commentary.

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