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Housing market on the move

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

According to Coeur d’Alene Regional Realtors, 1,055 homes were listed in July. This is a 44% increase from May’s 698 listings.

Median home prices remained stable at $560,000 for the second straight month, up 22% from the same period a year ago.

The number of Kootenai County homes sold through July was 1,571, down 21% from the previous year.

Lindsay Allen, president of Coeur d’Alene Regional Realtors, said prices continue to drop, with some homes back in the $400,000 range and others below the $400,000 mark.

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

She said the slowdown in sales and falling home prices was a result of rising mortgage rates, which stood at 5.8% for the 30-year fixed rate on Wednesday, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Earlier this year it was in the 3% range.

Rising interest rates mean a loss of purchasing power, sometimes as much as 30%. So if someone manages to buy his $1 million home, they are eligible to buy a $700,000 home.

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

Allen said this forced many potential buyers to exit the market, waiting to see what would happen to inflation, interest rates and recession fears.

“They are slow to pull the trigger,” Allen said.

Even the new listings in July and August weren’t as high profile as earlier this year.

“We saw a big pause,” Allen said.

She said the $1 million-and-up luxury market is doing well.

“Those people have money,” Allen said.

In speaking with other agents, she said she has been very active lately.

As more homes hit the market, more potential buyers are waiting and given more choices. Despite high interest rates on mortgages, they are ready to start offering again, especially considering the rising rent.

“Why pay rent when it costs the same as paying a mortgage?” Allen asked.

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