Another banner year for Windermere Home sales remain hot; downturn in 2020 predicted

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  • Photos by JUDD WILSON/Press Windermere Real Estate managing broker Jennifer Smock updates agents on the Kootenai County real estate market Friday at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.

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    Windermere Real Estate owner Donald Smock congratulates his team on another record-breaking year on Friday.

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    Windermere Real Estate agents Nancy and Holly Hansen, left, tour a home with Dominique Tetro, 28, Friday evening along Lakeside Avenue. Dominique, a self employed graphic designer, moved to Coeur d'Alene from Boise a few months ago. (LOREN BENOIT/Press)

  • Photos by JUDD WILSON/Press Windermere Real Estate managing broker Jennifer Smock updates agents on the Kootenai County real estate market Friday at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn.

  • 1

    Windermere Real Estate owner Donald Smock congratulates his team on another record-breaking year on Friday.

  • 2

    Windermere Real Estate agents Nancy and Holly Hansen, left, tour a home with Dominique Tetro, 28, Friday evening along Lakeside Avenue. Dominique, a self employed graphic designer, moved to Coeur d'Alene from Boise a few months ago. (LOREN BENOIT/Press)

COEUR d’ALENE — The real estate market continued to sizzle in 2018, a fact celebrated Friday morning by nearly 200 attendees of Windermere Coeur d’Alene Realty’s 18th annual Agent Award Ceremony and Breakfast.

Owner Don Smock noted that the agency has been setting sales records year after year, going from $336 million in 2014 to $606 million in 2018. The consensus Friday was that 2019 is shaping up beautifully in the local market.

After that?

“Everything is cyclical,” said Scott Wetzel, president and CEO of Windermere Services Mountain West.

According to Wetzel, 2019 will be a banner year. In the next breath, though, the regional executive advised agents to put some money aside.

Likely in 2020, he predicted, “We’re going to see a cool down, a recession.”

But the dominant mood Friday was positive. That’s what happens when, as managing broker Jennifer Smock noted, your county has had seven consecutive years of rising home values.

According to Smock, the median price of home sales in Kootenai County rose from $95,000 in 1995 to $213,000 in 2006, then nose-dived with the recession in 2009 to $155,000. Since then, though, prices have steadily risen to a median price of $287,000 in 2018.

Speakers agreed that first-time homebuyers — millennials — will purchase a huge hunk of the homes sold this year.

Smock said times have changed. She said many millennials are going to college, building a career and buying a home before seeking or finding a lifetime partner. Wetzel pointed out that the oldest millennials are now 38.

At that age people are ready to buy real estate, he said.

Idaho has been discovered, said Smock, and home prices will continue to reflect that demand. In 2018 the average home sales price in Post Falls shot to $310,000, an increase of 15 percent from 2017. Coeur d’Alene home prices rose 11 percent to $333,000.

Smock predicted that with more land available in Post Falls, prices there will eventually eclipse those of Coeur d’Alene.

Hayden’s average home sales price rose 18 percent to $397,000, thanks in part to some multi-million-dollar home sales there, said Smock.

On the other hand, homes priced below $149,999 accounted for only 1 percent of sales last year, said Smock.

“There’s almost nothing anymore,” she said of that vanishing inventory. With few exceptions, she said “buyers are priced out of that market.”

Homes priced between $150,000-$199,999 constituted another 7 percent of sales last year. Smock pointed out that years ago a good 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home of 1,200 square feet could be found in that price range. Today, such homes cost around $260,000.

Consequently, 76 percent of home sales came from homes priced between $200,000 and $399,999. Sixty-five percent of all homes sold cost more than $250,000, she added.

Many vacant land listings are overpriced because they’re unusable, she said. On the other hand, multifamily housing sells right away at its listing price, and is in high demand.

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