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Market movement continues

by Kim Cooper & Special to
| April 11, 2010 9:00 PM

March statistics are complete and the pace of 2010 single family home sales continues to outperform previous years. As the table clearly shows we have surpassed both 2008 and 2009 year to date in number of sales. This renewed activity is welcome news to many of us although our average prices still languish below those previous years. Overall, our single family home price is still off 5 percent from the same time period in 2009.

March statistics are complete and the pace of 2010 single family home sales continues to outperform previous years. As the table clearly shows we have surpassed both 2008 and 2009 year to date in number of sales.

This renewed activity is welcome news to many of us although our average prices still languish below those previous years. Overall, our single family home price is still off 5 percent from the same time period in 2009.

This affordability is no doubt one of the factors driving the 33 percent increase in sales YTD over 2009.

Low interest rates on loans are another obvious factor. We predicted that interest rates would begin to rise at the end of March and that prediction has held true. Last week saw the 30-year rate break 5 percent for the first time in months. As of Friday the interest rate for a 30-year conventional loan was at 5.25 percent. Economists are predicting a steady rise and 6 percent is within sight. All in all though, rates remain very favorable when compared to the last 30 years.

As everyone knows by now, the tax credits for first-time homebuyers and existing homeowners who move, will be over in 19 days. Offers accepted after April 30 will no longer qualify for this program which we all can agree has helped move houses.

The USDA's Rural Development loan program which has helped move real estate in rural areas may be why our North County category continues to perform exceptionally well. YTD sales there reflect a strong 33 percent increase in numbers with an average price that is up 5 percent over 2009. Unfortunately, this program is nearly out of money and unless Congress takes special measures, will remain out of money until their new fiscal year in October.

Since the RD program does not apply to Coeur d'Alene we are pressed to determine the increase there. YTD are up in numbers, having sold 46 percent more units than at this time last year with an average price that is off 1 percent. No doubt the good selection of inventory, low interest, tax credits and price adjustments are all contributing factors.

With interest rates rising, tax credits expiring and apparent inventory absorption we are cautiously optimistic about future activity. The balance of the year will be the true measure. For now, we can only say, "So far, so good!"

If you, or someone you know is the wait-and-see type, this week brings opportunity for you to see. Locally, we are holding open-house events at more than 300 listings in all price ranges. You may see something you like and have an enjoyable day touring North Idaho and dozens of homes. If you do find what you like, you still have time to get a tax credit (which does not have to be repaid) and you can still get a relatively low interest rate.

Happy hunting!

To find a Realtor to represent you or to search the Multiple Listing Service for suitable properties, visit the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors Web site; www.cdarealtors.com.

Kim Cooper is a Realtor broker and the spokesman for the Coeur d'Alene Association of Realtors. Kim and the association invite your commentary and feedback. You may contact them by calling 667-0664 or by writing to them at 409 W. Neider, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815.

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