The next affordable city is already too expensive

Mr. Silbar, the real estate agent, has sold it twice in the past three years. For the first time, in November 2019, he represented a buyer who offered a price of $168,000 and received it with no drama. This year it was back on the market and Mr. Silbar listed it for $250,000. Fourteen offers and a bidding war later, it ended at $300,000.

When Mr. Silbar got into the business, he said, his clients were “nurses and teachers”, and now they are company managers, engineers and other professionals. “What you can get in Spokane has completely changed,” he said.

Typical house in Spokane area worth it $411,000, according to Zillow. This is still a lot cheaper than markets like the San Francisco Bay Area ($1.4 million), Los Angeles ($878,000), Seattle ($734,000) and Portland ($550,000). But it’s dizzying (and infuriating) to long-term residents.

Five years ago, more than a half Homes in the Spokane area sell for less than $200,000, and about 70% of the employed population can afford to buy a home, according to a recent report commissioned by the Spokane Realtors Association. Today, less than 5 percent of homes — several dozen homes per month — are selling for less than $200,000, and less than 15 percent of the area’s employed population can afford a home. A recent survey by real estate brokerage Redfin, found that homebuyers moving to Spokane in 2021 have 23% more budgets than locals have.

One of Mr. Silbar’s clients, Lindsey Simler, a 38-year-old nurse who grew up in Spokane, wanted to buy a house in the $300,000 range but kept losing money because she didn’t have enough cash to compete. Spokane isn’t so competitive that it’s flooded with all-cash offers, as some markets set prices higher. However, prices have risen so rapidly that many homes are priced below their selling price, forcing buyers to pay higher sums to cover the difference.

After dozens of failed sales, Ms. Simler decided to sit out of the market for a while because the persistent losses were demoralizing. If prices don’t come down, she says, she’s thinking about becoming a travel nurse. With a healthcare workforce dwindling by Covid-19, the travel nurse pays much more and will hopefully allow her to save more on upfront payments.

“I haven’t gotten to the point where I want to give up living in Spokane, because I have family here and it feels like home,” she said. “But traveling nursing would be my next step if I can’t buy a home yet.” The next affordable city is already too expensive

Fry Electronics Team

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