SPOKANE —The Spokane area's housing market boom is likely to persist, as Realtor.com forecasts the Lilac City will be among the top housing markets in the nation next year.

The real estate website projects the Spokane area will be the third-hottest market in the nation in 2022 based on levels of competition for homes, price and sales growth predicted to continue into next year.

Housing demand will remain brisk in Spokane because of its relative affordability compared with larger West Coast metros, robust job market, schools, proximity to outdoor activities and influx of out-of-area buyers, Realtor.com said.

Spokane — especially during the pandemic — has been attracting retirees and remote workers who left more expensive metros, such as Seattle and San Francisco, in search of property with more space.

"We do remote work and social distancing pretty well here, but we don't have a hugely dense population ... I think we're starting to be a little bit more higher on the list for people looking where to move," said Tom Clark, broker with Kestell Co. Realtors and governmental affairs committee chair for the Spokane Association of Realtors.

Realtor.com named Salt Lake City the top housing market for 2022, followed by Boise. Seattle ranked eighth on the list.

The website ranked the top 10 housing markets in the nation by analyzing data on projected home sales and price growth in the next year. It also examined new construction activity as well as economic, household and income growth.

Spokane garnered high interest from potential homebuyers in Seattle, San Francisco and San Jose based on the number of website views of homes in the market, according to Realtor.com's website data.

Many of the top markets have strong economies and growing tech scenes, which potential homebuyers find desirable, according to Realtor.com.

The Realtor.com report indicates the Spokane area's median home price is $419,803 with an anticipated price growth of 7% in the next year.

That median price, however, differs from Spokane Multiple Listing Service data cited by local real estate agents because it likely doesn't categorize sales by acreage or if they are waterfront properties.

"If we are in that 7-8% appreciation, or increase, in prices, I think that would bode well for buyers and still be very positive for sellers," Clark said, adding Spokane's annual home-price growth has been about 20% each of the past couple of years.

Spokane County's median closed home price was $375,000 in November, a 21.2% increase compared to the $309,500 median price in November 2020, according to data from the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types in October was $353,900, up 13.1% from $313,000 in October 2020, according to the National Association of Realtors. November data is not yet available.

Some 677 single-family homes and condos on less than 1 acre sold locally in November, a 1.5% decrease compared to 687 homes in November 2020, according to data from the Spokane Association of Realtors.

Spokane County had 397 homes available on the market in November, representing an 18-day supply of inventory. That means it would take more than three weeks to sell all the available homes. By comparison, the county had inventory of 335 properties on the market in November 2020.

Spokane Association of Realtors President Eric Johnson thinks there will continue to be "upward mobility" in the local housing market in 2022, but activity won't be as frenetic as this year.

"It still seems like there is a decent amount of in-migration from other markets and, also, there is still a lot of people shifting equity within our market, too," Johnson said.

Millennials are looking for their first home, older buyers are seeking larger properties and retirees are downsizing, he said.

"We are seeing activity at every level," Johnson said. "I think that's going to continue."

Market activity, however, could be dependent upon whether interest rates rise next year, Johnson added.

Clark echoes that Spokane's market next year will be competitive, but the frenzy seen in past years will level off slightly, allowing buyers more housing choices.

"I've got my fingers crossed we'll have a little bit more inventory and buyers will have a few more options," he said.

___ (c)2021 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) Visit The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) at www.spokesman.com Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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