SPOKANE — The Spokane County real estate market was bustling with activity in August, but not enough to drive up home sales, as persistently high demand and low inventory continued to be the norm.

Home sales declined 5% last month compared to August 2018, according to data from the Spokane Association of Realtors.

More than 869 single-family homes and condominiums on less than 1 acre sold last month, down from 915 homes in August 2018, according to the Realtors association.

“Every month this year, we’ve had sales down compared to the same month last year,” said said Rob Higgins, executive officer for the Spokane Association of Realtors.

The median closing price was up 9% in August at $267,000, compared to $245,000 in August 2018.

“Inventory is still very tight and that will continue to slow down our sales, and we’ll continue to see prices going up because of lack of supply,” Higgins said.

Under the association’s former real estate market tracking system, housing inventory last month improved 6.8% over August 2018, with 1,559 properties on the market representing a 1.9-month supply.

However, the association has since switched to a new tracking system that doesn’t include home sales contingent upon inspections, saying it more accurately reflects the amount of homes people are seeing on the market.

The association’s new system reports Spokane County had 961 properties on the market in August, representing a 1.1-month supply. A healthy housing market contains a six-month supply.

Even though buyer activity typically tapers off in the fall and more housing becomes available, it’s likely that Spokane will continue to be a hot market, said Kyle Krug, a broker with John L. Scott Real Estate.

“It is still going to be a multiple-offer situation,” Krug said. “There will be less of a buyer pool than in July or August, but it’s still going to be a strong market for the seller.”

Spokane’s real estate market remains strong for homes priced below $350,000, according to an August report by John L. Scott. There’s an extreme shortage of homes priced below $250,000 with an estimated 0.4-month supply, according to the report.

Higgins said it’s possible inventory could increase in the second half of the year, but not much.

“It’s a lot of the same, and we’ll work our way through the inventory issue, but for the foreseeable future, we’re going to have tight inventory and that just may be the new norm,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

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