Tax Appeals, Right-to-work, Crime, Hotsheet Week-in-Review, Year-To-Date

This will be one ginormous post, packed with lots of information and details.  Read on and let me know your thoughts . . .

Overview of this week in real estate in the Coeur d’Alene area:

Coeur d'Alene Parkway Centennial Trail & Coeur d'Alene LakeKootenai County property owners appeal assessments: Board of Equalization has heard appeals on 335 properties this year.

This one is interesting . . . most homeowners don’t realize the value of your property must be based on values as of January 1st, 2011 – it looks like owners appealing this year brought in current appraisals – sad really – they paid several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal that will do nothing for them.

We provide a free service to area homeowners to help them determine if they can benefit from an appeal.  We had several homeowners that applied for this service – several were higher end property owners in cases where we knew we could provide them enough evidence to lower their values but significant amounts, in one case, by nearly a million dollars.  While it appears very few people (335) are appealing and the article states that even fewer are obtaining a reduction in their property values, it’s because of the evidence they bring to the appeal process.  While it’s too late this year to appeal your property value, be prepared for 2012!

Kootenai County to rewrite development laws: Citizens Congress meetings will seek resident feedback.

If you are at all interested in shaping what the county looks like in land use matters from zoning districts to building standards, sign ordinances to shoreline regulations and more, than this is definitely for you.

Hayden Canyon moves forward

Looks like the area might be getting another planned-unit-development (aka PUD) in the Hayden area.  Mixed-use, 1800+ units, hundreds of acres of recreational/open space.

Crime drops in Coeur d’Alene and Idaho: stats indicate upward trend in some areas of Kootenai County

Coeur d'Alene Sculpture Sherman Avenue

Everyone likes to know the safety of the area they live in, or want to live in.  Statistics are wonderful, but they don’t always portray how one “FEELS” about their safety.  Perception and reality are two very different animals.  I feel safe going anywhere, at any time throughout Kootenai County.  I also feel safe walking most streets of New York City.  However, I exercise different cautions in one than the other.  I love that I feel like I don’t have to lock my doors in North Idaho, that when I do lock them, it’s merely to prevent teen pranksters, not in the hopes that my car or home won’t be picked for a heist.  I also feel as though I have people watching out for me here.  I love North Idaho!

Survey Finds: Best workforces are in right-to-work states

This one can be politically controversial, especially if you lean in the opposite direction politically from the website that I found this summary article on.  Suffice it to say, Idaho is a right-to-work state, and this summary article is merely pointing out the survey (with results) done by CNBC.  If you are a business, Idaho is a highly viable option for your business: a strong work force, excellent quality of life, viable taxation and labor rates and much more.

What’s been going on with the residential real estate market in the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls area this past week?

Here’s the synopsis:

  • New listings – 242
    This would be new properties that are now available for sale or, properties that have not been for sale in over 30 days and have been re-listed for sale
  • Price changes – 146
    Either a price increase or a price reduction (typically they are price reductions)
  • Closings – 81
    The properties that had contracts on them that actually fulfilled their sales contract and changed owners over the past week
  • Pendings – 68
    Properties that accepted a contract to purchase and agreed on price and terms
  • Expired – 203
    The properties that  ran the course of their listing contract and failed to sell (time frames are all unique, the contract is between the agent and the seller)
  • Extensions – 150
    Properties that ran the course of their listing contract and renewed for another contract term (time frames are all unique, the contract is between the agent and the seller)
  • Back on market – 21
    Properties that have been relisted with the same agent that were off the market for less than 30 days
  • Canceled – 29
    Properties that decided not to sell and canceled their contract to sell

You can check out the weekly hot sheet and look at some of these properties yourself.  Enjoy!

What’s been going on with the real estate market this past month and year-to-date?

The weather has been going on!  How does that affect the market?  People are getting their vitamin D, are feeling happy and are in the mood to make a change – relocate, buy a home, sell a home, play, and more.

Let’s take a look at the reality behind the activity.  Here are a couple things I keep seeing being touted, usually by agents who are talking about the market, sometimes they are even quoted by journalists.


  • I’m busy busy busy – working with lots of buyers
  • Home values are going up
  • More properties are selling
  • We’ve hit bottom

Let’s delve into them as we review the truth of the real estate market in the Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls area.

Graph of the Number of listings and listing prices in Kootenai County

Number of listings

  • As you can see, the number of active listings is increasing.  This is normal and on par for our typical increase every year at this time.  Every spring and summer you’ll see an increase in the number of properties that go on the market for sale.
  • As far as new listings, while there was a jump from December to January, the number of new listings going on the market each month is holding steady.
  • Sold listings we are seeing a slight increase, which again, is typical for our seasonal market.  This is not surprising nor unexpected.  This is not an indication of an improving home sale market in the North Idaho area.

Listings Prices

  • The active median list price took a jump from May to June.  This means one of two things (or a combination of both), that either people who own homes at a higher price point are putting them on the market or, people are putting their homes on the market at a slightly higher price than they would have 3-4 months ago.
  • As far as the new median list price, it doesn’t know what it’s doing.  Looks like to me agents and their clients got a little excited about the market and started pumping up the listing prices.  For the time period of August 2010 to December 2010, it looks like agents and their sellers were getting realistic about the market and pricing their homes closer to what it was likely to sell for (which results in a stronger market).  However, something spread in the water in January and it appears new listings are being priced too high.
  • The sold median sales price just keeps dropping.  Isn’t that interesting.  While we keep raising the prices of new listings, what people are actually buying keeps going down.

Graph of North Idaho absorption rate and sold to list price ratio

Absorption Rate

  • Absorption rate is the time it would take to sell every property that is on the market, available for sale today.  This means that as long as no other properties are put on the market, it would take 20 months to sell everything that is currently listed for sale.
  • The idea absorption rate is 5-7 months.  This is an indication of a solid, balanced real estate market.
  • From September of 2010 until January of 2011, I was getting slightly excited.  It appeared as though our market was becoming more and more balanced.  That is until February and as you can see through June, our absorption rate just keeps going up.
  • What does this mean?  It means one of two things (or more likely, a combination of both), that there are not enough buyers buying and that sellers are over pricing their properties.

Sold to List Ratio

  • This is another indicator of how our Coeur d’Alene area real estate market is doing.  It helps determine how well homes are being priced compared to the price buyers are paying.  It is detrimental that you know this information when pricing your property.
  • It’s the price the buyer actually pays for a property versus the price the property was listed at when the buyer made the offer.  This statistic does NOT give us a true perception because it does not show any price reductions the property may have done while it was on the market, before it received an offer that was accepted.
  • Right now, it looks like homes that are selling are accepting offers at about 91% of the list price.  For example, if your home is priced at $200,000, it is likely that it will sell for $182,000.  That’s a big chunk.  It’s a 9% price reduction.

Graph of Days on market and price volume

Days on Market

  • The days on market is a reflection of only properties that have sold.  This is not an indicator of the overall average of every property, and it does not include homes that never sell.
  • Our market tends to hover in the 120-140 days on market territory and has done this for 15 years or more.  There have been rare situations when days on market have been lower, but very rare.
  • Days on market shows the date the property was put on the market and the date it closed (changed hands).  It does not reflect if the property was put on the market and then taken off the market for a month or more and then put back on the market.  It’s not a fully accurate depiction, but it is helpful when watching overall trends.
  • The days on market means any number of things including: the amount of time it took to market the property and get an accepted offer or the amount of time it took for the buyer to close the property (things like lending and buyer qualification affect this)

Price Volume

  • Essentially just an interesting statistic.  It tends to move in correlation with number of solds and median sold price

Summary statistics for kootenai county real estate

Summary Statistics

  • Right now, year to date, we are seeing a reduction in almost all things – a slightly lower absorption rate (month-over-month), a large reduction in prices (medians and averages, listings and solds)
  • We see a higher absorption rate as well as a higher days on market.

statistics of sold listings and pending listings

Sold Listings

  • A nice break down by price range.  Month over month, we see a slight increase in the total number of solds. However, when looked at year to date compared to last year to date, sales are down 3.2%.  This shows a continuing downward trend in the number of sales, slight, but still declining.
  • Another thing to look at, homes sold by price range.  a 23% increase in sales sounds great, but when you realize it means that 4 more homes sold in that price range then last year, it doesn’t sound so great (when looking at the $250,000 to $300,000 price range as an example).  You do have to look at both numbers and make your analysis.

Pending Listings

  • When looking at pending listings, the trend shows something different. With a 55% increase in pending properties, this should be an indicator of an increase in solds.  Not always.  Right now we have a 7% overall increase in pendings (year over year), we’ll have to see if these are a reflection of short-sales being reported as pending when they have an offer (since less than 20% of short-sales actually close, this will definitely skew the pending numbers) or a reflection of viable contracts that will close.
  • To determine if the pending listing trend is going to affect the sold listing trend, we need to watch the solds carefully over the next 2-3 months and compare them year over year.

active listings and new listings

Active Listings

  • An 11% decrease in the number of active listings month over month and a 12% decrease year over year.  It means fewer listings are available for sale this year than last year
  • This can be an indication that the market is getting healthier.  It is more likely an indication that many sellers either want more for their homes than they are worth (and are therefore ‘waiting out’ the market) or, they owe more than they can sell their homes for and are also ‘waiting out’ the market.

New Listings

  • The number of new listings going on the market is really decreasing, which tends to support the analysis in active listings.  With 17% fewer listings going on the market, this definitely helps the homes that are on the market have a better chance of selling.


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