Home sales keep rebounding in the Tri-Cities

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR is always following the housing market here in the Tri-Cities. It's a great indicator of our current economy and what's to come. The housing market can be a snapshot of the economy and its future. The summer months are known to be the biggest months for home sales. KEPR found out housing sales are pacing slightly ahead year to year, comparing January through August figures. 1,902 homes sold between January and August of 2011 compared to 1,936 in the same time period this year.

Andrea Schadewitz can't help but pick up a flyer when she sees a home for sale.

She says, "It does have a garage... I like that. I really need one of those."

She's trying to sell her house and move.

Andrea continues, "I'd really like to improve my neighborhood location, that's why I'm here."

Lucky for her, shoppers and market professionals agree it's a buyer's market right now in the Tri-Cities. For sale signs stand in neighborhoods across Kennewick, Pasco and Richland.

"There's some great deals right now."

The Tri-Cities has had a strong housing market even through the recession. About 2,200 homes sold in the Tri-Cities through September. Still, those sales are part of a decrease in the region covering the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and communities south of Spokane every year since 2009. For southeast Washington, roughly 3,200 homes sold in 2009, compared to roughly 3,000 in 2010, and then a rebound of 3,175 in 2011.

Reporter Melanie Tubbs asks, "So why aren't people buying?"
Port of Benton's Executive Director, Scott Keller explains, "Because they're a little bit nervous. Maybe the election, the overall economy that's hitting us now after the lull that hit the United States two years ago."

Compare the Tri-Cities to the national average for a city our size. If we are in a bubble that's not likely to trickle down for another couple years, the outlook doesn't look bright. Since 2009, the national housing trends haven't significantly improved. Yet, they haven't fallen off either.

Realtors and economists remain optimistic. They don't believe the Tri-Cities will sink too deeply if we continue to market the community as a whole.

Keller says, "We always talk about the Tri-Cities and how great it is to raise a family. People are looking at that right now and great weather and the prices are so reasonable."

Just more good news for buyers like Andrea. She looks around the corner of the house and shouts, "It has a garden!"

Taking advantage of a market that could give her a new home and new hope for our local economy.

So what about you sellers out there? It could be looking up in a couple weeks. KEPR found out that the month of November is the best month to sell in the Tri-Cities. For every 100 homes on the market, 20 of them sell in November.

*Editor's note: At the time of its original airing, this story noted sales were down year to year. This was an error. Sales had fallen for the region in recent years, but sales are up year to year for the Tri-Cities in the months covering January through August.