Archive for Coeur d’Alene

North Idaho Real Estate Market by the Numbers

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

chartWell we are wrapping up another block buster year for Coeur d’Alene Real Estate Sales.  The Idaho Panhandle has continued to witness an economy that seems to be firing on all cylinders.  Idaho unemployment claims continue to drop, new businesses are building and coming to the area and residential sales continue to escalate.

Looking at the November numbers as published by the Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors we saw in increase of nearly 5% in the number of residential home sales with an average price increase of 8.2%.  Waterfront homes were the biggest movers this year with price increases up 41%.  Last year the average waterfront home sale was $532,209 and this year it is $750,522.

Inventories too increased.  As local Sellers are reading about the improving real estate economy they have come off the sidelines to attempt to sell those property they were unable to move when the markets were depressed.  This inventory growth, coupled with low interest rates are proving beneficial for those Buyers entering the market place.

See Entire Report Here

For more information about the local market place contact me here or call me at 208-818-0002.  Thank you and Merry Christmas!

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Idaho Employment Update

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Economic conditions in Idaho were strong through September, a trend that began in early 2010.  See the complete Report distributed through the Idaho Department of Labor. See report here

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DSCN1544Money Crashers an online Guide to Your Financial Fitness recently published an article ranking the Coeur d’Alene area of Idaho among the Top 10 Best American Vacations Towns to Live Year Round.  The article featured North Idaho’s beauty, personality and its friendly business environment as key reasons Kootenai County has landed on so many’s radar.  Read Full Article Here

I am going to start off by apologizing for not writing as frequently as I would have liked.   2014 started off like a bang and we have been hopping ever since.  There was and is a strong follow through in Coeur d’Alene home sales this year after a booming 2013. But as I am sitting here writing this and looking at the housing numbers there is a definite difference.  2013 was a year we noticed a significant decline in inventories which helped stabilize prices.  Demand came back to us in spades which was the primary driver for the reduction in inventories.  But looking into the remainder of 2014 may be a different story.

So far year-to-date tells us that we have had only a slight increase (3%) in sales of single family home built on less than an acre in Kootenai County.  Areas such as Rathdrum and Northern Kootenai County showed the biggest lift with 44% and 13% year over year increases, respectively. 

Average prices though in this category grew 10% from this time last year and Median Prices grew 6%

Bank Owned Properties and Short Sales continue to decline and only make up 18% of the market in this category, vs. 24% last year.

Probably the greatest improvements we have noticed is that every price point above $200,000 has shown signs of improvements. For instance there were 165 homes that sold in the $300-$499k range last year at this time, vs. 180 homes this year.  The same holds true for those priced over $1mm.  Last year at this time there were 4 such sales and this year there have been 11.

There do however remain some holes in the market.  Waterfront and Secondary Waterfront sales are down 12% and 35% respectively, which is a little surprising as we have had a nicer spring this year versus last.  Also Residential sales on acreage (above 2 acres) have declined 21% from this time last year.

Finally one of the biggest keys I have been watching is the sharp increase in inventories.  Inventories in residential properties have increased over 15% from this time last year, and 18% in just the last month.  As the housing market has improved many people who were unsuccessful in selling their homes during the Great Recession have renewed their interest and are once again on the market.  The key going forward is to see if the demand can keep up with the increased supply to help extend the housing recovery in the Coeur d’Alene area.  Get the Full Report HERE

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Meet Coeur d’Alene Realtor – Kevin Bennett

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

DEC-2013 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter

Welcome to the most current Housing Trends eNewsletter. This eNewsletter is specially designed for you, with national and local housing information that you may find useful whether you’re in the market for a home, thinking about selling your home, or just interested in homeowner issues in general.

The Housing Trends eNewsletter contains the latest information from the National Association of REALTORS®, the U.S. Census Bureau and reports, videos, key market indicators and real estate sales statistics, a video message by a nationally recognized economist, maps, mortgage rates and calculators, consumer articles, plus local neighborhood information and more.

Please click here to view the DEC-2013 Newsletter Housing Trends eNewsletter.

If you are interested in determining the value of your home, click the Home Evaluator link for a free evaluation report.

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Where Did All the FSBOs Go!?

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

Coeur d’Alene Idaho’s real estate market is a typical four climate market wherein many Sellers take their homes off the market for the Holidays and then judge the best time to bring them back on, typically when the snow is gone and the grass is green.  Personally, I think this strategy is over played.  I have preached the benefits of leaving your home on the market in my past blog posts.  The main points here is the fact that the majority of your competition is off the market and those Buyers looking in the winter months tend to be more serious than those that like to tour homes as part of their Idaho vacations.  But I digress – this is not the topic of this blog post.  Instead I want to focus on the big decision each Seller has to process when considering the use of a locally Licensed Realtor® or going out on-their-own.

Only 9% of the Sellers Nationwide go the “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) route and 40% of those knew their Buyer in advance.  They generally sold their homes to neighbors, friends, business contacts or family.  If you carve out the remaining 60% of those FSBO sales 18% of those Sellers were directly contacted by Buyers who expressed an interest in purchasing their homes.  While I don’t have the local Coeur d’Alene real estate sales stats for this arena, I would estimate our ratios to be similar.

As you can image the FSBO strategy took a big hit in the depths of the recession as it became harder and harder to attract qualified Buyers.  But now that the North Idaho real estate market has completed its second full year of recovery, we have continued to see the number of FSBO attempts diminish.  Steve Cook published a great piece on the “Six Reasons why FSBOs are Fizzling in the Housing Recovery”.

Cook uncovers many of the pitfalls associated with trying to market and sell your own home.  From the legal ramifications of not understanding the laws around disclosures to breaching the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, just to name a couple.  Also, Seller’s often times don’t know how to price their homes, stage them to make them more appealing to potential buyers, or market them for the best outcome. 

Marketing is expensive and we use over 15 different websites to market properties in addition to print, flyer, direct mail and open houses.  We as Realtors® also interact daily with a sphere of other agents all representing Buyers.  FSBO Sellers don’t understand that in many cases these interactions lead to showings and ultimately sales.

I feel though that the two biggest reasons success in the FSBOs market has diminished is access to qualified Buyers and pricing.  Most Buyers have a basic understanding about the State Agency Laws and recognize they can benefit by having an agent represent their interests in the sales process.  This is really amplified in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho as we have so many people traveling to the area from other markets.  They want someone who knows the market and can help them find the best home in the best location.  The other big reason that Buyer’s seek out local Realtors® to represent them is because their Buyer’s Agent’s fee is usually paid for by the Seller of the home.  Therefore I believe that if the Seller has not been directly contacted by a Buyer in advance, or has a Buyer they know already in the wings they are likely to have a tough time attracting a qualified Buyer who has not already hired an agent to represent them in the home buying process. Ultimately most FSBO Sellers agree to pay the Buyer’s Agent’s fee to have access to their qualified Buyers.   

Finally, Pricing….  Often times Sellers rely on the fact that they don’t think they will need to pay any commissions when they price their home.  Their biggest strategy is to price their home aggressively to the market to generate Buyer activity.  We know that in 2013 the median home sold FBSO was $174,900. Whereas those homes sold though Realtors® in 2013 had a median sales price of $210,000. What compounds this reality even more is that many of the FSBOs end up paying the Buyer’s Agent’s fee so they netted even less.

As more Sellers understand the realities they too are leaving the do-it-yourself crowd to hire an experienced agent to professionally market their home and represent their interests in the process.  If you are looking to sell your home in the Coeur d’Alene area give us a call or contact us through our website at for your free market analysis and consultation.

Source: 2013 Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, (National Association of REALTORS® – Research, 2013).

On Thursday the National Association of Realtors reported that the number of sales in November fell 1.2% compared to those tallied in November 2012.  This was the first decrease noted in 29 months. Their report also goes on to report that the Median Price of those sales during the same time periods had an annual increase of  9.4%.

So how does the Coeur d’Alene Real Estate market compare?  Our year over year November sales remained the same.  In November 2013, 279 properties were successfully closed on the Coeur d’Alene Multiple Listing Service as compared to the 278 properties that closed in November 2012.  Furthermore we realized a gain in our median home sales of 7.9%.

While the numbers themselves are interesting data points the question is how to understand what is driving them and what does it mean for our Buyers and Sellers.  In researching these questions I ran across a really good article which may help shed some light on these questions. Nick Timiraos wrote in his Article 5 Reasons why Existing-Home Sales Slowed in November that the rapid increase in interest rates in June impacted some Buyer’s ability to qualify for a mortgage.  As interest rates rise the amount in which some Buyer’s could qualify decreased.  This coupled with the already reported rise in property prices may have essentially priced these Buyers out of the market.

Mr. Timiraos also touched on a point I know we are dealing with in the North Idaho Real Estate markets.  INVESTORS.  We have noted in a resent post that our distressed sales have dropped considerably in our marketplace and most investors have made their purchases early on and as prices increase the inventory of what is left is less desirable.

His remaining points also contribute to the overall outcomes we have realized thus far.  That being said there are still great opportunities to be had and while rates have increased beyond the 3.5% levels enjoyed in early 2013, 4.5% is still a great rate and should be sustainable into the beginning quarters of 2014.  But if you are a Buyer don’t wait!  We saw how rapidly rates increased last June and when they adjust they will adjust again sharply.

If you have any questions or need additional information about the local Coeur d’Alene Real Estate Market we would be happy to help. Please visit our website for all your North Idaho Real Estate needs at

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As we roll into the Holiday Season it is often a time when we have a chance to reflect on what has transpired in the last year.  This year is no exception and we were so blessed to experience a thriving Real Estate Market in the Coeur d’Alene area of North Idaho. 

Home sales in Coeur d’Alene were very strong in 2013.  We saw the number of home sales (residential homes on less than 2 acres) in Kootenai County increase by 27% with their average prices ballooning 11%. 

As the Idaho Real Estate Market strengthened we too saw a sharp reduction in the number of distressed sales such as Short Sales and Bank Owned (REO) homes.  In 2012 those types of distressed sales accounted for 33% of residential sales whereas in 2013 they only accounted for 17% of the total residential sales. 

When we look at the “Hot Price Targets” we enjoyed significant growth in the $200,000 to $499,000 market which attributed to 35% of all the sales so far in 2013 vs. only 25% in 2012. 

The Hottest Property Category in North Idaho was homes on more than 2 acres which witnessed a 14% increase in average prices.  The worst performing category remained waterfront with the number of sales dropping 12% and average prices down 6%. 

Inventories levels have stabilized.  There are 5,660 properties on our Coeur d’Alene MLS with 2,785 of those being residential homes for sale. 

You can check out the entire Coeur d’Alene Real Estate Market Report here and as always call or email me if you have any questions or we can help you with your real estate needs. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

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Big Banks Ease Down Payment Requirements

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

Oh I recall the days of the free money.  In fact I will never forget the meeting I had with a mortgage lender when I left a 15 year career with a major financial institutions in the mid west to become a REALTOR in Coeur d’Alene.  It went something like this:

Bank, “So I see here you were in investment management and now you want to sell homes in North Idaho”

Me, “Yeah that about it”

Bank, “Will you have any other household income”

Me, “No”

Bank, “How much do you think you’ll make each year”

Me, “Don’t know…. but I’d like to qualify for up to $250,000 and I don’t have 20% to put down”

Bank, “We can figure that out and as far as the down we will loan that to you as well.  Congratulations your approved”

Now, looking back it was an odd conversation but one that was not unusual.  Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely grateful the bank took a chance on me and so far it worked out well for all involved.

But once the financial market fallout occurred banks had not choice but to tighten standards so that it became a very tedious process to get a loan.  You could still get them mind you but the process was drawn out and every application went through several phases of underwriting.

Well times may be changing again as this recent article by

Contact me at if you have any real estate needs or questions.



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