Condo Sales Slumping In Spokane

SPOKANE — Right now in Spokane County, there are 239 vacant condos. For developers, selling those condos is getting a lot more difficult.

Realtors say with the recent drop in home sales, condo living is becoming less desirable. Since the supply grossly outweighs the demand, buyers are becoming more selective, leaving the once booming condo market sinking.

Location is still king in real estate, but timing is a close second.

“I think we’ve been on the market almost a year here,” says George Doran. “It’s been difficult because of the neighborhood and I think the location is very good.”

Doran, a commercial and residential builder for nearly 30 years, admits he may have misjudged the Spokane market when he starting building a high-end, four-unit condo in Peaceful Valley a few years ago.

“I thought it would happen a lot faster,” he says. “I thought it would happen a lot faster, but that’s just not the way it went, so here we are trying to do the best we can.”

When Doran broke ground, the condo market was ripe. An average of 300 condos were selling every year. But this year, that number’s cut in half.

Realtor Ron McIntire says the recent downturn in the economy and drop in condo sales is creating a fear in the minds of potential buyers.

“If I buy a condo, am I gonna be able to resell that condo in two to three years from now when I’m ready to sell again,” McIntire says. “And if you see the trend and it’s a downward trend, you’re thinking, no, I’m not gonna be able to resell that condo three years from now.”

McIntire says investors trying to lure young urban professionals downtown by refurbishing or renovating apartments and lofts may not realize the majority of their buyers are those 55-plus, and it’s this demographic that doesn’t want to risk the investment.

“If you take the equity out of a nice home on the South Hill, do you really want to put it into a downtown condo if your fear is that market is gonna drop?” says McIntire. “It wouldn’t make sense. The only way I can see it making sense is to guarantee that won’t happen.”

Despite the lack of offers and foot traffic, Doran remains optimistic, and even plans to build another project just down the street from his Peaceful Valley condos.

5.07.45-57 “I think this is a neighborhood that’s in a point of transition and it’s the nicest property in spokane,” Doran says. “It’s only a few minutes from downtown Spokane and yet it’s its own little community here.”