Packed In: ‘Our money is just going nowhere’: Millennials priced out of Spokane housing market
SPOKANE, Wash. — More millennials want to buy a home, but that’s getting harder to do in the Inland Northwest. Spokane now has the 2nd fewest homes for sale in young midsize U.S. cities which means younger buyers are left out and stuck renting for longer than they’d like.
The report comes from Hire A Helper which looked at more than 200 cities across the country. With more people moving in, long-time families see their dream of home ownership disappearing.
“If it does get to that point where it’s just too expensive for us to live, then I think we’ll start considering that,” said Spencer Batt, a Spokane native who’s stuck renting.
Batt and his wife thought home ownership would be more attainable, but they can’t keep up with cashed-up buyers who can afford more than them. They’re settling with renting for now, but don’t want to do that long-term. It’s an issue because they also don’t want to leave a city they love.
“We’re both from Spokane. Our church is here. Our friends, family, they’re all here, so we really like it,” he said.
Batt wants to own a home, so they can see some return on their monthly payments. Renting doesn’t give them the same payout.
“It feels like our money is just going nowhere,” Batt said. “I would like this over $1,000 to see some sort of return on it. That’s my goal with home ownership is to eventually keep building and building on those returns.”
Spokane’s home prices went up 30 percent this past year. The city’s an attractive option for people who can work from home, and see Spokane as more affordable than the places they’re moving in from. However, it’s becoming less affordable for locals.
“Right now, you don’t have an infrastructure given the home price rises to provide those starter homes,” said Paige Mueller, a Real Estate Consultant with the Counselors of Real Estate.
Ten years ago, only 1 percent of homes sold for over $500,000 in Spokane. Last year, 20 percent of homes went for those prices.
“That’s not a price that your community can support for most of your citizens,” she added.
Batt sees more rental options but is concerned housing developments are falling behind.
“There’s just so many apartment complexes going around everywhere. It’d be nice if there was housing options, more developments that were going in,” Batt said. “That would be really nice.”
The Counselors of Real Estate is an international consulting firm that’s meeting with community leaders and building experts to offer an outside perspective on the issue. They’ll release a full report on ways the city can address the housing issue in November.
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