Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane real estate industry expects healthy year

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Strong activity in the real estate sector will continue on into 2018, some industry professionals say.

Larry Soehren, president and CEO of Spokane-based commercial real estate and property management company Kiemle & Hagood Co., says the overall commercial real estate market is “active and robust.”

“I think the energy and economic engine of Spokane continues to grow, and the commercial real estate market will continue to benefit from that,” says Soehren.

He says Kiemle & Hagood Co.’s sale transaction volume increases each year, and the value of all real estate transactions in 2017 for the company will be “well north of $150 million.” 

He expects industry growth will continue next year across numerous property types, including industrial, office, and retail. 

Dan R. Cantu, owner of Spokane Valley-based Cantu Commercial Properties LLC, agrees that 2017 was a solid year.

For 2018, Cantu says, “I’m excited. I imagine everyone’s had probably the best year that they’ve had in the last 10 years.”

Across the office, industrial, and retail markets here, Cantu says the industrial market is experiencing the lowest vacancy rates.

Soehren says part of that tight market has to do with the legalization of marijuana. Since legalization, companies in that industry have been leasing large amounts of industrial space for indoor marijuana growing operations, he says.

Results from a November survey from Spokane Valley-based Valbridge Property Advisors|Auble, Jolicoeur & Gentry Inc. reported 2.2 percent vacancy in industrial space in the county, down from 4.3 percent in 2016.

For the office market, however, spaces surveyed in the central business district had a 16.6 percent vacancy rate, up from 15.6 percent a year earlier.

The most recent survey also found vacancy rates for retail space within the CBD averaged 9.8 percent, compared to 21.6 percent in October 2016. 

Cantu says, “The forecast is, we’re all doing better, and hopefully office will be as good as industrial, but maybe not next year.”

In the residential sector, 2017 is on track to have the second highest number of completed home sales in the Spokane Association of Realtors’ history, with 7,479 transactions through November, says Rob Higgins, executive vice president of the association. In 2016, the association recorded 6,927 sales closed through November.

The most sales closed in a year recorded by the association was in 2006, at 8,373 sales, says Higgins.

Residential statistics presented from the Spokane Association of Realtors are for single family houses on less than one acre and also include condominiums, says Higgins.

The association projects the year-end number of residential sales to be 8 percent higher than the 2016 figure of 7,571 sales, he says.

Higgins says, the association is predicting a 4 percent gain in volume next year compared with 2017.

“With a 4 percent increase in next year, 2018 might be a record year as far as a number of sales,” he says.

Through November the 2017 median home sales price was $210,000, up 7.7 percent from the year-earlier period.

Samantha Peone
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Reporter Samantha Peone joined the Journal in 2015 as research coordinator before later transitioning into a reporter role. She covers real estate and construction.

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