Posted by Charles Rehberg on Mar 04, 2019
North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
March 4, 2019
Rotary calendar:
            March 11: Rotary Connects: Gathering starts at 4:30 p.m. at Davenport Grand Hotel Lounge, Washington and Spokane Falls Blvd. (And it’s Happy Hour!)
            March 18: Lunch meeting at Nectar in Kendall Yards. Speaker TBA.
            March 23 and/or March 25: Sorting work groups at 2nd Harvest food bank.  A few of our six slots are open on each date at 1 p.m.  Email President Lenore Romney for further details.
            April 1: Luncheon meeting at Nectar. 3rd quarterly update with President Romney.
            Golden anniversary: Member Art Rudd joined Rotary North in 1969, and to celebrate his 50th anniversary with the club he donated $50 to the sergeant-at-arms collection on March 4.  Well done Art and congratulations!! 
            Footwear welcome:   The Colville Rotary Club and its Interact Club are gathering “gently used” shoes (men’s, women’s and children’s) to turn into cash for the Interact club’s June community service project in Ecuador.  Please bring your shoe donations to the March 18 luncheon. 
            Online auction: Rotary South has a travel auction online continuing until March 15, raising money for scholarships, books for kids and other service projects.  The link is
            Golden Heroes: Eric Johnson and President Romney will represent the club in greeting the winners at Holmes Elementary School’s “Golden Heroes” program March 22 at 1:30 p.m.
It’s cold outside, except in Real Estate offices  
            The Spokane area weather has been frigid lately, but the real estate market continues red hot.
            Home-builders and apartment-builders are scrambling to find qualified laborers and inventories for homes and rental units are the lowest in several years.
            That means home prices have risen across the board.
            Club member Eric Johnson updated the numbers at the March 4 luncheon.
            Eric is broker/owner of Coldwell Banker Tomlinson North and real estate is a big part of his family.  His dad, Leroy Johnson, now retired, joined the real estate classification in Rotary North in 1973.  Eric’s brother was a club member in real estate and their sister, Melinda Denton is in CBT South.
            How busy is the industry here? Eric said generally Spokane real estate transactions are about 6,000 a year.  In 2018, there were 8,212 transactions.
            Inventory of houses from 2014 to 2017 ranged from 1,400 to 1,100 in successive years until 2018, when inventory was just 700 houses for sale, he said.
            “We still have the start of a boom cycle,” Johnson said, “and we can’t build houses fast enough.”
            He added: “There is not enough labor.  Contractors can work 24/7.”
            The average new house price for 1,500-2,200 square feet is about $347,000 and many others list over $400,000, Johnson said.  Several years ago, few houses cost more than $300,000.
            Apartment rents also are going steadily up, with increases every year on most units, he said.
            “National (housing rates) has cooled off,” Johnson said, adding, “when they cool off, we go up.”
            Eric, who also is a member of the Washington Association of Realtors, said with large job growth, including Amazon and extra tankers at Fairchild Air Force Base, “we’re in for a ride.”
            He said seven years ago nearly one in three units was “in distress,” with short-sales and foreclosures.  Now that rate is just 2-3 percent.
            Johnson said the housing rate also is red hot on the West Plains, but also in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene.  Even the Silver Valley is getting more business, he said.
            One segment that is not quite as hot, he said, is older homes with four or five bedrooms, because family size is smaller now “and no one wants to clean those older big homes.”
The bulletin producers:
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Photos: Sandy Fink and Eric Johnson