North Notes
Spokane North Rotary Club Bulletin
November 16, 2020
            Projects: Coordinator Lenore Romney  will soon update plans for our “$40 for 40” gift drive for the needy children and families at Holmes Elementary.
            Spokane Connects:  A meeting – likely on Zoom – is planned at 4:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 14. President Steve Bergman plans some surprises during the on-line gathering.
            Doing well: Our speaker, Eric Johnson, said his dad, Leroy, a longtime former club member, has recovered well from a procedure to replace stents.  Eric said the new procedure was done by a physician who had participated in Leroy’s earlier procedure about 20 years ago.
            Reminder: Lenore mentions that November is Rotary Foundation Month.  This is a good time to remember all of the thousands of good deeds worldwide that clubs help around the globe and around their own neighborhoods.
            Happy Bucks: (Remember those?) Steve Bergman celebrated that his son, Bret,  completed an 8-month Navy deployment in the South China Sea and is now back on a base in Japan.
            Bill Simer celebrates this week as his second retirement awaits at his Eide-Baille position.  Bill said he planned retirement last year, but was asked to return to the firm.
            Brian Hipperson contributed an “un-happy buck,” as he finally got back to his gym “to open his locker for a change,” only to hear Gov. Inslee’s dictums that gyms must be closed for a month because of Covid.
Real Estate housing is soaring
            For many people, as the Covid chaos continues, this has been the worst of times.
            But for the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area’s residential areas, these have been the best of times.  Residential houses and apartments are selling faster than the proverbial hot cakes. Loan rates are staying near rock bottom.  And prices continue to soar at almost all levels.
            The only down sides are that there are not enough properties to sell and construction costs are soaring, too.
            Club member Eric Johnson, who is president of the Spokane Association of Realtors and a board member of area-wide and state associations, the sizzling data during the club’ Nov. 16 Zoom meeting.
            Eric said average house sales prices are $346,000, about double just 10 years ago.
            Average waiting time to sell is often about two weeks, when late-year typical sales five few years ago would average two months or more.
            “Two weeks now (for a house) now seems like three years then,” Johnson said.
            The lack of housing inventory puts on more price pressure on the properties, Eric said.
            “It’s like trying to sip a thick milkshake through a straw,” he said.
            With typical mortgage rates now under 3 percent, would-be buyers are eager to locate or relocate.  Apartments and house rentals are few and the monthly rents also are climbing steadily, Eric said.
            Housing sales prices have continued upward throughout the pandemic, with 40 sales listed at $1 million and more.
            Johnson said many of the top-end sales are in North Idaho, where, he says, “buyers from California show up on almost every plane load.”  Residents from Seattle and Portland also are scouring Inland Northwest properties, Eric said.
            While Spokane often tops $400,000 for new houses, Bellevue houses are above $700,000, he said.  “We are a bargain,” he said, “and we still have good reputations for schools and other things.”
            Asked about bigger traffic problems with growth here, Eric acknowledged the difficulties in several areas.  For example, traffic changes are needed near 57th and Regal, he said.  And new developments like the old Sun Dance Golf Course, planned
for hundreds of new homes, will further clog arterials like Francis and Indian Trail.
            Johnson said in the distant future, planners may even try to coax some residents, especially downtown, to avoid having cars at all.
            To that idea, Bill Simer, a noted “car guy,” said, “I’m not ready to drink that Kool-Aid anytime soon.”           
The bulletin editors:
           Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink