Spokane, Wash., home sales continued at a strong pace in November, with the market benefiting from mild temperatures and the lack of significant snowfall.

A total of 705 single-family homes and condos sold during the month, which represented a 16% increase from November 2016, according to the Spokane Association of Realtors. Home prices were higher, too. Last month's figure follows a 20% year-over-year increase in October.

The average sales price in Spokane County was $231,512 in November, a 12% increase compared to a year ago. The average median price was $209,950, which represented a 9% increase from a year ago.

Spokane, Wash.
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"Things are still humming along," said Jennifer Valerien, the owner/broker of Remax Inland Empire and president of the Spokane Association of Realtors. "Our trajectory has been on the upward swing, and it's continuing."

Demand for homes sometimes drops off during November and December, with fewer people interested in moving during the holidays. But in the Spokane area, the weather has a significant influence on the market, Valerien said.

Sunny skies and mild temperatures in the late fall tend to extend potential buyers' interest in shopping for a new house, Valerien said. Though, "we make it happen" whatever the weather, she said. "We've trudged through snow to look at vacant houses. I've had agents go out and buy snowshoes to show houses."

Because of job transfers to or from Spokane, there's a year-round market for showing homes, Valerien said. While the number of people looking at homes in the winter is smaller, they tend to be highly motivated buyers.

Nationally and locally, 2017 was characterized by strong demand for homes and inventory shortages.

The National Association of Realtors is projecting a stable residential real estate market in 2018, which should play out in the Spokane area, Valerien said.

Interest rates for mortgages are expected to increase slightly in the second half of the year. Some prospective buyers might be motivated to close on a property before the interest rates rise, Valerien said.

Locally, she expects to see demand for houses continue to outstrip supply.

"It's still a pretty tight market," she said. "I don't expect to see a big change in inventory."

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