Isaiah Paine, SHBA; Rob Higgins, SAR; Stan Sidor, CRE; Joel White, SHBA; Paige Mueller, CRE; Eric Etzel, SAR; Jackie Buhn, CRE; Darin Watkins, SAR

National Housing Experts Uncover Tremendous Opportunity for Housing Growth in the Spokane area

(Spokane) – A team of renowned real estate and policy experts from across the country has found an untapped potential for housing growth in the Spokane area. That is preliminary finding of a consultants from the Counselors of Real Estate’s CRE® Consulting Corps. The team spent this week interviewing policy makers, developers, and civic leaders across Spokane.

“We see tremendous opportunity here,” said team leader Jackie Buhn, (CRE®) with The Counselors of Real Estate. “And we’d like to refocus the conversation towards building communities and a more vibrant neighborhoods of which housing must be a key component.”

The team was brought to Spokane in collaboration with the Spokane Association of REALTORS®, Washington REALTORS® and The Spokane Home Builders Association.

“We are excited to learn of the tremendous untapped potential for housing opportunities in Spokane,” said Eric Johnson, President of the Spokane Association of REALTORS®. “We believe this demonstrates Spokane may have an  opportunity for adding to our badly needed housing supply”

“Spokane has faced a lack of housing for decades and now the situation has reached crisis levels,” said Joel White, President of the Spokane Home Builders Association. “We are grateful the Counselors of Real Estate have leant their broad experience to our local issues. It is abundantly clear that we know what we need to do. We have studied and talked about the issue for a long time. This study makes it clear: now is the time for action.”

The goal of the CRE® Consulting Corps is to bring innovative and proven solutions from similar cities across the country, develop an unbiased, objective review of relevant demographic and housing data, examine barriers to development, share best practices, and present implementable solutions to increase housing options that will meet the full range of the city’s housing needs.

“Every leader we spoke with recognizes the urgency needed in finding housing solutions,” said Stan Sidor, MAI, AI-GRS, CRE and Senior Vice President of Tacoma’s Kidder Mathews. “The critical challenge is to better align the policies in place by local governments with the real needs of people.”

Among the team’s preliminary findings:

  • The City of Spokane should hire a Planning Director and build a more cohesive connection between the city’s operations, planning commission and area developers.
  • Regional Zoning Codes can be updated to allow for more usable lands: the Comprehensive Plans must match Zoning laws in an easy-to-use structure for builders and developers
  • Policy measures must allow builders to achieve market returns to encourage development
  • Financial Incentives must be part of the solution to attainable housing
  • Approach the problem with the concept that every parcel is developable – but cost factors and regulations can be a barrier to development. Consider redevelopment where it can achieve returns.
  • Neighborhood councils should be a starting place for many of these conversations asking the key question – “What do you want your community to be?”

The Counselors of Real Estate is an international group of accomplished leaders solving complex real estate challenges. Experienced and credentialed problem solvers, Counselors practice in 20 countries and offer expertise in more than 50 real estate disciplines across all asset types and classes. Each has earned the CRE® designation.

A full report from the team is expected in November.

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