Dr. Grant Forsyth of Eastern Washington University College of Business and Public Administration has compiled an area economic outlook for 2012. The good news is Agriculture and Retail sectors are on the increase while non-farm employment and income are trending upward. Initial filings for unemployment are down as well. It continues to be a forecast for choppy waters in the housing market however with an overall loss in equity predicted.
One thing of note in terms of residential real estate; with anecdotal value of course, is that for some on the buying side of things, it's a time of growing frustration in that the housing inventory has shrunk somewhat in various price ranges making it difficult to find the right place to buy. Will this trend that myself and many of my colleges are facing continue through Spring into Summer? I'm inclined to think that possibly with Spring and the change in weather, that more homes will come on the market. Still (and less inventory is supported with evidence in the data from the Spokane Association of Realtors) this decrease in inventory and increase in sales, if it continues, and at a time whereby foreclosure inventory is also shrinking, it could point in a direction of a stable market and ultimately one in certain categories that may show price increases. Of course nobody knows for sure how things will play out. It will be interesting to see and then revisit the 2012 outlook in 2013 and see how close it came to an accurate portrayal. Meanwhile with low interest rates, rock bottom prices, it appears to be a race to the finish line this year for those wishing to invest in real estate and get a great deal.
Finally, it's a tremendous value and asset to have research in motion here in our area. Not just in business, but in medical, biology, technology and all areas of academia. Having earned an undergraduate and graduate degree from Eastern Washington University, I'm proud to see our area University District at Riverpoint grow, as well as new projects and growth at Gonzaga across the river, Washington State University Spokane, and the central EWU campus at Cheney. Institutions of higher learning are smart investments in the regional economy. As we support growth in research and funding, we see the University community grow and along with it, various economic sectors. As the tide rises, so rise all boats, as the saying goes. Of course we are all interconnected nationally as well as globally, but isn't a marker of success within a civilization it's strength in the arts, sciences, and advanced disciplines? Spokane has so much potential, and we can grow big if we put our minds to it!