As a result, rental costs have also skyrocketed.

“It creates a two-caste system,” Watkins said of rising housing costs. “The well-to-do are happy with the growth in their home equity. “

But for low-income people, “their costs continue to rise,” he said.

“The poor, the minorities are under-represented in the home ownership model,” Watkins said.

Ben Stuckart, executive director of the Spokane Low-Income Housing Consortium, called on the city of Spokane to declare a housing emergency.

On the other end of the spectrum, Coeur d’Alene, built along the shores of a beautiful lake, has flourished as a destination for the rich and famous and well-off retirees. A custom luxury estate just steps from Lake Coeur d’Alene is currently on the market for $ 27 million, making it the most expensive home listed in Idaho.

But not all the rich are drawn to the region. Amazon has created around 4,000 jobs in the Spokane area over the past year and plans to add 1,000 more. Other employers are also expanding. But many jobs don’t pay well enough to afford a house, Watkins said.

Spokane County currently lacks about 32,000 homes, while one in five homes sold in Spokane County is selling for cash, he said.

The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene region has a population of over 745,000 and is ranked 71st among the combined metropolitan areas of the country, between Lexington, Ky., And Syracuse, NY



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