Award-Winning Project Spurred by NAR Grant

Spokane Home Builders and the CRE Consulting Corps stand with Spokane REALTORS®
Representatives from Spokane Home Builders and the CRE Consulting Corps stand with Spokane REALTORS®’ retired association executive Robert Higgins (second from left), President Eric Etzel (third from right) and Darin Watkins, governmental affairs director (right).

In 2022, census data showed that housing inventory in Washington state was the lowest in the country, and the city of Spokane, population 229,000, had only a two- to three-week supply of homes. To help address the crisis, Spokane REALTORS® implemented a National Association of REALTORS® grant to support an objective assessment of market conditions and roadblocks, plus a practical plan for moving forward.

After a strenuous application process, a Counselors of Real Estate Consulting Corps team—with experts in housing, economics and policymaking— conducted more than 30 interviews with Spokane lawmakers, developers and other housing stakeholders. “These stakeholders became vested partners in the recommendations moved forward by the group,” says Eric Johnson, 2020 Spokane REALTORS® president.

The CRE Consulting Corps effort resulted in the 89-page Action Steps to Increase Spokane’s Housing Supply report and a regional housing summit for stakeholders. It also laid the foundation for the city’s Building Opportunity and Choices for All (BOCA) interim ordinance, which put in effect zoning changes that included allowing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes citywide, allowing townhomes on all residential lots, and reducing vehicle parking requirements, building height increases and more.

elcome sign to Spokane

© Spokane REALTORS®

A sign welcomes travelers to Spokane near the eastbound I-90 and Maple Street exit.

The city of Spokane recently earned a 2023 Smart Communities Award from Gov. Jay Inslee, and the interim ordinance has since become a permanent project called Building Opportunity for Housing.

The CRE Consulting Corps project was funded by Spokane REALTORS®, Washington REALTORS®, Spokane Home Builders Association, and a Housing Opportunity Grant from the REALTOR® Party.

“The CRE Consulting Corps project likely added to the body of work that propelled this zoning project forward,” says Darin Watkins, governmental affairs director at Spokane REALTORS®. “REALTORS® here believe this project is critical to our future. The backing by the REALTOR® Party played a key role in helping us defend the rights of housing.”

Adds Tiffany Claxton, RCE, Spokane REALTORS® CEO, “In addition to infill opportunities allowing for multifamily units in the city, a record number of new residential construction permits have been one of the key developments along with the townhome regulations, which were a specific recommendation of the CRE Consulting Corps report.”

Spokane REALTORS® recommends any association facing housing opportunity issues to enlist the services of the CRE Consulting Corps as an additional resource and advocate for their communities, cities and municipalities.

Housing Opportunity Grants



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