With Spokane and Coeur d’Alene in the heart of the region, the Inland Northwest offers residents the option to live in a vibrant urban culture, a comfortable suburban environment, or the scenic countryside. No matter where you live, the possibilities for outdoor recreation are endless with rushing rivers, majestic mountains, and rolling hills to explore.
The Inland Northwest region spans counties in both Eastern Washington and the northern Idaho panhandle. The climate is drier than the area to the west, primarily because of the distance from the sea and the location east of the Cascade Mountains. However, the seasons are not as moderate, with colder winters and hotter summers.
The region known as Eastern Washington technically encompasses all of the counties east of the Cascade mountain range. Because the region is so large, Adair Homes breaks it up into three areas: Central Washington, Mid-Columbia Valley, and Inland Northwest, which includes the easternmost counties.
Size: 1,781 square miles
Major cities: Spokane, Deer Park, Liberty Lake, Airway Heights, Cheney, Spangle
Median property value: $201,300
Spokane County is home to one of the largest cities in the state of Washington. With excellent schools, a thriving culture, and plenty to do for all ages, the Spokane area is home to both families and young professionals. Although the cost of living is higher than in some of the surrounding counties, it’s difficult to beat the combination of suburban living with easy access to nearby outdoor activities.
Pend Oreille County
Size: 1,425 square miles
Major cities: Newport, Cusick, Ione, Metaline
Median property value: $181,700
North of Spokane, on the eastern border of the state, Pend Oreille County prides itself as a place for residents who want “tech and rec.” Notable for its investment in high-speed internet, low energy costs, and small-town feel, the area is attractive to both families and retirees.
Size: 2,541 square miles
Major cities: Colville, Chewelah, Kettle Falls
Median property value: $174,800
The southeast corner of Stevens County is a great place for people who want to be near Spokane but have a lower cost of living and a more rural feel. The rest of the county is primarily dedicated to agriculture and is therefore less densely populated.
Size: 2,257 square miles
Major cities: Republic
Median property value: $164,400
Ferry County is also a rural area. In fact, it doesn’t even have a traffic light. People who want to live a quiet lifestyle on a larger plot of land should consider this area of Eastern Washington, where the humans are outnumbered by deer and provisions are found in small towns with family-owned businesses.
Size: 5,315 square miles
Major cities: Okanogan, Brewster, Tonasket, Omak
Median property value: $165,300
Okanogan County is the largest county in the state by land area, but because it is relatively remote, it’s not heavily populated—and the largest town has fewer than 5,000 people. The relatively low cost of living and access to healthcare make it a big draw for retirees.
Size: 2,339 square miles
Major cities: Davenport, Harrington, Sprague
Median property value: $145,300
Another primarily rural area, Lincoln County’s largest city is Davenport with fewer than 2,000 people. Although land is relatively affordable, it’s important to consider the costs of site development—because of unpaved roads and limited access to utilities—when planning to build a new home in one of Eastern Washington’s rural counties.
Size: 2,178 square miles
Major cities: Colfax, Palouse, Pullman, Tekoa
Median property value: $188,100
Located in the Palouse region, the majority of Whitman County is dedicated to agriculture, primarily wheat, lentils, barley, and dry peas. With a population of around 30,000, the largest city is Pullman, which is also home to Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Because of its affordability, safe neighborhoods, and high-quality schools, Pullman has been named by HomeSnacks and others as one of the best places in the state to raise children.
The Idaho panhandle includes 10 counties. The largest city, just 30 miles from Spokane, is Coeur d’Alene in Kootenai County. With a natural separation from the southern part of the state because of the mountains and several national forests, North Idaho has its own distinct culture. However, with the exception of Latah County, the majority of the region tends to be politically conservative, much like the rest of the state.
In addition to agriculture and cattle ranching, the lumber industry is dominant in the economy, with 12 lumber mills providing jobs throughout the region. Much like its other neighbors in the Pacific Northwest region, microbreweries that use locally grown hops are popular in the panhandle.
Size: 1,278 square miles
Major cities: Bonners Ferry, Moyie Springs
Median property value: $174,500
At the northernmost point in Idaho, Boundary County is a rich agricultural area with a significant timber industry. The relatively low cost of living, relaxed lifestyle, and beautiful scenery attract retirees. People who enjoy camping, hunting, hiking, and other outdoor recreation are also drawn to the area.
Size: 1,919 square miles
Major cities: Sandpoint, Clark Fork, Hope, Ponderay, Priest River
Median property value: $212,100
Bonner County is notable for its economic stability and steady population. A growing tourism industry, a big increase in manufacturing facilities, and a long history of timber-related jobs contribute to these conditions. A great place to start a business, the county is known for its spirit of entrepreneurship.
Size: 1,316 square miles
Major cities: Coeur d’Alene, Harrison, Rathdrum, Post Falls, Athol
Median property value: $193,300
Kootenai County is home to beautiful, lakeside Coeur d’Alene. In the large city known for its access to outdoor activities, residents enjoy 39 miles of bike paths, 34 parks, hiking, snowmobiling, and other year-round recreation. An excellent place to raise a family, the city offers free concerts, theater events, museums, and more. The cost of living is relatively low, especially when considering the high quality of life the area provides.
Size: 784 square miles
Major cities: Plummer, St. Maries, Tensed
Median property value: $147,800
One of the smaller counties in Idaho, Benewah County is characterized by rolling prairies. The low cost of living and good quality of life have made it an appealing place for retirees, especially in the largest town, St. Maries. Fly fishermen and lovers of water recreation enjoy access to the many rivers and lakes in the area.
Size: 2,635 square miles
Major cities: Kellogg, Osburn, Wallace, Mullan
Median property value: $117,600
On the eastern side of the panhandle, Shoshone County is home to the Silver Valley, an area with a rich history in mining. The county has a large population of snowbirds and retirees. It’s an excellent place to build a winter vacation home, especially for families who enjoy skiing and other winter sports.
Size: 1,077 square miles
Major cities: Bovill, Deary, Potlatch, Troy, Genesee
Median property value: $195,800
Together with adjacent Whitman County in Eastern Washington, Latah County is part of the Palouse region. With a similar landscape, the area has a rich agricultural industry. Thanks to the University of Idaho, educational services are also a growing source of jobs in the area.
Nez Perce County
Size: 856 square miles
Major cities: Culdesac, Lapwai, Lewiston, Peck
Median property value: $169,500
Nez Perce County is a primarily rural area with a strong timber industry and ample outdoor recreation activities and hunting opportunities. Sitting in a valley, the region is known for hotter summers and milder winters than the surrounding counties.
Size: 2,488 square miles
Major cities: Elk River, Orofino, Pierce, Weippe
Median property value: $129,500
With friendly communities, good schools, and a low cost of living, scenic Clearwater County is a great place for both families and building vacation homes. About a third of the residents live in Orofino, a tight-knit community built on the timber industry.
Size: 480 square miles
Major cities: Craigmont, Kamiah, Nezperce, Reubens, Winchester
Median property value: $116,400
Lewis County is comprised of small farming communities. The cost of living is low, but the unemployment rate is relatively high—and job growth has been on the decline. Retirees who want to live in a friendly, pastoral setting should consider this area for building a new home.
Size: 8,503 square miles
Major cities: Cottonwood, Ferdinand, Grangeville, Kooskia, Riggins, Stites, White Bird
Median property value: $161,300
At the base of the panhandle, Idaho County is the state’s largest. However, the majority of the county is heavily forested, leaving the population centers in the northwest corner surrounding the Nez Perce Reservation.
If you’re thinking of building a new home in the Inland Northwest, schedule an appointment at the Adair Homes office in Spokane. We’d love to discuss your goals, look at the designs that match your needs, and help guide you down the path to home ownership.