Seattle is the Hottest Market in the U.S. for Nineteen Months & Counting

The Seattle metropolitan region once again widened its lead of the major U.S. cities on the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index, as March 2018 gave way to a 13.0% year-over-year growth. This means the Emerald City has now held the lead for 19 months in a row, with the March 2018 price increase up by 2.84 percent from the previous month, the biggest monthly gain in the past five years.

Seattle continues to far outpace other Pacific Coast gateway cities, as Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland posted single-digit gains. The closes competitor on a monthly and year-over-year basis is San Francisco, with 2.15 percent and 11.34 percent, respectively.

As David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index committee observed in the official Case Shiller report, “Seattle continues to report the fastest rising prices at 13 percent per year, double the National pace.”

Dr. Blitzer dismissed concerns that nationwide home prices are getting ahead of the market. “Looking across various national statistics on sales of new or existing homes, permits for new construction, and financing terms, two figures that stand out are rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of existing homes for sale. Months-supply, which combines inventory levels and sales, is currently at 3.8 months, lower than the levels of the 1990s, before the housing boom and bust. Until inventories increase faster than sales, or the economy slows significantly, home prices are likely to continue rising. Compared to the price gains of the last boom in the early 2000s, things are calmer today. Gains in the National Index peaked at 14.5 percent in September 2005, more quickly than Seattle is rising now.”

In the Puget Sound, low inventory and rising demand have escalated home prices and markedly reduced market times when homes are listed for sale. The chart below shows the decline in cumulative days on market, and the number of sequential first-quarter selling transactions for both residential and condominium sales across price brackets in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties combined. In the first quarter of 2018, there were more homes sold within the $750K to $1M range than there were below $250K.

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For Seattle’s comparative performance on the Case-Shiller Index, see the second chart below; and for more details, download the S&P Dow Jones Case-Shiller summary report.

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