Seattle remains nation’s hottest home market, with biggest price growth in 3 years

By Mike Rosenberg

Seattle Times business reporter


For the fifth straight month, Greater Seattle has registered the sharpest home-price increases of any major market in the country, as home costs soared at their fastest pace in three years.

The typical price of a home across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties rose 11.3 percent in January compared to a year prior, according to the monthly Case-Shiller home price index, released Tuesday.

The Seattle region has taken the top spot in the national rankings in every month since September, and price growth has only been speeding up as of late after it dipped slightly toward the end of 2016. The increase in January is tied for the biggest jump in home prices since March 2014.

Fastest-rising home prices compared with a year ago

1. Seattle +11.3%

2. Portland +9.7

3. Denver +9.2%

4. Dallas +8.2%

5. Tampa +8.1%

Source: Case-Shiller home price index

Portland was behind, again, with home prices rising 9.7 percent, followed by Denver, Dallas and Tampa. Seattle’s lead over Portland doubled just in the last month.

Nationally, prices grew 5.9 percent, a 31-month high. And yet Seattle’s increase was nearly double that. Low inventory of homes for sale continues to be a problem both locally and nationally, driving up competition for scarce homes.

Compared to just a month prior, home values in Seattle ticked up 0.6 percent, the second best in the country and triple the national average.

For months, the cheapest homes had been seeing the biggest price increases locally, while luxury home prices were rising at the slowest rate. But now, gains in homes at all price points are rising at a similar clip.

The most recent data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows the median single-family home price in February was $675,000 in Seattle and $832,000 on the Eastside, both record highs.

In Snohomish County, the median home cost $412,500 (also a record), and it’s $280,000 in Pierce County.

In other news:

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MLS market update January 2017- The market sizzled right on through the holidays and is showing no signs of slowing.

Mortgage Rates Rising- Ever since the election, mortgage rates have been climbing. Here is the Seattle Times' explanation of why and how it could affect the market.