Home Prices Locally & Nationwide Rise While Inventory Falls; Seattle Leads for 17 Months

Written by William Hillis, Research Editor, RSIR

The year 2018 began with Seattle remaining ahead of all U.S. cities tracked by the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index for a 17th consecutive month.

As of January 2018, single-family home prices in the Puget Sound region were 12.86 percent higher than 12 months before, and prices were 0.73 percent ahead of those in December. On a monthly basis, home prices in San Diego grew slightly faster, at 0.76 percent. Yet year over year, Seattle’s nearest West Coast competitor was San Francisco, where home prices are up by 10.2 percent since January 2017. Further inland, Las Vegas home sellers saw prices 11.1 percent higher than this time last year.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, observed in the official Case Shiller report: “Since the market bottom in December 2012, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index has climbed at a 4.7% real–inflation adjusted–annual rate. That is twice the rate of economic growth as measured by the GDP.” Noting Seattle’s historic performance, he added, “Even Chicago and Washington, the cities with the smallest price gains, saw a 2.4% annual increase in home prices.”

Blitzer attributed nationwide price increases at least partly to low inventory. That has certainly been the case in Seattle. Market times in the city and on the Eastside have been reduced to a week or less amid rising prices, even as the numbers of home-selling transactions have decreased in many neighborhoods due to the shortage of homes for sale.

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

Many have expressed concerns over the rising median home prices in Seattle, particularly as mortgage rates increase, making the prospect of homeownership more challenging for some. Yet, as Dean Jones, President & CEO of Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty notes, “the opportunity to purchase condominiums in the downtown core ahead of occupancy during presales combined with new interest rate lock programs offered by innovative mortgage lenders is providing encouraging opportunities for savvy buyers to plan ahead and secure their slice of the city before they are priced out.” Those interested in exploring in-city living opportunities are encouraged to visit www.UrbanCondominiums.com for additional details.

Above & Below: Home price data from 2014 to 2017 showcases a dwindling supply of single-family homeownership opportunities within the $250,000 to $500,000 price range.

For details on the implications for homes in your neighborhood, contact a local RSIR broker for their latest analysis and stay tuned for the forthcoming 2017 Year in Review and 2018 Market Forecast.