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Report: Millennials squeezed as Seattle home prices soar, inventory drops 16%

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SEATTLE - A new report says the number of homes for sale in the Seattle metro area is down 16.1 percent from the same time last year - and less than a quarter of those are priced for entry level homebuyers.

The report, released by Zillow, is based on newly released figures for March 2018.

According to Zillow's research, 41.2 percent of the homes for sale in the Seattle metro area are considered "high end," while only 24.3 percent are entry level.

That's bad news for millennials, who are aging into their prime home buying years and looking to buy their first home, yet are finding very few homes on the market that are affordable for them.

The figures show that this year's home-shopping season "will be one of the most competitive ever recorded," the report says. Inventory has been falling since the beginning of 2015, and with so few homes for sale, many are going for over asking price.

"This year’s home-shopping season is shaping up to be even crazier than last, and sadly, the group that will have the hardest time is first-time and lower-income homebuyers," said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell.

Between March 2017 and March 2018, Seattle's median home values rose by 14.8 percent over last year to $492,227. Over the same period, average monthly rent rose by 4.7 percent to $2,208, according to the report.

That makes Seattle the third fastest appreciating housing market in the United States, as well as the third fastest rising rental market. In the nation as a whole, home values rose by 8 percent to an average $213,000 since March 2017, and median rent rose by 2.7 percent to $1,447.

The Seattle-area neighborhoods with the fastest rising home values are:

- Phantom Lake, with a median value of $902,615 and year-over-year growth of 25.7 percent.

- Downtown Seattle, with a median value of $758,542 and year-over-year growth of 24.8 percent.

- North City, with a median value of $554,364 and year-over-year growth of 24.4 percent.

- Bear Creek, with a median value of $568,605 and year-over-year growth of 23.8 percent.

- North College Park, with a median value of $681,606 and year-over-year growth of 23.7 percent.

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