Seattle ties record for leading the nation in home prices
SEATTLE - It's only the second month of 2018, but Seattle has been leading the country's real estate market in year-over-year gains for a record-tying 17 months now.
With another month of 12.7 percent year-over-year increase, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index has Seattle well above the nationwide 6.3 percent annual gain. It also has us tying Case-Shiller's longest run since San Francisco's 17-month lead-up to the dot-com bubble 17 years ago.
But for those looking for a bubble, brokers still don't see any sign of that happening. In the latest Northwest Multiple Listing Service report, realtors reported a "multiple-offer everything, virtually sold-out market" in all price ranges close to job centers and in more affordable and mid-price ranges, within Seattle and its surrounding counties. As far as anyone can tell, this growth is being driven by low housing inventory and high demand, thanks to a strong job market.
The hope is that March can alleviate some of that pain a little.
"The month of March can't come soon enough for home buyers," said J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate. "In March, the number of new listings will bump up substantially from the low number of new listings typical for winter months. Better selection will start in March as we enter the spring housing season."
Whether that'll prove to be enough to offset Seattle's year-over-year gains in March's Case-Shiller report? Probably not. Though Las Vegas is catching up, Sin City is still trailing Seattle by 1.6 percent, with San Francisco coming in third with a 9.2 percent increase.
David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, thinks there could be a chance, but it may not be seen anytime soon.
"Within the last few months, there are beginning to be some signs that gains in housing may be leveling off. Sales of existing homes fell in December and January after seasonal adjustment and are now as low as any month in 2017," Blitzer said in the Case-Shiller report.
"Pending sales of existing homes are roughly flat over the last several months. New home sales appear to be following the same trend as existing home sales. ... It is too early to tell if the housing recovery is slowing. If it is, some moderation in price gains could be seen later this year."
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