Seattle home price hikes continue downward spiral, says new report

    A home sits for sale in Seattle (KOMO Photo)

    SEATTLE - Home price increases are continuing to plummet in the Seattle area as the city's once smoking-hot real estate market cools down to a more glacial pace, says a new report.

    The most recent S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, shows that home value appreciation in Seattle now ranks 11th in the nation, with an average increase of 5.1 percent over the same time last year.

    That's still higher than the average national increase of 4.2 percent. But it's down considerably from the period from late 2016 to spring 2018, when Seattle home price increases were the highest in the nation, skyrocketing upward at an average year-over-year rate of 12 to 13 percent.

    Portland, Ore., which also experienced steep home value appreciation during the same period as Seattle, has now dropped to fifth-lowest in the nation, with an average year-over-year increase of 3.9 percent - below the national average, according to the new report.

    The hottest real estate markets are now Las Vegas, which leads the way with an 11.4 percent increase, followed by Phoenix, with an 8.0 percent increase, and Atlanta, with a 5.9 percent increase.

    Nationally, home price increases are slowing as well, dropping from an average of 4.6 percent in the previous month.

    But that's still a faster increase than wage gains, which continues to put downward pressure on the real estate market.

    "Even at the reduced pace ... home prices continue to outpace wage gains of 3.5 percent to 4 percent and inflation of about 2 percent," says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "A decline in interest rates in the fourth quarter was not enough to offset the impact of rising prices on home sales."

    The cities with the lowest home price increases in the most recent report were San Diego, at 2.3 percent, Washington, D.C., at 2.7 percent, and Chicago, at 3.0 percent.

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