Seattle rent, home price increases among lowest in U.S. last month, study finds

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    Seattle's rent and home price increases were among the lowest in the nation last month, as the regional real estate market continues to cool after an extended period of steep increases, says a new report released Thursday.

    The report, by real estate marketing site Zillow, found that the median rent in Seattle grew by 2 percent over the same time last year. That was below the national average year-over-year rent increase of 2.4 percent.

    "Landlords are now coming to terms with the fact that rent cannot grow faster than income forever, and ... we can expect a much more vanilla, slow-growth market going forward," says Zillow economist Jeff Tucker. "As we enter the 2020s, the demand for rentals is projected to fall as many millennials move on to homeownership."

    Meanwhile, average Seattle home prices were up by only 3 percent in February - well below the national average of 7.2 percent. Only three cities - Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C. - had lower increases in average home values.

    There also were nearly 32 percent more homes available for sale in Seattle than this time last year – an increase of nearly 3,000 homes.

    The comparatively low increases follow a lengthy period when Seattle's rents and home values were soaring at rates well above the national average, which means it still costs a lot more to rent or buy a home here than most other parts of the nation.

    The average monthly rent, while up only 2 percent in Seattle since the same time last year, is $2,232 - well above the national average monthly rent of $1,472.

    Seattle's average home price of $491,500 is also far above the average U.S. home value of $226,300.

    Meanwhile, February mortgage rates were mostly flat, averaging 4.16 percent at the end of the month.

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