Home-price gains nationally have outpaced the Seattle area for the past year, but new data shows Puget Sound price growth is accelerating and could soon return to its earlier chart-topping days, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Home prices across the country rose 3.5% year-over-year in November, according to the index, which lags by two months. Meanwhile, home prices in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties were 3.3% higher than the same time the previous year.
That puts the Seattle area squarely in the middle of the pack for year-over-year price growth among the 20 cities the index tracks. It’s the result of four straight months of price increases here, reversing an earlier monthslong trend of lower prices. The Seattle area is now closer to catching up to the national average than any time since December 2018, when local price growth first dipped below the national trendline.
Local home prices also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8% over the previous month — a greater month-over-month bump than any other city save Charlotte, North Carolina.
Despite recent price gains, Seattle-area markets aren’t sizzling like they were in 2017, when double-digit price increases, bidding wars and weeklong listings were the norm.
But brokers point to ultratight inventory and prospects of local job growth as indicators of an impending frenzy in the spring housing market. Some brokers have even talked about a possible return this spring to “2017 hotness.”
Nationally, home prices are also on the up and up, amid a shrinking supply of homes and a three-month low in mortgage rates. Every city in the index saw price gains in November, a sign of a “stable” nationwide market, said Craig Lazzara, S&P managing director.
Nationally, cities in the Southeast continued to prove attractive to homebuyers. Led by robust year-over-year price gains in places like Charlotte (5.2%), Tampa (5.0%) and Atlanta (4.2%), the Southeast has topped all regions for price growth since January 2019.
On the other hand, price growth in the formerly bustling Southwest has started to slow. While Phoenix still saw the highest price gains in November, 5.9% compared to the previous year, among the 20 major cities in the index, year-over-year growth in Las Vegas — until recently the nation’s hottest housing market — slipped to 2.6%, well below the national average.
Cities with the most sluggish growth against the previous year were Chicago (0.4%), San Francisco (0.5%) and New York (0.8%).
Home prices nationally are 59% above their February 2012 trough, and 15% above their July 2006 peak before the financial crisis, according to S&P.