Typically, home sales cool down in early fall. But this has been a year full of exceptions, including in the housing market.
Rather than slow down in September, Seattle-area home prices rose faster year-over-year than they have since 2018, the last time the housing market peaked, according to the latest release of the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index.
Home prices continued to rise fastest in Phoenix — 11.4%, year-over-year — but Seattle once again charted the second-fastest growth in the nation, at 10.1%, year-over-year. September was the eighth consecutive month Seattle was second to Phoenix in terms of home price growth.
Price growth in Seattle was in line with a national trend of accelerating price gains in September, said S&P managing director Craig Lazzara in a statement. Nationally, home prices on average rose 7% compared to last year.
“Housing prices were notably — I am tempted to say ‘very’ — strong in September,” Lazzara said. And price growth was consistent across the 19 major metros that Case-Shiller tracks, which all saw growth accelerate compared to last year.
Among those cities, price gains averaged 6.6%. (Typically, Case-Shiller examines home prices in 20 metro areas, but data for the Detroit metro area has been unavailable since the start of the pandemic.)
Prices will likely continue to rise in coming months, said Zillow economist Matthew Speakman in a statement, as home shoppers hoping to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates continue to throng the market.
“Home prices are normally sticky, meaning that they often take a while to respond to market shifts,” Speakman said. “These elevated levels of market competition have been placing upward pressure on prices for months, but home prices have just recently began to take off in earnest.”
Home price growth in Seattle defied expectations in another way in September. The Case-Shiller Index divides the housing market into three even tiers: Here, that’s homes selling for less than $470,183, homes selling for more than $705,295, and those in between.
Typically, price growth among the Seattle area’s more modestly priced homes far outpaces price growth in the middle tier. In September, though, prices for homes in the middle tier rose nearly as quickly, roughly 12% year-over-year, as prices for those more-affordable homes, which jumped roughly 12.5% year-over-year. Prices for the most expensive homes rose 9% year-over-year.