Single-family homes across the Seattle metro area are increasing in price at a rate twice the national average.
Seattle home prices have hit a record and are now rising faster than any major city outside the Pacific Northwest, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller data.
Compared with a year ago, Seattle area single-family home values in March were up 10.8 percent, behind only Portland, where prices have shot up 12.3 percent in the last year, according to the Case-Shiller index released Tuesday. The Seattle growth rate was more than double the national average of 5.2 percent.
March also marked the first time the Seattle region surpassed its home value peak last seen in summer 2007, according to the Case-Shiller data. The new high was reached after four years of huge price gains: Overall, local home values have soared 50 percent since the recent low point in early 2012.
Fastest-rising home markets, March 2016 vs. March 2015
1. Portland: +12.3%
2. Seattle: +10.8%
3. Denver: +10%
4. (tie) Dallas: +8.5%
4. (tie) San Francisco: +8.5%
Fastest-rising home markets, March vs. February
1. Seattle: +2.4%
2. San Francisco: +2.3%
3. Denver: +1.6%
4. Portland: +1.5%
5. Dallas: +1.4%
Source: S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices
The surge has been especially strong lately: Seattle home prices increased 2.4 percent from February to March, the most among the 20 cities covered in the report, after the region was tied for the largest growth in the previous month. The latest monthly rise in Seattle is more than triple the national average.
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The entire state is seeing price gains, too. Another report released Tuesday, by Black Knight Financial Services, showed Washington home values in March rose faster than any other state for the second straight month, hitting a record of $323,000. Walla Walla, Spokane and Mount Vernon were among the 10 fastest-rising metro areas in the country for the last month.
Low inventory of available homes, rising employment and low mortgage rates are fueling the rise in home prices, said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Across the country, the number of homes on the market is at its lowest per-capita rate since the mid-1980s.
“It remains a tough homebuying season for buyers, with little inventory available among lower-priced homes,” Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said in a statement. “The competition is locking out some first-time buyers, who instead are paying record-high rents.”
The report, which includes King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, does not list raw price figures. But the latest data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service shows the price of a typical single-family home in April was $637,250 in Seattle and $540,000 across King County, $375,000 in Snohomish County and $269,925 in Pierce County.