Home prices around Seattle rose faster than in any city in the country, save Phoenix, for the sixth consecutive month in midsummer. Prices in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties increased 7% in July, compared with a year earlier, according to the latest release of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

July was also the ninth straight month Seattle-area home prices have topped national averages. Nationally, home prices rose an average of 4.8%. Prices rose in each of the 19 large cities that Case-Shiller tracks; among just those metros, year-over-year price growth averaged 3.9%. (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.)

Seattle-area home price growth ticked up slightly in July compared with the previous month, a trend seen nationally, S&P managing director Craig Lazzara said in a statement.

“In previous months, we’ve noted that a trend of accelerating increases … began in August 2019,” Lazzara said. “That trend was interrupted in May and June (2020), as price gains decelerated modestly, but now may have resumed.

“Obviously more data will be required before we can say with confidence that any COVID-related deceleration is behind us.”

The U.S. housing market “has been caught up in a ‘perfect storm’ during the COVID-19 pandemic,” CoreLogic deputy chief economist Selma Hepp said in a statement, with intensified demand “driven by a need for indoor and outdoor space met by record low mortgage rates and a wave of millennials who were on the verge of buying — all competing for fewer and fewer homes on the market.”

In the three-county Seattle area, the most affordable homes continue to be the hottest commodities on the market. Prices rose nearly 10% year-over-year among homes that sold for less than $452,456, which represent the most affordable third of all homes sold this spring. Those homes are concentrated in Pierce and Snohomish counties.

Among the most expensive third of homes, those selling for more than $677,496 — including most homes in King County, where a typical home now runs $727,500 — prices rose relatively more slowly, 6% compared with last year.