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Wednesday, February 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Seattle keeps crown as nation’s hottest housing market

A new home is advertised for sale Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
A new home is advertised for sale Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
By Mike Rosenberg The Seattle Times

For the second straight month, the Seattle area has topped the nation in home-price growth, even during what is normally a slow time of year for home sales.

The typical single-family home across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties cost 10.7 percent more in October than a year ago, the biggest increase of 20 cities measured by the Case-Shiller home price index released Tuesday.

Before topping last month’s report, Seattle hadn’t been the nation’s hottest housing market since 2007.

Portland again was second, with home prices rising 10.3 percent, followed by Denver, Dallas and Tampa at about 8 percent each.

As they have all year, home prices in Seattle are growing at about twice the nationwide rate. The national housing market set a high for the second straight month, beating out its old pre-recession peak.

In Greater Seattle, home costs have increased 59 percent since bottoming out in 2012, and are up 7 percent compared to the old high in 2007, before the housing bubble popped. During the past year, the Seattle region has surpassed the metro areas of Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., on the list of priciest housing markets, with the average house across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties topping $400,000, according to Zillow.

Brisk job growth and a historic dearth of housing supply continues to drive prices higher, as buyers compete for a dwindling number of houses for sale. The typical single-family house now costs $550,000 in King County, $400,000 in Snohomish County and $283,000 in Pierce County, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

But the surge in home prices is starting to slow at least slightly compared to the pace seen in the spring and summer, when home sales are at their swiftest. Compared to a month prior, seasonally adjusted Seattle home values grew 0.9 percent, the same as the rest of the country.

The Case-Shiller data lags behind the current market by a couple months, so it’s not yet clear if home prices this winter will follow a similar trend as rents, which are finally showing signs of slowing after four years of steep increases. The report also does not include the postelection period, when mortgage rates spiked and sales activity quickened as homebuyers rushed to buy out of fear that interest rates would rise even higher.

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