Seattle home prices continue to soar at record-breaking pace

Home prices in the region leapt 25% in June compared to a year earlier.

By Heidi Groover / The Seattle Times

SEATTLE —Even as the Seattle-area housing market started to cool this summer, prices shot up at the third-fastest rate in the country.

Home prices in the region leapt 25% in June compared to a year earlier, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index released Tuesday. June was the fifth month in a row that prices climbed faster in only two other cities: Phoenix at 29.3% and San Diego at 27.1%.

The index, which tracks 20 major cities, lags by two months and measures price growth in portions of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties as part of the Seattle area.

Seattle’s price growth set a new record for the third month in a row, blowing past the 18% year-over-year growth the region saw in 2005, before the housing crash.

This year, pricey cities in the West are far from the only places where the cost of living is shooting up. Nationally, home prices were up nearly 19% compared to a year earlier, the highest jump in more than 30 years of index data, according to S&P Managing Director Craig Lazzara.

Prices climbed by double-digit percentages in all 20 major cities the index tracks. In 19 of those cities, single-family home prices are at all-time highs, Lazzara said.

For more than a year, the combination of hungry buyers, low interest rates and rock-bottom numbers of homes for sale has driven home prices up — and up. With some buyers freed by remote work and looking for more space, suburbs and smaller cities have boomed.

Here in the Puget Sound area, prices spiked outside the city, particularly on the Eastside and to the north in areas like Snohomish and Lake Stevens.

Even so, local real-estate agents described early signs of a cooldown in June, with some buyers taking a summer break and the number of competing offers dropping slightly. The Case-Shiller index shows a similar trend: While Seattle-area prices jumped about 5% from February to March, that monthly rate has been declining since. From May to June, prices increased 1.5%, according to the index.

That doesn’t mean homes are any more affordable, particularly for first-time buyers without a stockpile of cash. Last month, the median single-family home in King County sold for $871,000, according to separate data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

Nationally, more houses are hitting listing sites, easing the tight market slightly, economists say.

“All told, home price growth remains sky high, but more signals are appearing that the housing market is slowly coming back to earth,” Zillow economist Matthew Speakman said in a statement Tuesday.

Relief may be slow to reach home shoppers.

“While the housing market feels like it has legs that never get tired, inventory and affordability constraints are still expected to put a damper on price growth,” said CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Selma Hepp in a statement.

“Less competition and more for-sale homes suggest we may be seeing the peak of home price acceleration,” Hepp said. “Going forward, home price growth may ease off but stay in the double digits through year end.”

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Court: Extraordinary damages OK in ‘wrongful life’ case

State Supreme Court says it’s OK for judges to award extraordinary damages in a so-called “wrongful life” case.

The Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, aerial photo released by the U.S. Coast Guard shows a diesel spill off the west coast of Washington state's San Juan Island after a 49-foot (15-meter) fishing vessel sank with an estimated 2,600 gallons (9,854 liters) of fuel on board. A Good Samaritan rescued all five crew members on the Aleutian Isle as the vessel was sinking near Sunset Point, the Coast Guard's 13th District Pacific Northwest district in Seattle and KIRO-TV reported. (U.S. Coast Guard via AP)
Coast Guard responds to small oil spill near San Juan Island

A Good Samaritan rescued all crew members on the Aleutian Isle as the vessel was sinking Saturday.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
West Seattle Bridge to reopen after yearslong closure

The bridge will open Sunday, Sept. 18., providing weary West Seattle travelers with a beacon of hope.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle hospital to refuse some patients due to capacity

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle will temporarily stop accepting less acute patients.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Red Flag Warning issued for eastern Snohomish County

The warning issued by the National Weather Service is in effect from 2 a.m. to 11 p.m.

X
Washington ferries to get $38 million to improve services

The money from the Federal Highway Administration will be used to improve the ferry service.

FILE - The Boeing 787 Dreamliner after its landing at Le Bourget airport, east of Paris, upon its presentation for the first time at the 49th Paris Air Show at the airport, Tuesday June 21, 2011. Federal regulators said Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, that they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger jet, clearing the way for the company to resume deliveries to airline customers “in the coming days.” (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FAA clears Boeing to resume deliveries of 787 Dreamliner

Federal regulators said they are satisfied with changes Boeing has made in the plane’s production.

RETRANSMISSION TO CORRECT STATE - This photo provided by the Washington State Department of Transportation shows smoke from a wildfire burning south of Lind, Wash. on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Sheriff's officials are telling residents in the town of Lind in eastern Washington to evacuate because of a growing wildfire south of town that was burning homes. (Washington State Department of Transportation via AP)
Washington town told to leave due to wildfire, 10 homes lost

An entire eastern Washington town was being evacuated Thursday because of a growing wildfire.

An EA-18G Growler taxis down the airstrip on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the squadron’s welcome home ceremony in August 2017. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Scott Wood/U.S. Navy)
Judge rejects Navy environmental review of Whidbey Island Growler jet expansion

A judge ruled the Navy violated federal law in an environmental study of expanded Whidbey Island jet operations.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of Seattle.
Seattle ends COVID hazard pay for grocery store workers

The now repealed policy had required grocery stores to pay employees an additional $4 per hour.

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Washington judge overturns insurance rate credit scoring ban

The state rule prohibited insurers from using credit scoring to set rates for auto, homeowner and renter insurance.

A damaged Cathlamet ferry sits at the Fauntleroy dock in West Seattle, Thursday morning, July 28, 2022. Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday in Seattle, damaging the vessel. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
Ferry in Seattle damaged after crash into terminal

Authorities say an automobile and passenger ferry crashed into a dock Thursday.