Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Growth Barely Slowed in November

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to November data that was released this morning, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 0.2 percent October to November
Up 10.4 percent YOY.
Up 6.8 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.4 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 9.7 percent.

Seattle home prices as measured by Case-Shiller inched up to another new all-time high in November.

Here’s a Tableau Public interactive graph of the year-over-year change for all twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities. Check and un-check the boxes on the right to modify which cities are showing:

After dropping to #17 in September, Seattle’s rank for month-over-month changes moved up to #9 of 20 in October.

Case-Shiller HPI: Month-to-Month

Hit the jump for the rest of our monthly Case-Shiller charts, including the interactive chart of raw index data for all 20 metro areas.

Despite underperforming in October compared about half the other cities and the same period a year prior, Seattle’s year-over-year price growth was once again the largest in the nation. In October, none of the twenty Case-Shiller-tracked metro areas gained more year-over-year than Seattle. From February through August Portland had been in the #1 slot above Seattle.

Still more proof that the Northwest will never stop being literally the envy of other states.

Six cities hit new all-time highs again in October: Boston, Seattle, Charlotte, Denver, San Francisco, and Dallas.

Here’s the interactive chart of the raw HPI for all twenty metro areas through October.

Here’s an update to the peak-decline graph, inspired by a graph created by reader CrystalBall. This chart takes the twelve metro areas whose peak index was greater than 175, and tracks how far they have fallen so far from their peak. The horizontal axis shows the total number of months since each individual city peaked.

Case-Shiller HPI: Decline From Peak

In the 111 months since the price peak in Seattle prices are up 6.6 percent.

Lastly, let’s see how Seattle’s current prices compare to the previous bubble inflation and subsequent burst. Note that this chart does not adjust for inflation.

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Index

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 2017-01-31)


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

38 comments:

  1. 1
    justme says:

    Maybe it was a last gasp of Chinese buyers before the new capital controls took effect on Jan 1? Or a rush of people seeing rising mortgage rates?

  2. 2

    In the past I’ve commented on how these numbers don’t really mean much to an individual property owner because it’s a rather large three county area and includes many different house styles, ages, etc. But one thing I’ve noticed lately is some extremes in results dependent on how a house is marketed.

    In one area I noticed two somewhat similar houses located close by each other where one started at too high of a price and ended up accepting a low price after over a month on the market, where another started at almost the same low price and ended up selling quickly for almost the same high price the other started with. The swing was roughly 10% of the lower price value, so a significant number.

    Basically the lesson is getting greedy can cost you a lot of money, but I will say the lower priced property took some significant risk because if the apparent bidding war had not developed they probably would have sold their house for less than it was worth–pricing low has risks too.

    Note though it wasn’t just price that affected the results. The one that sold for less really was poorly marketed in a few other ways. But the point is, decisions have consequences. You can’t be assured that just because the market has been going up that you will realize on that momentum if and when you do sell. And conversely, if you’re buying, perhaps the best house is the one that is poorly marketed.

  3. 3

    RE: justme @ 1
    Data Documentation for Serious Analysis

    Just doesn’t exist, its become verbal guesswork without strong general data on Chinese house buying in Seattle documented….I don’t know about you Justme, but I need to see it in writing or its just more wild allegations….and I tend to disbelieve all these allegations without written business models with dollar numbers to read.

    Are we just “sheeple” to brainwash or voters?

  4. 4
    abusedrenter says:

    Seattle Homebuyer Demand Remains Strong, With Little Relief in Sight

    The Seattle-area Demand Index level was at 135 in December, marking the 25th consecutive month of above-average homebuyer demand in the city. Overall demand was up 6.6 percent compared to last year, with 8.6 percent more buyers requesting tours and 3.7 percent more writing offers.

    https://www.redfin.com/blog/2017/01/the-redfin-housing-demand-index-reached-a-new-high-in-december.html

  5. 5
    justme says:

    RE: abusedrenter @ 4

    Redfin’s definition of “demand” constitutes counting tours and counting written offers. I’d call that “traffic”. Offers may be on the demand price curve, but most offers are at a point which is below the supply price curve. Time to reduce asking prices if sellers want to reach the point where the supply price curve meets the demand price curve.

  6. 6

    By justme @ 5:

    RE: abusedrenter @ 4

    Redfin’s definition of “demand” constitutes counting tours and counting written offers. I’d call that “traffic”. It may be on the demand price curve, but it is at a point which is below the supply price curve. Time to reduce asking prices if anyone sellers wans to reach the point where the supply price curve meets the demand price curve.

    I’m not sure what you’re saying there, but I think you’re assuming only one offer and that it’s not accepted. As to “traffic” there could be many reasons the buyer didn’t like the property.

    Yes sometimes price needs to be reduced, like in the one example I gave above, but in this market properties are still selling quickly, so if there is not any need for most sellers to reduce price.

  7. 7
    Brendan says:

    What I’d like to know, but haven’t been able to find online:

    1. What is the vacancy rate and trend in Seattle?
    2. What is the number of apartment buildings, if any, that have applied for condo conversion.

    I can find historical information on this stuff, but no current data or any nice graphs.

    I’m probably going to be in the market for a condo in a month or so, and I’m trying to get a sense of where that market is headed. I figure there may not be much SFH construction, but there is a large supply of apartment buildings that could be converted to condos.

    Right now it’s pretty slim pickings in the neighborhoods I like (fremont, wallingford, greenlake, revena). Some SFH and townhomes, but not really any condos.

  8. 8
    Mr. Belvidere says:

    Re: Chinese

    I haven’t seen any evidence of “Chinese buyers” in Seattle- but the old and moldy stock is not to their tastes from what I’ve heard. You can drive around Vancouver and see realtor signs in Mandarin all over the place with obviously vacant homes, not sure if anywhere on the Eastside is truly like that. I’ve just heard some wild anecdotes really, but doubt it makes any measurable impact.

  9. 9
    justme says:

    RE: Brendan @ 7

    I think condo conversions are coming for certain. I pointed this out as early as May 9 last year, and have kept saying it ever since.

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2016/05/06/nwmls-home-prices-hit-another-record-sales-slow/#comment-255156

  10. 10
    justme says:

    RE: Brendan @ 7

    I don’t have any data on how many condo conversions are in the pipeline, but I can point you to data on the housing stock for King County, WA, as of Apr 2016

    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2017/01/12/huge-2017-apartment-boom-soften-housing-market/comment-page-1/#comment-260133

    QUOTE: With data on population (pop) and housing units (HU), some interesting statistics that can be calculated from the data is pop/HU, or the inverse, HU/pop. For King County 2016-april, there was pop=2,105,100 and HU=906,925

    pop/HU=2.321
    HU/pop=0.431

    Does that seem like shortage of housing units to anyone? There is the “SFH shortage” crowd that speaks endlessly of the supposed SFH shortage in Seattle or King County. Well, in King County there are SFH(units)=508,285 and MFH(units)=380,224 and mobile(units)=18,416.

    PS: Not sure one needs to “apply” for a condo conversion. But one has to “give notice” to tenants.

  11. 11
    sfrz says:

    In Redmond today. An apt. complex opened for about 4 months now, advertising “free rent.” More complexes going up 4 blocks away.

  12. 12
    N says:

    By sfrz @ 10:

    In Redmond today. An apt. complex opened for about 4 months now, advertising “free rent.” More complexes going up 4 blocks away.

    With 10,000 units coming online in 2017 and upwards of 13,000 in 2018 I suspect we will see more of that and less of what we have seen the last 3 years. As has been reported we had around 5,000 in 2016 and that was a record, we are going to double that in 2017.

  13. 13
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: justme @ 9
    Hey, you may have found a good resource for estimating the level of SFR’s demolished. Your source cites 494,107 total SFRs in 2010 and 508,285 in 2016. That increase of 14,178 is less than 2,400 per year. Seems lower than our other sources, but could be a net number.

    Meanwhile King County population estimate grew 173,651 in that same time, and total housing units grew 55,664. If household size remained constant at 2.4/household, that would have been 72,438 households added in that period. Clearly, we had some backfilling to do in those years at the bottom of the housing cycle. Still, adding 72,000 households and only 14,000 single family houses seems like a tough trend for someone wanting to buy a house.

  14. 14
    justme says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 12

    Note to reader: “whatsmyname” is part of the “SFR shortage” hype crowd.

    >> If household size remained constant at 2.4/household, that would have been 72,438 households added in that period.

    IMPORTANT: A household is defined as any collection of people that occupy a housing unit (a unit must by definition have a separate entrance (hallway ok) and separate kitchen facilities). Accordingly, household formation, or “households added” is simply the change in number of households, which in turn is just the change in the number of occupied housing units. Households do not form, and then go looking for housing units. Households = occupied housing units.

    >>Still, adding 72,000 households and only 14,000 single family houses seems like a tough trend for someone wanting to buy a house.

    That is balderdash. There was not 72k households added. Further, as I have said before, the population increase of 173k includes children that are not occupying households by themselves, but rather are parts of other households, which then increase in size. You seem to have conveniently forgotten the equation

    populationchange=births-deaths+netmigration

    This equation has already been discussed last year. It is not the first time “whatsmyname” latches onto some numbers and engage in rampant misinterpretation of what the numbers mean. Caveat emptor.

    Reference:
    http://seattlebubble.com/blog/2016/06/07/nwmls-strong-demand-pending-sales-hit-time-high/#comment-255832

  15. 15
    Erik says:

    RE: Mr. Belvidere @ 8
    I thought I read Seattle was at 9% Chinese investors, but you may want to verify that.

  16. 16
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: justme @ 14
    For the years that your site (and it is a Washington State site) does have household average size statistics, they run in the narrow range of 2.39+ to 2.40+. Do you have better statistics? Do you think that having children is some new fangled twist to household numbers? Sorry, sonny, I would say that between attracting large numbers of young techies, and delayed child bearing, that retaining the 2.4 average is generous. Households is indeed reasonably synonymous with occupied units. Do you have numbers on occupied units?

    To the degree that we are arguing numbers, I am using the numbers from the same source you presented as a reference two days ago. If the OFM is not a credible source, you should not have used them as an authority. I don’t feel bad about taking my population change numbers directly from a government source rather than taking data from several government sources and spinning the bunch for my own more satisfactory result.

    If you think that a place where 56% of the people live in SFR’s can continue to do so while adding 14,000 houses for 173,000 people, good luck to you my friend – (that’s 6.92 people per house). Btw, standing King County inventory for SFR’s – lowest Tim’s got on record, probably the lowest in 50 years.

  17. 17
    Mr. Belvidere says:

    @condo conversions

    What is the deal with condo conversions anyway? The word on the street is that condos are “impossible” to build in Seattle due to “oppressive” liability laws. Or is this just cold feet due to lawsuits in the past? Townhomes seem to be popular.

    But what about conversion for sale? Is it as simple as the developer filling out a form and selling out or does the liability “issue” stay with them/the builder/whomever? Are there any restrictions, or can you convert mid project if the market/the rules change to make it more favorable for condos?

  18. 18
    justme says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 16

    You are making up household numbers. Households CANNOT by definition exceed available units. After you fix that part of the argument, MAYBE it is worth getting back to the rest of your errors.

  19. 19
    Anonymous Coward says:

    By justme @ 10:

    RE:
    QUOTE: With data on population (pop) and housing units (HU), some interesting statistics that can be calculated from the data is pop/HU, or the inverse, HU/pop. For King County 2016-april, there was pop=2,105,100 and HU=906,925

    pop/HU=2.321
    HU/pop=0.431

    Does that seem like shortage of housing units to anyone?

    If that was all the data we had, no, it wouldn’t. But that’s not all the data we have. As Whatsmyname is pointing out, and as I have tried to point out on previous threads, the population is growing quickly and we’re building the wrong mix of housing for the increasing population. The population is growing quickly, and sure, the total number of units is also growing quickly. But if you dig a little deeper into the OFM data (to which you linked), you’ll notice that the numbers of SFRs are growing much more slowly than multifamily units relative to the change in population. That’s what the data shows. Now, you’re free to argue that the new households are fundamentally different in size (all committed bachelors and spinsters) than the existing household or that the new residents will be delighted to raise their families in 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Ok, you’re really free to argue whatever you want; I can’t stop you from arguing that prices are going to drop because you saw a bad omen in the clouds yesterday. But, if you’re going to make an argument from the demographic data, your argument has to address the fact our population is growing much faster than our supply of SFRs.

  20. 20
    ess says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 16

    In a recent article, the Seattle Times confirmed that there is a limited amount of inventory of houses for sale.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-chugs-along-as-americas-hottest-home-market-despite-slowing-a-bit/

    There may be more housing units in the form of small rental apartments coming onto the market, but there is a far cry between one and two bedroom apartments that are less than one thousand square feet and more spacious single family houses. Single family houses, especially more modest ones, are becoming a smaller percent of the housing stock in the area. That is in part reflected in the article in the Seattle Times cited above.

    It is going to be interesting to observe how the real estate market performs in this area this spring.

    As an aside, just spent a lovely twelve days in Scotland touring both cities and castles. And what programs do they have on the “telly” over there? House flipping programs! Fun to watch real estate activity from a British perspective.

  21. 21
  22. 22

    By justme @ 18:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 16

    You are making up household numbers. Households CANNOT by definition exceed available units. After you fix that part of the argument, MAYBE it is worth getting back to the rest of your errors.

    Did you read the news yesterday about the number of homeless students in public schools. For Seattle it was about 5% of the students.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/number-of-homeless-students-in-washington-state-climbs-to-nearly-40000/

  23. 23

    By Mr. Belvidere @ 17:

    @condo conversions

    What is the deal with condo conversions anyway? The word on the street is that condos are “impossible” to build in Seattle due to “oppressive” liability laws. Or is this just cold feet due to lawsuits in the past? Townhomes seem to be popular.

    But what about conversion for sale? Is it as simple as the developer filling out a form and selling out or does the liability “issue” stay with them/the builder/whomever? Are there any restrictions, or can you convert mid project if the market/the rules change to make it more favorable for condos?

    I have not researched this at all, but I’ve been skeptical of the builder’s claim of the cost of liability insurance being just a tool for lobbying. But in any case, whatever the law is I suspect it would be different concerns/insurance/bonding for someone converting an apartment. It’s a lot easier for a condo association to sue a developer of the condo than it would be for an HOA to sue the builder (no privity of contract) and an owner converting a building probably wouldn’t be responsible for its condition unless it didn’t disclose a known condition in the Public Offering Statement which goes to buyers. I’ve only done one transaction involving a purchase straight from a party converting a building, but the disclosures regarding the building were quite extensive.

    Again, those are just guesses.

  24. 24

    RE: Mr. Belvidere @ 8
    And Any Property Flipper or Landlord Knows

    Vacant homes are very expensive investments. We’re talking very expensive “winter” heat to prevent mildew damage in the sheet rock. Maintenance goes on too, especially unattended leaks and water damages. No rent coming in. Property taxes [they’re horrifying in Seattle and Vancouver]. Renters insurance is twice the price of insurance on the home you’re living at. A house manager to watch the place costs I imagine around $300/mo. Ya better get a wired police alarm too as vagrants will love to break in….did anyone say rats?

    And if Vancouver is like Kansas City, the Chinese owner has to have a landlord license to rent it out and as a foreign buyer [with no family living there] will need interior inspections to get the places up to code [that means fix and replace anything they dream up the way they want it with no price limit] or face lawsuit and foreclosure. I have an out of state property, but my daughter lives there….I still have to maintain the yard and home exterior to the code police liking….ya better hire an attorney or a consultant when this happens. I could use my past healthcare legal experience, BTW, I’ve made friends with the code police as they do me a service.

  25. 25
    uwp says:

    By justme @ 14:

    That is balderdash. There was not 72k households added. Further, as I have said before, the population increase of 173k includes children that are not occupying households by themselves, but rather are parts of other households, which then increase in size. You seem to have conveniently forgotten the equation

    Uh… if household size is 2.4 (and holds constant) and the population increases 173,000, then the area added 72,000 households. You can argue that all these techies are rooming up and Seattle families are actually having 5 children, but the data is the data.

    Am I missing something obvious?

  26. 26
    Sarah says:

    Good to see prices move beyond the 2007 peak before the housing bubble popped … I think the area has good fundamentals moving into 2017.

  27. 27
    redmondjp says:

    By Anonymous Coward @ 19:

    By justme @ 10:

    RE:
    QUOTE: With data on population (pop) and housing units (HU), some interesting statistics that can be calculated from the data is pop/HU, or the inverse, HU/pop. For King County 2016-april, there was pop=2,105,100 and HU=906,925

    pop/HU=2.321
    HU/pop=0.431

    Does that seem like shortage of housing units to anyone?

    If that was all the data we had, no, it wouldn’t. But that’s not all the data we have. As Whatsmyname is pointing out, and as I have tried to point out on previous threads, the population is growing quickly and we’re building the wrong mix of housing for the increasing population. The population is growing quickly, and sure, the total number of units is also growing quickly. But if you dig a little deeper into the OFM data (to which you linked), you’ll notice that the numbers of SFRs are growing much more slowly than multifamily units relative to the change in population. That’s what the data shows. . .

    You say that we are building the wrong mix of housing, but that’s not how our government officials see it. The mix of housing choices being built now is following the United Nations agenda for smart growth, implemented by the WA State Growth Management Act, the Puget Sound Regional Council, and by local city planning commissions and zoning laws.

    Most new housing units will be high-density, situated along existing and future transportation corridors, inside the urban growth boundary. SFRs in desirable areas will continue to be in high demand by those wealthy enough to afford one.

  28. 28
    Anonymous Coward says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 27 – And the local planning folks are compounding their error by not even considering how many 3+ bedroom units are being built…

  29. 29

    King County inventory took a pretty significant hit in January. It’s getting crazy low.

    Vague reference to a number from NWMLS sources, but not compiled by or guaranteed by the NWMLS.

  30. 30
    Jordan says:

    Wealthy chinese buyers want a piece of the old american dream. That is, the suburb lifestyle, with a big home, big yard, and multiple cars in the garage.

    I see many of them in Bellevue, Newcastle, & Renton. Not so many Chinese buyers in Seattle.

  31. 31
    Andrew says:

    RE: Jordan @ 30 – If you don’t mind sharing, from where did you get the information about those areas where Chinese buyers concentrate on?

  32. 32
    whatsmyname says:

    By justme @ 18:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 16

    You are making up household numbers. Households CANNOT by definition exceed available units. After you fix that part of the argument, MAYBE it is worth getting back to the rest of your errors.

    Did you fail to notice that the numbers in question were growth numbers, not total numbers?

    Surely you didn’t intend to float the notion that a household cannot be added unless a housing unit is added as well?

    Households are routinely formed in existing units that are vacant. But thanks for playing.

  33. 33
    Matt says:

    RE: Jordan @ 30
    Last weekend I drove through some suburbs of Vancouver on my way to dim sum with friends for Chinese New Year. I stumbled upon this area where literally every single house on a block for multiple blocks had a for sale sign outside. These houses were on busy streets with small yards and many of them were obviously derelict. I would assume these swaths of houses were owned by non-resident Chinese because they were all for sale by the same clearly Chinese-focused real estate firm.

    I bring this up to say: if non-resident Chinese buyers are causing a stir in the Seattle market, it doesn’t make sense that they focus on those areas for the large yards, etc.. They aren’t even going to live there anyway.

  34. 34
    justme says:

    RE: uwp @ 25

    >>Am I missing something obvious?

    Yes, you are. Go back and re-read the definition of a household. While you are at it, also re-read the government data that says how many households REALLY got added.

  35. 35
    justme says:

    RE: whatsmyname @ 32

    >>Surely you didn’t intend to float the notion that a household cannot be added unless a housing unit is added as well?

    I see what you’re doing there. Indeed I did not float any such notion. I never made such a statement. Stop trying to put errant words in my mouth. That is not a good way to cover up your own mistakes, and I will call you out when you do it.

    For the reader that may have missed the the details: New households must be associated with (move into) a housing unit, whether a NEW unit or an existing vacant unit. Whatsmyname is trying to claim I ignored the 2nd case. I did no such thing.

    What I said was “Households = Occupied housing units”. That means that net change in Households == net change in Occupied housing units. Nowhere was the word ADDED (or NEW) to be found.

    Is whatsmyname now ready to retract his fabricated number of 72,438 “new households”, and accept the government number of 55,664? Or is he again going to try and weasel out of it by accusing me of doing something else that I did not do?

  36. 36
    whatsmyname says:

    RE: justme @ 35
    You’re flailing. The 55,664 number is housing units, i.e. increase in structures such as houses and apartment units. That is not households. Don’t you read your own sources? If you confuse new housing units with new households, that is not me putting errant words in your mouth.

    If you have a table with any number for “occupied housing units” post 2010, please provide a link. I didn’t see one on OFM. I did ask you for this information way back in post 16.

  37. 37
    MD says:

    Is there any King County website where I can get a list of recently sold real estate transactions? I know there’s a King County site where you can provide a parcel tax id, and get back the documents to see who the new owners are. But what I want is a list of ALL recent real estate transactions, so I can pull these documents and see exactly who is buying these houses…

  38. 38
    Erik says:

    RE: Sarah @ 26
    Why do you think we have good fundamentals in 2017?

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