Case-Shiller: Seattle Price Gains Cooled Slightly in April

Let’s have a look at the latest data from the Case-Shiller Home Price Index. According to April data, Seattle-area home prices were:

Up 2.3% March to April
Up 11.2% YOY.
Down 13.8% from the July 2007 peak

Last year prices rose 2.7% from March to April and year-over-year prices were up 11.4%.

Pretty much the usual spring bounce, but smaller than we saw a year ago. We’re actually cooling down a bit by pretty much every measure.

Here’s an interactive graph of the year-over-year change for all twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities, courtesy of Tableau Software (check and un-check the boxes on the right):

Seattle’s position for month-over-month changes held steady at #2 in April. Only Boston saw home prices rise more between March and April than they did in Seattle.

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 cities.

In April, seven of the twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities gained more year-over-year than Seattle (one less than March):

  • Las Vegas at +18.8%
  • San Francisco at +18.2%
  • San Diego at +15.3%
  • Detroit at +15.0%
  • Miami at +14.7%
  • Los Angeles at +14.0%
  • Atlanta at +13.7%

Twelve cities gained less than Seattle as of April: Portland, Chicago, Tampa, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Dallas, Boston, Denver, Washington DC, New York, Charlotte, and Cleveland.

Here’s the interactive chart of the raw HPI for all twenty cities through April.

Here’s an update to the peak-decline graph, inspired by a graph created by reader CrystalBall. This chart takes the twelve cities 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 eighty months since the price peak in Seattle prices have declined 13.8%.

Lastly, let’s see what month in the past Seattle’s current prices most compare to. As of April 2014, Seattle prices are right around where they were in January 2006.

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Index

Check back tomorrow for a post on the Case-Shiller data for Seattle’s price tiers.

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 06.24.2014)

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.


  1. 1
    Erik says:

    It would have been pretty smart to buy November 2011 and sell December 2013. A smart person could have dumped their underwater home and bought in a good area and made a lot of money in just a couple years.

    Too bad we don’t live in LA. There was a lot more money changing hands there.

  2. 2

    By Erik @ 1:

    It would have been pretty smart to buy November 2011 and sell December 2013. .

    Okay, I’ll bite. What was so special about December 2013? Case-Shiller was lower then than in April (and probably June when that comes out) and the median was also about $20,000 lower compared to May’s data. And, assuming a gain, you’d have to have already paid tax on it (deadline 4/15/14).

  3. 3
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2
    I tricked you again!!!!!! Time to brag. December 2013 was when I shuffled over $128k clams into my bank account. 2 years prior I was constantly stressing about money. I was about $80k underwater on my home. 128+80= 208. By my math I made $208k in 2 years plus my salary. Bam!!! Fools on here should take my advice.

    I don’t owe taxes because I lived there the entire time.

  4. 4

    RE: Erik @ 3 – Tricked me? I’m sorry, but I don’t keep track over everyone’s purchase and sale decisions. You were using this thread as another opportunity to brag. We get it. I’ve seen others complain about that, and that I won’t forget.

    Note though that it was your purchase decision that was a good move, not necessarily your selling decision. The market has continued up since you sold, although in saying that I haven’t checked your particular area, but I would be surprised if that wasn’t true there too, if not at a greater rate than what is indicated by Case-Shiller.

  5. 5
    Erik says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4
    Probably true. I said I tricked you because you said you would take the bait. I was playing along. I have been looking to buy another remodel and prices on the eastside are way high. I would have kept it if I didn’t really want the money. I wanted to not be paycheck to paycheck for once in my life. I did achieve that. My thinking was it may or may not be the top. I thought there was a possibility prices could drop since we had a big run up. I wasn’t willing to risk it. Either way, I feel pretty good not being broke anymore.

  6. 6
    Jay says:

    This article is so good :
    “You also have peanut butter and jelly eating baby boomers holding onto rundown million dollar shacks in prime areas trying to keep up the pretense that they are balling courtesy of their zip code. The problem with the mindset of sinking every penny into real estate is that it usually shuts off any other planning for retirement or income streams when you actually do enter old age. In the end, they are taking on a mortgage albatross for a fantasy but hey, this is the land of Hollywood so it is rather fitting I suppose.”

  7. 7
    Erik says:

    RE: Jay @ 6
    Good article. Anybody can make money in the during the good times. The Case Shiller HPI is the most valuable thing that Tim produces in my opinion. When year over year CS HPI prices decline, the trend usually continues for a while. Corndogs said that housing prices would track with inflation moving forward for the forseeable future. He may be right. I think the CS HPI has to be near the top and it should start heading down.

  8. 8

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 2
    Another Factor on Underwater Mortgages

    When you home’s value lost 50% in 2007 since you bought it, a 30% increase from that point sounds good, it isn’t at all. You need a 100% increase to just break even…..that still means MASS bucks out of your pocket to buy [staging your old home can be HORRIBLY expensive with no savings in the bank, especially because you’re paying most of your current net pay on the mortgage noose], even if all you did was break even.

  9. 9

    RE: Erik @ 7

    There is No Limit to How Much Wages Can be Reduced During High Inflation of Gas and Food?

    The blog to this news article was better than the news article:

    “..Inflation, as measured the way it was in 1980 is at 10%. Meanwhile the GDP as measure the way it was in 1980 is at -2%. In fact the GDP when measure the “honest” way has been negative for most of the last decade. Unemployment, when measure the way it was in 1980 is currently at 22% and has been 10% or higher since 2001….”

    Pretty soon even the lipstick on the pig still doesn’t cover up the fact that its an ugly hog.


  10. 10
    Blake says:

    Heh heh…
    -snip- “New home sales soared in May to 49,000 units, reaching the level reached at the bottom of the 1987-91 real estate depression as well as to the level of May 2008, near the bottom of the worst US economic depression since the 1930s. Mainstream conomic pundits and financial media personalities were ecstatic. After all it’s not often that a sector as important as housing is to the US economy recovers from nearly non-existent all the way back to previous depression levels. It’s even more impressive considering that there are 29 million more US households than in 1991.

    What a great moment for the US economy! Congratulations to the housing industry and especially to the Fed for a job well done, and to the US financial media for doing its usual fine job of keeping great data like this in perspective.”
    (end quote)

  11. 11

    RE: Blake @ 10
    Well Said Article

    Guys like Greenspan

    Would just call it “froth”….

  12. 12
    Erik says:

    This was a good bubble. Now I need it to crash again so I can extract more money from it. Prices seem too high right now on the eastside and seattle. I think those prices are driven by the software folks that are overpaid. The question is whether or not these software companies will continue hiring and dumping more high paid jobs in the area or not. They may just outsource more. If they do, housing prices will go down in our area.

  13. 13
    Jay says:

    RE: Erik @ 12 – For you to make a huge profit, you’d better hope that more people are overpaid around here!

  14. 14
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Erik @ 12

    Eric, most of my IT clients are not “new hires”, so a freeze on hiring will not help you.

  15. 15

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 4

    There haven’t been any sales higher than his since that time. There were many factors that caused it to sell at higher than current pricing, back in late 2013. In April of this year a top floor similar to his in the same complex with a few lesser features sold for 17% less than his. So holding, for many reasons, would not likely have gotten him a higher price.

  16. 16
    Another Mike says:

    RE: Jay @ 13 – What’s interesting is commentary I have seen in a few places recently, that there’s a systemic change, perhaps repeating the housing crash between 1930-1950.

    There’s so much student loan debt owed by the millennials, there’s really no wealth available to buy housing in the future, and the millennials have seen the housing market crash now so they are wary to buy at all. Generation-X bought houses just before the crash, so all of their wealth has been destroyed, and they have no money to trade up (or down). The assertion continues that housing prices are going to collapse because the demand will evaporate-Baby Boomers have houses that they cannot sell, because no one can afford them except Wall Street investors. If that’s the case, boy, we’re in for a rough ride.

  17. 17
    Jay says:

    RE: Ardell DellaLoggia @ 15 – I agree, Eric really sold at a good timing! I have seen many Kirkland condos recently that aren’t going anywhere, and they look nicer and are newer than Eric’s.

    RE: Another Mike @ 16 – You touched on a very realistic and scary fact that Real Estate agents don’t want to tell their clients! What do you think it is going to happen? I didn’t buy in 2006-2007 or 2013. I’d like to buy now, but I am very nervous! Should I make a low ball offer? A lot of houses have been on the market for a long time, so I’m just thinking to low ball the owners. Worst, the offer is not accepted.

    What is a good strategy? Should I wait until QE is over? Eric, what is your advice? Is the market still full of investors?

  18. 18
    BacktoBasic says:

    My thinking is that buy house if you need it for sure and can afford to stay long. Or the commission,fee and tax will eat 10% of house when you sell. The economy is still not recovered from recession yet. The aging population will downsize in the coming years. The ever changing technology need people to be mobilized. Who knows what will happen to MSFT. I see housing price in many already back to bubble level. Without QE, at interest of 6-7% the price will drop. The whole equity market is inflated by near zero interest rate. A correction is for sure to happen in the foreseeable future. What you need is is to stay lean and save enough cash to buy the right house at right location and at the right price. Just stay put, time is your best friend.

  19. 19
    Jay says:

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 18 – Thanks for your advice! I am hoping that rates will go up. Lower home price and higher rates actually will lower my monthly payment! When are rates going to rise to 6-7%? Is it going to happen?

  20. 20
    BacktoBasic says:

    By Jay @ 19:

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 18 – Thanks for your advice! I am hoping that rates will go up. Lower home price and higher rates actually will lower my monthly payment! When are rates going to rise to 6-7%? Is it going to happen?

    The rate will go up but slowly. The Fed don’t want to kill the recovery. But I don’t think house price will drop too much. However, the market will be more balanced which means people won’t overbid. So i would say, If you could find a right house for you now and price is right, buy it. Otherwise, just wait.

  21. 21
    Jay says:

    RE: BacktoBasic @ 20 – Thank you! I appreciate your advice. Have a nice weekend!

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