Case-Shiller Tiers: All Three Tiers Increase Strongly in April

Let’s check out the three price tiers for the Seattle area, as measured by Case-Shiller. Remember, Case-Shiller’s “Seattle” data is based on single-family home repeat sales in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.

Note that the tiers are determined by sale volume. In other words, 1/3 of all sales fall into each tier. For more details on the tier methodologies, hit the full methodology pdf. Here are the current tier breakpoints:

  • Low Tier: < $291,658 (up 2.0%)
  • Mid Tier: $291,658 – $465,154
  • Hi Tier: > $465,154 (up 2.0%)

First up is the straight graph of the index from January 2000 through April 2015.

Case-Shiller Tiered Index - Seattle

Here’s a zoom-in, showing just the last year:

Case-Shiller Tiered Index - Seattle

All three tiers shot up strongly in April, with the middle tier gaining the most ground.

Between March and April, the low tier increased 2.5 percent, the middle tier rose 2.7 percent, and the high tier gained 2.0 percent.

Here’s a chart of the year-over-year change in the index from January 2003 through April 2015.

Case-Shiller HPI - YOY Change in Seattle Tiers

Year-over-year price growth shrank slightly in the high tier, but grew in the low and middle tier. Here’s where the tiers sit YOY as of April – Low: +11.1 percent, Med: +7.1 percent, Hi: +7.0 percent.

Lastly, here’s a decline-from-peak graph like the one posted yesterday, but looking only at the Seattle tiers.

Case-Shiller: Decline from Peak - Seattle Tiers

Current standing is 15.9 percent off peak for the low tier, 10.2 percent off peak for the middle tier, and 3.7 percent off peak for the high tier.

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 2015-06-30)

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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
    Jonness says:

    The slope of the current increase nearly matches that of the bubble-run-up period.

  2. 2

    RE: Jonness @ 1 – Over the very short term it might even be worse, but the second to last graph shows the YOY is not as extreme as back before 2007.

  3. 3
    ESS says:

    Currently there is a shortage of both housing for sale and as rentals. Furthermore, rents have increased dramatically from the last bubble period, which will hopefully support the current housing prices. And compared to most West Coast cities both in the US and Canada, Seattle property is still moderately priced.

  4. 4
    Jonness says:

    By ESS @ 3:

    And compared to most West Coast cities both in the US and Canada, Seattle property is still moderately priced.

    And despite what SWE will tell you, there are a lot of high paying jobs in Seattle. I used to be bearish on Seattle during the bubble peak and thereafter, but I haven’t been since I felt it bottomed, and I started buying. That was the exact peak of the affordability curve, so I’ve done OK so far.

    But it wasn’t just me. Anyone who bought in 2011/2012 appears to be a genius. And even Ardell’s notorious 2010 bottom call, after which the market plummeted 20 points, is looking OK.

    The first graph above looks eerily similar to the stock market a few years ago. We all wondered if we could set a new all time high in a rotten economy, and the answer came in the form of, “don’t fight the Fed.” It’s starting to look like, as long as the Fed doesn’t shoot itself in the foot, and we don’t have a black swan event, the CS will kiss, and then exceed its former high.

    If and when that occurs, I probably won’t be so bullish anymore.

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