Case-Shiller: Seattle Price Gains Biggest In Nation Again

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

Up 2.1 percent March to April
Up 10.7 percent YOY.
Up 2.5 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 2.2 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 7.4 percent.

The Seattle area’s Case-Shiller home price index hit another new all-time high in April, and saw the largest month-over-month gain of all twenty Case-Shiller-tracked cities for the second month in a row.

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:

Seattle’s rank for month-over-month changes hit #1 in March and maintained that rank in April.

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.

In April, just one of the twenty Case-Shiller-tracked metro areas gained more year-over-year than Seattle (the same as February):

  • Portland at +12.3%

Once again the Northwest is literally the envy of other states.

Boston joined Seattle, Charlotte, San Francisco, Denver, Portland, and Dallas in the club for metro areas that hit new all-time highs in April.

Eighteen metro areas gained less than Seattle as of April: Denver, San Francisco, Dallas, Tampa, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Cleveland, New York, Chicago, and Washington.

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

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 105 months since the price peak in Seattle prices are up 2.5 percent.

Lastly, let’s see what month in the past Seattle’s current prices most compare to. Note that this chart does not adjust for inflation.

Case-Shiller: Seattle Home Price Index

Check back tomorrow for our monthly look at Case-Shiller data for Seattle’s price tiers.

(Home Price Indices, Standard & Poor’s, 2016-06-28)

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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.

22 comments:

  1. 1
    ronp says:

    We’re number one! We’re number one! “Insert foam finger waving GIF here.”

    Seriously, I hope some nice transit oriented developments are on the way, and review this classic post http://jlcollinsnh.com/2013/05/29/why-your-house-is-a-terrible-investment/

  2. 2
    Forestdweller says:

    I was wondering how many commentators are considering environmental refugees and are factoring that in? We seriously considered living in Austin, TX and California but ruled them out due to the historic droughts both states are experiencing. We lived outside the US for a number of years and after visiting a few different parts of the country moved back to the Seattle area.

  3. 3
    Doug says:

    RE: ronp @ 1 – Great article — couldn’t agree more. No one should ever buy a house thinking it’s anything more than a place to live.

    That said, my house will play an important role in my FIRE plans given the appreciation and the fact that I plan to move to a LCOL area at some point.

  4. 4
    Forestdweller says:

    I wonder if this blog is skewed very male? As much as I know many financially savvy women, women in general are not so focussed on the “pure investment scenario” as much as a desire for a physical home usually to raise a family. I notice many apparently single men on here. For example I know many people buying homes which will work for more than one generation living together as they are aware that their grown children may not be in a position to buy their own place for many years. I know so many people in the region hunkering down and not expecting to move for decades – hence the low inventory.

  5. 5
    ronp says:

    RE: Forestdweller @ 4 – Yes, sadly all the finance websites and discussions are still massively male dominated. Parents with daughters need to do what this nytimes column suggests — http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/25/your-money/five-illuminating-takeaways-from-your-family-money-letters.html

    I think as long as we continue to build new units, Seattle will be affordable for the next generations.

  6. 6
    Weasel says:

    RE: Forestdweller @ 2 – I spent quite a bit of time researching where in the US might be a good place to live, since you have to live with the climate every day, this was the number 1 factor.

    Coeur d’Alene ID caught my eye – though it doesn’t rain there quite as much as I’d like a few other factors offset that.

    Seattle/Portland would be next, it rains a lot, and I like rain so that works for me, not too hot and not too cold, don’t really get storms like other areas, our house is north facing just below the edge of a plateau at 400ft (out of the way of floods and sea level rise and the Mt Rainier lahar zone), with a good line of trees to the south, when it does blow the wind just goes over the top. The only thing that is a concern in the back of my mind is the Cascadia subduction zone, since we’re still 200 – 300 years away from its 500 year average of producing a 9.0, I’ll take the risk on that.

  7. 7
    ess says:

    Good news for the Seattle market and perhaps more good news in the future if the following article is correct about American real estate.

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-a-2009-style-real-estate-meltdown-is-unlikely-now-2015-08-25

  8. 8
    Forestdweller says:

    Weasel we really tried to love Portland and have visited many times but the river just doesn’t compare to the lakes and Sound here plus islands.

  9. 9
    Justme says:

    RE: ess @ 7

    What a puff piece propaganda article from Marketwatch. Someone in the RE business was getting *really* worried after Brexit waves started spreading Fri and Mon. Definitely time to rally some quotes from the usual industry suspects, and get a bunch of soothing few articles into the press. The PR department has been hard at work!

    But it was interesting to read the comment section. The majority of commenters quite disagreed with the article. Everyone please take a look for yourselves.

    Here is a little anti-propaganda, based on fact:

    This Victoria mansion was viewed by 2,000 people. Its auction was cancelled when only one showed up (note: on weds, the day before Brexit vote).

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/this-victoria-mansion-was-viewed-by-2000-people-its-auction-was-cancelled-when-only-one-showed-up

    Yeah, so even the Chinese buyers in Victoria, BC are getting severely worried. And for good reason. Brexit has exposed yet more weakness in banks, all caused by excessive debt and leverage (in housing and everything else). Italy banks are getting a 40B euro bailout. ECB lent out 399 BILLION euros to banks over the weekend. Oh, yeah, everything is just fine and dandy,

  10. 10

    “It’s not like last time…” sure…..

    1% Down Loans this Month… (just 120 days after 3% down loans from BoA)
    http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2016/06/28/quicken-quietly-offers-1-down-loans

    3% Down Loans back in February…
    http://www.housingwire.com/articles/36343-bank-of-america-now-offers-3-down-mortgages-without-mortgage-insurance

    Looks like work to keep the prices up in a market where low mortgage rates are not enough to combat super high prices means bad news. Turning a corner — those pitchforks voted leave in the UK. Don’t say you didn’t see it coming. When the market makers get aggressive in discounting credit to buy — it’s not a good sign, it’s like JC Penney. It works for a while and then doesn’t work.

    Seattle’s infrastructure has SERIOUS FLAWS, major tracts of land need ripped out for rail. Busses are not a solution in high tech neighborhoods — have you been to high class neighborhoods where people make 180K? They don’t ride busses, they drive or take rail. Even kids know this playing SimCity — bus stops in neighborhoods with 1M homes drive down home prices.

    Seattle is heading toward a very bad ending if the City, Seattle and the Feds don’t do something. Brexit is just the beginning. The whole “let’s all move to the city and live together in our tech community” will pick another location and all the tech companies will follow suit.

    And what about DARPA’s grant/reward for the first firm that builds a system that can program on its own? Seattle and San Francisco turn into Detroit — it’s only a matter of time. Apply Moore’s law to DARPA’s project and you’ll see that banking on returns in real estate in programmer driven tech communities might not be a good long term strategic play.

    Real Estate is so out of touch with public opinion, tech and modeling inside the Fed, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac… it makes me cringe.

  11. 11
    Matt says:

    RE: Justme @ 9

    I don’t think this theory of financial media putting out puff pieces (like with this Marketwatch article) as propaganda to keep the housing market high holds water. Even if that’s the intent, I think it having any noticeable effect is unlikely. The housing market is driven by a bunch of know-nothing home buyers and sellers who are often advised by under-qualified realtors. These people buy what they can “afford” and what they are willing to spend–and most of them would never bother checking Marketwatch. If the housing market crashes, it will be after, not before, everyone becomes unemployed even if people loudly predict the coming end.

  12. 12
    district says:

    RE: Matt @ 10 – As with other sub-standard journalism, the goal of the real estate puff pieces is to generate clicks. Exaggerating whatever is going on – good or bad – is their business.

    Many of the bears on this blog take the view that developer speculation rather than over-eager buying and selling is the thing to worry about.

    What amazes me though is that all the other Seattle blogs I read worry about increasing prices driven by lack of development.

    Everywhere else the narrative is that a few anti-density Nimbys are preventing Seattle from meeting housing needs by making specious appeals to neighborhood character. Here the narrative is that we’re building the next Kangbashi ghost-town.

    TheTim provides great statistics on the supply side, and provides great info about pricing trends. But the demand narrative is largely relegated to anecdotal comments by trolls like Erik or bulls like myself. How about something more data driven about hiring, population growth, salaries etc., along with a narrative about which of these factors are relevant, which overblown etc.?

  13. 13
    Sam Hunter says:

    district – TheTim provides great statistics on the supply side, and provides great info about pricing trends. But the demand narrative is largely relegated to anecdotal comments by trolls like Erik or bulls like myself. How about something more data driven about hiring, population growth, salaries etc., along with a narrative about which of these factors are relevant, which overblown etc.?

    Tim won’t provide any of that data because it will show that there is no bubble in sight for years, completely contradicting the URL of his very biased blog.

    Its just hilarious how everyone here is predicting a bubble… just like how they were predicting eternal growth in 2007. You can’t even dispute this, just go back in time on the post here. Just go against the “wisdom” of the crowd here and you will make out like a bandit.

    Also the reason why there are not as many women who post here is because of the old creepers like Kary and SWE who will send a private message to females, creeping them out.

    Sick!

  14. 14

    By Matt @ 10:

    These people buy what they can “afford” and what they are willing to spend–and most of them would never bother checking Marketwatch..

    Wow, you’re seriously suggesting reading news reports before making major purchase/sale decisions? Do you realize what the qualifications are to be a reporter?

    As to your comment about real estate agents, you’re right that they are not qualified to give buy/sell advice either, only to help people buy or sell once they have decided to do so. Now there may be extreme cases where it’s obvious someone shouldn’t buy (e.g. I’m going to be moving in 6 months), but other than that, the role of a real estate agent is to assist someone in carrying out the plans that they have made.

    About the only time I ever advise someone to sell is when they have considerable gain in a residence that would be exempt from income tax, and even then I only mention the benefits of being able to get gain tax free.

  15. 15

    By Justme @ 9:

    Here is a little anti-propaganda, based on fact:

    This Victoria mansion was viewed by 2,000 people. Its auction was cancelled when only one showed up (note: on weds, the day before Brexit vote).

    http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/this-victoria-mansion-was-viewed-by-2000-people-its-auction-was-cancelled-when-only-one-showed-up

    Wow, an auction of a house didn’t work! /sarc

    Seriously, that has to be an even more common event than soccer fans behaving badly.

  16. 16

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 13:

    About the only time I ever advise someone to sell is when they have considerable gain in a residence that would be exempt from income tax, and even then I only mention the benefits of being able to get gain tax free.

    One more: In this market if they have a house that is in some way not very appealing (e.g. aluminum wiring, near a busy road, near a flight path, etc.) now is an excellent time to sell as opposed to keeping a rental. Buyers overlook a lot in this market.

  17. 17
    Justme says:

    RE: Matt @ 10

    Matt says he does not think real estate propaganda works. Ah. A naive-sounding troll attempt. Does trolling work, Matt? Or is it just as ineffective as propaganda?

    RE: district @ 11

    District thinks the articles are just click bait. Well, that depends on who you are. For the journalist, clicks and readers are their currency. As for the people that puts together the puff quotes and the puff press releases, they have propaganda reasons.

    >>Many of the bears on this blog take the view that developer speculation rather than over-eager buying and selling is the thing to worry about.

    That is blatant mis-characterization. Many posters say that? Who says that? Be specific. Myself I have spoken out, with data, against the popular propaganda meme that little is getting built relative to population changes. Speculative development of high-density housing is not something I “worry about”.

  18. 18
    Justme says:

    RE: Sam Hunter @ 12

    >>Also the reason why there are not as many women who post here is because of the old creepers like Kary and SWE who will send a private message to females, creeping them out. Sick!

    Yourself, you managed to both creep and troll at the same time. Well done! Kary and SWE did right in not responding to you. Guys, just ignore this buffoonery. Not a word needs to be said from you. Just rise above it. We know better.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    ess says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 19:

    This might help move even more tech jobs up to Seattle.

    http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/3-SF-Supervisors-move-to-put-tech-tax-on-November-8330876.php

    Kary

    I don’t think even SF is crazy enough to pass that proposed legislation. On the other hand – we are talking about SF – so you never know.

    In addition – funny how the first sentence of the article describes what is happening here. Different city – same people allegedly causing the housing prices to increase. Wonder how many articles about other locations that are experiencing housing problems around the country start off with that sentence.

    One of the things I know that it is better to be living in an area that has a problem with affordable housing, then an area in decline with lots of affordable housing. So if SF passes the tech tax and more companies locate here – good for this area even with the housing challenges that might grow more acute.

  21. 21
    Matt says:

    @Kary, I wasn’t proposing that people should get their information regarding real estate from the media. I was merely pointing out that most people wouldn’t use MarketWatch or other media to inform them. Also, FWIW, I definitely fit into the know-next-to-nothing home-buyer class so I am not trying to be judgmental of others. Though maybe I know enough to realize I know very little…

    @Justme, trolling? I don’t know what you mean. Making claims of propaganda has some pretty strong implications. Is there some vast conspiracy to falsely inspire faith in the housing market? If so, why specifically in Seattle? You’ll have a hard time convincing me, but I’d be willing to be shown incorrect–after all, the tin foil I would then use to cover my windows might help cool my home this summer.

  22. 22
    Justme says:

    RE: Matt @ 21

    Propaganda dictionary definition: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    >>Making claims of propaganda has some pretty strong implications. Is there some vast conspiracy to falsely inspire faith in the housing market?

    As you can see, the word propaganda does does not have those connotations you are trying to attribute to it. But nice propaganda effort, there!

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