Case-Shiller Tiers: To. The. Moon.

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: < $373,070 (up 0.2%)
  • Mid Tier: $373,070 – $604,377
  • Hi Tier: > $604,377 (up 0.3%)

Case-Shiller: Seattle kicks off 2018 with surging home prices

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

Up 0.7 percent December to January
Up 12.9 percent year-over-year.
Up 21.8 percent from the July 2007 peak

Over the same period last year prices were up 0.6 percent month-over-month and year-over-year prices were up 11.3 percent.

Seattle still leads the nation in year-over-year price growth. The only other metro areas with double-digit price growth from a year earlier are Las Vegas at 11.1 percent and San Francisco at 10.3 percent.

Share of sales in cheap parts of King County hit all-time high as prices keep climbing

It’s been nearly a year since we took a look at the in-county breakdown data from the NWMLS to see how the sales mix shifted around the county. I like to keep an eye on this not only to see how individual neighborhoods are doing but also to see how the sales mix shift affects the overall county-wide median price.

The most interesting thing in this data is that in February the share of sales in the South King regions hit an all-time high at 41.6 percent, just edging out the previous high of 41.4 percent set in November 2007 (just four months after prices peaked). Despite this continued shift in sales toward the lower-priced regions, the county-wide median price continues to push upward.

King County median home price now $77k higher than “Affordable” home price

As promised in Monday’s affordability post, here’s an updated look at the “affordable home” price chart.

In this graph I flip the variables in the affordability index calculation around to other sides of the equation to calculate what price home the a family earning the median household income could “afford” to buy at today’s mortgage rates, if they spent 30% of their monthly gross income on their home payment. Don’t forget that this math includes the (giant) assumption that the home buyers putting 20% down, which would be $129,990 at today’s median price.

Seattle-area affordability set to plunge to 9-year lows in 2018

If you’re wondering about the lack of posts on these pages recently, the explanation is pretty simple: There just isn’t much to say. The Seattle-area housing market has been in a protracted boom period with ridiculously low inventory of homes for sale and rapidly-climbing prices for years now. In a lot of ways it looks like the housing bubble that was in full swing when I started this blog in 2005, but what’s going on behind the scenes is very different this time around. Is it possible that Seattle really is special this time around and the “bubble” won’t burst this time? … Maybe?

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to update more of the charts of the “fundamentals,” so let’s start with an updated look at our affordability index charts for the counties around Puget Sound.