According to the latest Case-Shiller home price index, Seattle once again leads the nation in price growth. This is a streak that has now lasted 17 months. Their report, reporting on January 2018, shows Seattle home prices rising 12.9 percent over the past year. Las Vegas (11.1 percent) and San Francisco (10.2 percent) followed behind as the only other markets to post double digit gains.
The NWMLS Market Report for March was also released this week showing a surge of new listings and pending sales over the past month. The number of pending sales shot up 29 percent — from 7,980 in February to 10,311 in March. The volume of new listings also increased more than 45 percent.
There were 10,595 new listings in March compared to February’s 7,284. By the end of the month there were 8,825 active listings, a 9.7 percent drop from the year prior. Fourteen out of the NWMLS’ 23 counties reported drops in pending sales. The surge can also be attributed to the continued strong job growth and buyers who want to purchase before interest rates increase.
In the NWMLS report, home prices were up 13.2 percent across the region, and even higher in the 4-county Puget Sound region. Kitsap led that group with a 19 percent increase, but King County remains the priciest. The median sale price for single-family homes and condos in King County increased 17.9 percent to $625,000. Excluding condos, the median price for last month’s sales reached $689,950. The remaining two Puget Sound counties saw median gains as well: Pierce County was up more than 18 percent and Snohomish, 14 percent.
The sales of luxury homes is also surging. Sales of homes priced at $2 million or more are up 30 percent over the past year. During first quarter 2017, 136 sales were reported, and during first quarter 2018, 177 sales were reported. For sales of homes priced at $1 million or more, 941 were reported in quarter one 2017, and 1,204 reported this year – a 28 percent increase.
Inventory levels remain low; area-wide there’s 1.2 months of inventory, well below the four to six month range indicating a balanced market. Snohomish County has the smallest selection at 0.67 months. King County followed behind with 0.83 months, Kitsap (0.95 months), and Pierce (0.99 months).