single-family home prices

Photo: Maëlick/Flickr

When the weather is beautiful and sunny like it has been this week, it’s easy to understand why Seattle is such a desirable place to live. But rain or shine, the city has seen enormous home price growth this past year.

According to the latest data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which track home price changes both nationally and in 20 metropolitan areas, Seattle-area single-family home prices rose 10.8 percent in March from a year ago, behind only Portland, where prices shot up 12.3 percent. This is perhaps the one contest Seattle is happy to concede to Portland.

February to March was a hot period for Seattle. Home prices increased a full 2.4 percent, which doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you consider that this latest monthly escalation is more than triple the national average.

So what’s fueling this rise in home prices? Rising employment, low mortgage rates and low inventory of available homes. According to Sam DeBord, president of Seattle King County Realtors, a balanced market will have an absorption rate near 20 percent — by contrast, Seattle’s neighborhoods are averaging 100.4 percent absorption. DeBord based his statistics on six months of data from the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. Per Debord, here’s a snapshot of the highest absorption rates in the most popular Seattle ZIP codes:

219.1 percent — Green Lake, Fremont, Wallingford, Phinney Ridge (98103)

183.1 percent — Roosevelt, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Sand Point, View Ridge (98115)

182.4 percent — Ballard (98107)

179.6 percent — West Seattle, Admiral, Harbor Drive (98126)

170.6 percent — North Ballard, Sunset Hill, Crown Hill (98117)

If you’re in the market for a new house, good luck! It’s hot out out there.

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