The high monthly increase seen by Seattle on the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index held relatively steady from March through April 2018, from 2.8 percent to 2.7 percent respectively. This was the first instance of back-to-back monthly index gains of more than 2.25 percent since May 2013. It was also enough to expand the year-over-year advance to 13.1 percent, bringing Seattle’s nationwide lead to 20 months—second-longest in the history of the index.

While the less-populated inland city of Las Vegas approached Seattle’s year-over-year increase in April (at 12.7 percent), none of Seattle’s competing Pacific Coast gateway cities came closer than San Francisco, with a gain of 10.9 percent. Los Angeles, San Diego, and Portland each trailed with single-digit advances.

The gap between Seattle’s leading 12-month increase over those of the other gateway cities ranged from a difference (by subtraction) of 2.2 percent more than San Francisco, to 7.1 percent more than Portland. Seattle’s gain was nearly double the 6.6 percent increase computed for Case-Shiller’s 20-City Composite Index. The chart below maps these widening shortfalls against Seattle’s skyrocketing trend:

 

While rapidly rising home prices have brought windfalls to home sellers in the region, buyers have been under strain to find affordable homes close to employment centers. As previously reported by Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) on this blog, the high prices are driven by dwindling supply that has compelled less affluent buyers to seek homes further and further into the exurbs.

A reminder is in order that the Case Shiller Index is based on repeat sales of residential homes in King, Snohomish, and Pierce Counties, not just within the city of Seattle. This means that the price gains indicated by the Index reflect a large part of the demand spilling north and south from King County. It also means that the Index has been prone to understating home price gains in neighborhoods seeing the greatest demand. For comparison with the Index, the chart below shows the annual increases in the median price for the month of April throughout the Seattle metropolitan region (Seattle MSA), in all three of the region’s component counties, and in the city of Seattle itself.

 

For Seattle’s comparative performance on the Case-Shiller Index, see our chart of the Index trends below; and for more details, download the S&P Dow Jones Case-Shiller summary report. For details on the implications for homes in your neighborhood, contact a local RSIR broker for their latest analysis.