When it comes to sustained growth in the price of a typical single-family home, the Emerald City is closing in on San Francisco. While the city by the Bay set the record back in 2001 for the longest streak of price gains, some 20 months in a row, Seattle is three months away from bursting through that high-water mark.
Now the hottest market in the United States, Seattle’s residential real estate has had a rip-roaring year so far: the cost of a home jumped 12.9 percent in January over a year earlier. That makes the 17th spike in a row, the Seattle Times reported this week, quoting the monthly Case-Shiller home price index.
If Seattle can keep up that red-hot pace, it could surpass San Francisco’s 20-month record for the longest streak of any metro area in the country. It could go either way, of course, with Las Vegas (up 11.1 percent) and San Francisco (up 10.2 percent) nipping at its heels.
With the help of Seattle Times reporter Mike Rosenberg, here’s a look back at some of the notable notches in Seattle’s real-estate belt:
February 2018: A mansion in the billionaire-infused suburb of Medina sells for $26.75 million, the most expensive home in the history of Western Washington and, the Times reports, it could be a teardown; the buyer’s name, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, was not disclosed, but tech titans Jeff Bezos and BIll Gates live nearby;
December 2017: The median cost of a single-family home on the county’s Eastside soared to $938,240 in December, beating the old record of $885,000, and in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, the median price hit $1 million for the first time ever;
November 2017: The median single-family home rises twice as fast as the national average, hitting $725,000, in a market that has seen dramatic price growth evenly across all segments, from starter homes to luxury properties to trade-ups;
November 2017: To keep up with the rising prices, Rosenberg figured would-be buyers would need an $11,000 pay raise in the past year to afford the typical mortgage; buyers now need a household income of $93,400, up from $82,000 a year earlier, to afford monthly payments on the median house in the Seattle metro area;
September 2017: Home sales aren’t the only thing soaring in Seattle – this month, the rent for the average two-bedroom apartment in the city topped $2,000 a month for the first time;
July 2017: For the first time since records were kept, the median King County home price grew more than $100,000 in just a year; it was the hottest month of July since such monthly records began in 2000, with prices rising 18.6 percent from a year earlier;
June 2017: The median U.S. home value surpasses $200,000 for the first time this month and Seattle, along with Dallas and Las Vegas, is at the head of the pack with the Emerald City’s home values jumping 13 percent year-over-year to a median home value of $447,100;
May 2017: Online real-estate broker Redfin releases new data showing about 90 percent of houses for sale in the city of Seattle over the past two months have ended up in bidding wars, the most since records were first logged at the start of this decade; the survey says Seattle’s bidding wars ranked higher than red-hot markets like San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Portland; the typical single-family house in the city last month sold for a record $722,000;
May 2017: A buyer beat out 40 other offers and paid $427,000 for a “crumbling, toxic West Seattle house too dangerous to enter,” says the Times; the single-story home on Belvidere Avenue was draped with a blue tarp, “hiding a roof that could collapse at any moment. The floors were giving way under rusty old appliances. It had five feet of standing water and air too toxic to breathe, creating its own gross ecosystem. Only licensed contractors who signed a legal waiver could enter;”
June 2016: With houses in Seattle selling for as much as $100,000 over the asking price, concerns grow over people at lower income levels getting squeezed; “We actually have come to a critical point,” Zillow economist Svenja Gudell tells KUOW. “We’re seeing the bottom third of people living in Seattle being shut out of the housing market completely.”