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Want a home in Seattle area? You'll need an $11,000 raise

Mike Rosenberg, The Seattle Times on

Published in Home and Consumer News

In pricey submarkets in Seattle and the Eastside, most down payments top six figures. In Seattle, the median down payment is $110,000, up from $86,000 a year before.

Add it all up and even responsible savers earning middle-class incomes are watching the housing market zoom faster than they can keep up with.

The monthly Case-Shiller home-price index, released Tuesday, showed single-family home prices across the Puget Sound region rose 12.9 percent in September compared with a year earlier, the biggest increase in the country. Las Vegas was second, at 9 percent.

Seattle has had the nation's hottest housing market for 13 straight months. That's never happened before. Seattle led the nation in price increases for 12 months in a row right before the housing bubble popped a decade ago.

The market in Seattle has actually started to cool just a bit after peaking two months ago at 13.5 percent year-over-year growth. That runs counter to a national trend, where 16 of the other 19 regions tracked by Case-Shiller are seeing price growth accelerate.

Home prices were up 6.2 percent nationally in September, the biggest gain in more than three years. And yet costs in Seattle grew more than twice as fast as the U.S. average.


Compared with just a month prior, prices in Seattle went down 0.3 percent, the biggest drop in nearly three years and the largest decrease in the country. Still, home costs here often dip this time of year. The last two times this happened -- in 2013 and 2014 -- prices zoomed right back up again after a few months.

When adjusted for normal seasonal changes, prices were still up half a percent from a month before, just shy of the national rate.

David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the S&P Dow Jones group that puts out the Case-Shiller data, noted most economic indicators nationally -- like low unemployment, cheap mortgage rates and rising rents -- suggest home prices will continue to rise across the country.

"One dark cloud for housing is affordability -- rising prices mean that some people will be squeezed out of the market," Blitzer said in a statement.


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