Seattle area home prices rise to 2005 levels: Case-Shiller report

With home prices rising 8.7 percent in January from a year earlier, the Seattle area housing market outperformed the S&P/Case-Shiller 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices of Home Prices for that month.
And that’s no mean feat. All the cities included in the 20-city index had annual gains, while 19 of the 20 cities surveyed showed acceleration in their annual increases. What’s more, both composite indices in January posted their biggest year-over-year price increases since the housing bubble burst in the summer of 2006.
Seattle area home prices have returned to 2005 levels, according to the S&P indices report released Tuesday.
The Seattle metropolitan area’s 8.7 percent annual gain in home prices in January topped a 7.3 percent annual price increase for the 10-City Composite Index and an 8.1 percent annual increase for the 20-City Composite Index.
“Economic data continues to support the housing recovery,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee of the S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Single-family home building permits and housing starts are up nationwide, with double-digit increases in February compared to February of last year. The inventory of homes for sale remains tight, thanks to low borrowing rates and improving employment. While foreclosures nudged up, the numbers remain 25 percent below their level in 2012.
In January, all 20 cities posed positive gains in home prices on an annual basis, with eight metropolitan areas posting double-digit gains. Hard-hit during the downturn, Phoenix saw home prices rebound with a 23.2 percent gain for the biggest increase, followed by San Francisco with a 17.5 percent annual price gain. Las Vegas ranked third with a 15.3 percent gain, followed by Detroit, 13.8 percent; Atlanta, 13.4 percent; Los Angeles, 12.1 percent; Minneapolis, 12.1 percent; and Miami, 10.8 percent.
The Seattle area’s sturdy annual gain in home prices came despite slight price declines of 0.5 percent from November to December and 0.3 percent from December to January.
Seattle area prices are back to where they were in February 2005, when the area’s home price index on the Case-Shiller indices was at 141.3. The index is based on home prices in January 2000 and indicates home values have appreciated by 41.3 percent since then.
Across the country, home prices are back to their levels in the fall of 2003. Home prices in the 20-city composite are down just under 30 percent from their peak in June and July of 2006.

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