With effect from the October 2018 Case Shiller Home Price Index press release, Seattle officially dropped out of the nation’s top three residential markets by home price growth: “Las Vegas, San Francisco and Phoenix reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities [subject to the Case Shiller Index]. In October, Las Vegas led the way with a 12.8 percent year-over-year price increase, followed by San Francisco with a 7.9 percent increase and Phoenix with a 7.7 percent increase.” At 7.36 percent growth over the past 12 months, Seattle was not far behind; but the monthly result on the index (-1.05 percent) remained negative for a fourth consecutive month.
Following the release of the latest S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index, the Seattle Times once again proclaimed the decline of residential home prices in the Seattle metropolitan area. Contrary to headlines, however, trendlines give way to a more nuanced story. Some are using the Case Shiller Index to reinforce misleading growth reports, so let’s have a look at the data used to calculate the Index and compare it to results gathered from sales data in the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS).
Earlier this week, S&P Dow Jones released the August 2018 monthly results of their CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index. Until two months prior, the Index had shown Seattle leading the nation in residential (single-family) home prices for 21 months. That run was brought to an end by a surge of prices in Las Vegas; and while prices in Seattle have continued to advance, the pace has slackened in the weeks since.