For the second straight month, the Seattle area has topped the nation in home-price growth, even during what is normally a slow time of year for local home sales.

The typical single-family house across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties cost 10.7 percent more in October than a year ago, the biggest increase of 20 cities measured by the Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday.

 Before topping last month’s report, Seattle hadn’t been the nation’s hottest housing market since 2007.
Portland again was second, with home prices rising 10.3 percent, followed by Denver, Dallas and Tampa, Fla.,  at about 8 percent each.

As they have all year, home prices in Seattle are growing at about twice the nationwide rate. The national housing market set a high for the second straight month, beating out its old pre-recession peak.

In Greater Seattle, home costs have increased 59 percent since bottoming out in 2012, and are up 7 percent compared with the old high in 2007, before the housing bubble popped. During the past year, the Seattle region has surpassed the metro areas of Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., on the list of priciest housing markets, with the average house across King, Snohomish and Pierce counties topping $400,000, according to Zillow.

Brisk job growth and a historic dearth of housing supply continue to drive prices higher, as buyers compete for a dwindling number of houses for sale. The typical single-family house now costs $550,000 in King County, $400,000 in Snohomish County and $283,000 in Pierce County, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service.

 Continuing a local trend, home costs are rising fastest in the starter home market, where there are very few homes left and many interested buyers looking for something cheaper. Starter home prices are up 12.7 percent compared with a year ago, while luxury home costs are up 9.7 percent.

But the surge in home prices is starting to slow,  at least slightly compared with the pace seen in spring and summer, when home sales are at their swiftest.

Home-price gains have been slowing a bit in recent months, contrary to a national trend. Seattle home values now rising at their slowest annual pace in six months, while nationwide prices are growing at the fastest rate in more than two years.

And compared to just a month prior, seasonally-adjusted Seattle home values grew only 0.9 percent, the same as the rest of the country.

~Mike Rosenberg, Seattle Times Business Reporter