Seattle, “the Emerald City,” is experiencing its fifth straight month of record price increases within a year, January, 2016 – January, 2017, with the typical home price going up a whopping 11.3%.  What’s driving this surge in home prices?  Both the luxury home and starter home markets, according to the Case Shiller home price index.

Seattle’s luxury market is up 11% from last year, the biggest rise since September, 2013, and up 9.3% from just two months ago!  Its starter market is up 11.6% from last year!  In Seattle alone, the median value is $624,700. while in surrounding environs, the median home value is $420,200.

The latest data from the Northwest MLS corroborates its findings with Case Shiller.  The median single family home prices as of February, 2017, reached record highs in Seattle ($675,000.), Eastside ($832,000.) and Snohomish county ($412,500.)  The Pierce county median single family home price came in at $280,000.  Just as significantly, twenty three of Washington’s western counties saw their home supply inventories drop by 25% and their condominium inventories drop by 33.2%.

It’s no wonder that Seattle is as hot as it is.  The 11th largest metro area in the nation as well as the country’s gateway to Asia, Seattle is home to both industrial and “new” economies (internet, technology start-ups, design, services, clean tech companies).  Seattle is also the headquarters for companies such as Amazon, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco, and Nintendo. Boeing, though it recently moved its headquarters to Chicago, continues to be a major presence in the area.

Known as a metro-natural city because of its proximity to mountains and water, Seattle’s cultural, sporting and recreational assets are rich and available to locals and tourists year-round.  The Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the architectural wonder of the Central Public Library are huge draws.  Jazz, grunge, blues, and rock and roll rock the city nightly.  The Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Sounders have huge fan bases of professional football, baseball and soccer. Quality education on all levels is highly valued and available as are year round opportunities for hiking, running, cycling, rowing, etc.

So yes, it makes sense that Seattle is sizzling hot.  It’s a city that offers pretty much everything for everyone wanting to live in a vibrant, economically/culturally happening, heterogeneous city that isn’t yet completely out of reach financially like its west coast neighbors, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area.