Seattle Home Prices Report: Rose 141% Over the Past Decade

October 30, 2018
Last updated:
December 7, 2021
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Home prices in Seattle rose by around 141% over the past decade. That was one of the highest gains among the major metro areas in the U.S., for that 10-year time period. Where will prices go from 2022 and on?

In This Article

Seattle has long been a hot housing market, with home prices more than double many other parts of the state of Washington and the country as a whole. Over the past two decades, prices have skyrocketed, making prices extremely high for home buyers but giving homeowners plenty of equity by riding this wave of appreciation.

Seattle-Area Home Values Rose 141% in 10 Years

We hear a lot about home-price changes from year to year. But what about the long term? Sometimes, it’s interesting to see how much home values rise during a 10- or even 20-year period.

Among other things, this allows us to calculate the average appreciation rates without them being overly influenced by short-term spikes or dips. We can also compare one city to another, to determine where prices have risen the most over time.

Zillow recently took the long view by showing how home prices have changed in Seattle and 34 other major metropolitan areas across the U.S., during a 10-year period. Specifically, they calculated the change in the median home value for each metro between 2011 and 2021.

Based on this analysis, a home purchased in Seattle for $362,000 back in 2011 would be worth around $874,000 in today’s market. That means it would have appreciated by $512,000 during the 10 years from 2011 to 2021.

That’s a hypothetical scenario, but it’s based on real data. House values in the Seattle area actually have risen at that pace.

When this article was published, in December 2021, the median home price in the city of Seattle was around $874,877. In the broader metro area (which includes Tacoma, Bellevue and other cities), the median was around $695,058 as of December.

Today’s Seattle Mortgage Rates

Incomes Rose at a Slower Pace

The median household income in Seattle is currently about $102,486. This is around 23% higher than the state-wide median annual income of $78,687. 

This is a significant increase over the past two decades. Compared to 2000’s median income of $45,736, today’s median income represents an increase of just over 55%. 

However, income increases are not as marked over the past 10 years as compared to the past 20. Though incomes have increased at a very healthy rate over the years in Seattle, they don’t compare to the rate of increase of home prices in the city.

The median household income in the Seattle metro area rose by about 15% during the 10-year period mentioned above. This means that home values in the area have risen over 9 times as much as incomes.

Seattle is not unique in that regard. Zillow’s figures for the nation as a whole show a similar trend, with house-price appreciation outpacing income growth. Nationwide, the median home value rose by 56% during the 10 years from 2011 to 2021. By comparison, the median household income in the country rose by 26% during that same period.

Related: Most affordable housing markets in Seattle Metro Area

In Seattle, the gap between income and home-price growth is more pronounced than in many other U.S. cities. That’s partly because of the double-digit annual increases in home values that occurred during the middle part of this decade.

For many years, home-price growth in Seattle was roughly on par with the nation as a whole. But an ongoing housing shortage, coupled with strong demand from buyers, sent home values in the Seattle area skyrocketing in recent years.

Price Increases Will Continue

Prices in Seattle have skyrocketed over the past few years, including in 2021. From the start to the end of 2021, prices increased by 11%. And prices are expected to continue at roughly the same pace throughout 2022.

Home prices in Seattle are still some of the highest in the state of Washington. There are plenty of other markets nearby that offer much lower real estate prices, such as Tacoma and Federal Way. 

Tacoma’s median home price is currently $467,392, an increase of 23.1%. And in Federal Way, the median home price is $537,152, which is 20.9% higher than it was one year ago.

In fact, not only do these markets offer prices that are less than half of Seattle’s prices, their markets are also very hot lately. This could make them an ideal place to buy a home at a lower price while riding the wave of rapid appreciation.

Increase in Home Equity

Thanks to these massive increases in home prices over the past few years, homeowners who got into the market earlier have realized significant gains in home equity. Along with regular mortgage payments, Seattle homeowners have been able to take advantage of skyrocketing equity thanks to appreciation in home values over the decade.

That doesn’t mean that it’s too late to get into the market for homebuyers looking to buy a home. As mentioned, prices are expected to continue increasing in 2022, so there’s plenty of opportunity to benefit from homeownership and the withholding that comes with it.

Today’s very low interest rates also make homebutting more affordable. As of the first week of December 2021, the rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.11%. That’s slightly higher than where rates were the same time last year, but they’re much lower than they were just 3 years ago.  With lower rates comes lower mortgage payments.

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Looking to Apply For a Mortgage in Seattle?

Sammamish Mortgage is a family-owned company based in Bellevue, Washington which serves the entire state, as well as the Pacific Northwest region overall. This includes Washington State, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon. We have been offering our clients many different mortgage programs and products with flexible qualification requirements to suit the needs of each borrower since 1992. Feel free to contact us today if you have questions about applying for a mortgage.

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