Seattle’s hot housing market continues record-breaking streak; good for sellers, tough for buyers.

The Seattle Times reports Seattle home price increases are approaching a national record.

Greater Seattle has now led the nation in home price increases for 20 months in a row, tied for the second-longest streak.

The cost of a single-family home across the metro area grew 13.1 percent in April compared to a year ago, according to the monthly Case-Shiller home-price index, released Tuesday. It’s about the same growth the region has experienced consistently for a while, month after month after agonizing month for buyers.

As we wrote earlier this year, Seattle has become an outlier among coastal metros.

Stateline reports the flight from the coasts, which we tend to think of as being the Pacific Coast from Washington to California and the Atlantic Coast down to about D.C. (at least, the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida don’t show the same outmigration, not yet). 

The high cost of housing seemed to sap Americans’ taste for coastal cities last year as cities in Texas and Arizona gained more population than New York City or Los Angeles for the first time in a decade, according to census population estimates released today.

Yet, Seattle bucked the trend, experiencing phenomenal population growth as other large coastal metros stalled. And, as Geek Wire reports, for sellers these have been good years.

Buying a home in Seattle these days is no easy task, thanks to low inventory and competition among the many thousands of people moving to the region. But it’s been well documented that selling one is a lot more satisfying, and a new analysis from Zillow shows just how financially true that is.

The Seattle-based real estate media company reports this week that West Coast home sellers saw the greatest profits from sales made in 2017. Seattle trails only the Bay Area cities of San Francisco and San Jose, Calif., in percentage of profit gained between original purchase price and 2017 sale price.

The affordability crisis in many metropolitan communities has put a damper on economic growth and fueled concerns with economic inequality. Richard Florida, for example, writes in City Lab,

Economic inequality is one of the most significant issues facing cities and entire nations today. But a mounting body of research suggests that housing inequality may well be the biggest contributor to our economic divides.

After examining some recent research, Florida concludes,

The clustering of talent, industry, investment, and other economic assets in small parts of cities and metropolitan areas is at once the main engine of economic growth and the biggest driver of inequality. The ability to buy and own housing, much more than income or any other source of wealth, is a significant factor in the growing divides between the economy’s winners and losers.

Although he leaves Seattle unmentioned, the comments appear to apply. Seattle Times real estate reporter Mike Rosenberg concludes his story by observing,

If there is any positive sign for buyers, it’s that the number of homes for sale has  started to tick up after years of steep declines. The for-sale inventory remains very low by historical standards, however, and the trend would have to continue for many more years before the market returns to anything resembling healthy for buyers.

The challenge continues.