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Originally published August 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 18, 2007 at 2:02 AM


Home values here still rising

For months, Realtor-generated home-sales numbers have shown that Western Washington real-estate prices continue to appreciate, bucking a...

Seattle Times business reporter

Home prices

Highest-appreciating metropolitan areas (year-over-year):

Grand Junction, Colo. (18.6%)

Corvallis, Ore. (11.2%)

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, N.C.-S.C. (9%)

Eugene-Springfield, Ore. (6.9%)

Spokane (6.1%)

Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton (5.3%)

Most-depreciating metropolitan areas (year-over-year):

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. (-16.4%)

Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Fla. (-14.3%)

Stockton-Lodi, Calif. (-13.5%)

Charleston-North Charleston, S.C. (-12.8%)

Daytona Beach, Fla. (-12.5%)

Modesto, Calif. (-12.4%)

For months, Realtor-generated home-sales numbers have shown that Western Washington real-estate prices continue to appreciate, bucking a national trend of widespread price dips across the country.

Now another source confirms the steady rise of local home values, while also revealing a handful of local areas that are showing declines.

Seattle-based Zillow, an online home-valuation firm, reports homes are appreciating modestly throughout Central Puget Sound counties, growing at an average rate of 1.1 percent in King, 3.2 percent in Kitsap, 2.1 percent in Pierce, 1.5 percent in Snohomish and 0.9 percent in Thurston.

These changes compare the second quarter of 2007 to the first.

Appreciation for all counties is higher year over year, with King County registering 5.3 percent value growth, according to Zillow.

Also year over year, Zillow placed Spokane and the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton metropolitan area in the top five for appreciation growth out of 66 metro regions across the nation.

Nationwide, home values are down 2.8 percent year over year, Zillow reports.

While Zillow confirms the slowing but still upward local trend reported by the Northwest Multiple Listing Service, the two firms' numbers are based on different calculations.

The listing service's findings, reported monthly, reflect home-sales activity as reported by real-estate agents and brokers.

Zillow, which has no real-estate agents, uses its own proprietary formula to estimate — or in its parlance "Zestimate" — the market value of all homes, whether for sale or not.

It also analyzes data in ways the multiple-listing service does not, breaking down appreciation by condominium and house size. It also breaks it down by neighborhood.

However, Zillow does not analyze why values fluctuate.

"The reason why we give these numbers is because we feel it's so important for consumers to know the value of their home because it's often their largest asset," said spokeswoman Amanda Hoffman.

Zillow is advertiser-supported.

Several towns and neighborhoods in the Puget Sound region showed declining quarter-over-quarter appreciation. Three were within Seattle.

Pioneer Square and downtown, which are exclusively condominiums, dipped 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent respectively. In Magnolia, values declined 3.9 percent.

Within King County, the city of SeaTac's quarter-over-quarter home values dropped the most: 4.2 percent.

Woodinville's town center saw a slight decline, as did Kirkland and parts of Renton, Kent and Auburn. All were down less than 2 percent.

Only a few communities showed year-over-year dips. Among them: Greenbank on Whidbey Island (down 1.5 percent) and Pierce County's small town of Roy behind Fort Lewis. (down 2.5 percent).

Zillow's analysis shows price deflation of more than 10 percent in parts of California and Florida, and lesser drops in other states.

Elsewhere in Washington, Spokane home values rose 4.8 percent quarter over quarter, while Yakima's were up 6.8 percent.

"The U.S. real-estate market still appears quite anemic, at best, with many markets still doing poorly, especially those in South Florida and Southern California," Stan Humphries, Zillow's vice president of data and analytics, said in a statement.

Zillow found midsized and large homes had larger price declines, nationally, than did homes smaller than 1,200 square feet. Nationally, condominium values were down 5.2 percent year over year.

"The significantly poorer performance of condos and larger single-family homes suggests that prices for these housing sectors are still not in accord with current demand," Humphries said.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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