Seattle is the hottest housing market in the country

SEATTLE - Seattle is the hottest housing market in the country according to new numbers released on Tuesday by the Case-Shiller Indices.

Home prices across Snohomish, Pierce and King Counties are up and Seattle prices are rising twice as fast as the rest of the country.

“It seems like Seattle’s great renaissance,” said Joe Paganelli, who recently moved to Seattle from L.A.

But instead it’s sticker shock when it comes to home prices.

“We thought we would come in here and bang out a great deal - so (we're) surprised,” Paganelli said.

The Seattle region saw an 11 percent jump in home prices in one year, beating out Portland for the top spot in the country.

“To hit No. 1, it’s flattering in one capacity, sad in another because our inventory is still lagging so horrifically,” broker George Moorhead said.

Moorhead, who works for Bentley Properties, said a healthy market has five to six months of inventory. In Seattle, it’s just about a month.

That means it’s taking many buyers more than a year to purchase a home.

“They are chasing a perpetual ball that keeps getting bigger and farther ahead,” Moorhead said.

To stay in the game, many are forced to look outside of Seattle.

Derek Parkhurst purchased a home in Kitsap County, learning to get used to the longer commute.

“We couldn’t afford Seattle,” Parkhurst said.

The influx of buyers going further out of Seattle is also driving prices up outside King County.

Zillow says Pierce County’s median home price is $281,000, up 10 percent.

Snohomish County is $377,200 - up 11.2 percent - while King County’s median price is $518,000.

“That’s crazy, but look at all the cranes - you know it’s exploding here,” Parkhurst said.

But still not enough housing for the thousands moving to the area every month.

Moorhead points to data from National Association of Realtors, which said Puget Sound needs more than 73,000 homes on the market right now to meet the demand. The increase in home prices is bad news for people whose only choice is to rent.

Rent prices are up 9 percent in Seattle, and experts say that could go up as home prices increases.

“We better get buying right away,” Paganelli said.

Paganelli said Seattle has yet to reach the height of the market, so he believes buying in now will still be a good investment.