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Seattle home prices rise 13.6% in 2020, second highest in US

Seattle’s housing market bypassed the typical winter lull, and brokers predict we could be headed for a busy spring.

Seattle had one of the hottest housing markets in the country in 2020 with home prices climbing 13.6% over 2019.

U.S. home prices surged at the fastest pace in nearly seven years in December, fueled by low mortgage rates and Americans moving from urban apartments to houses in the suburbs.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, climbed 10.1% in December from a year earlier. The year-end jump was the biggest since April 2014 and follows a strong 9.2% year-over-year gain in November.

Home prices climbed 14.4% in Phoenix, 13.6% in Seattle and 13% in San Diego.

RELATED: Lynnwood is now Washington's fastest-growing suburb for apartment renters

Earlier this month, Washington real estate brokers pointed out that low interest rates have allowed buyers to afford the escalating home prices, but worried prices were being driven up “at an unsustainable pace.”

“We’re feeling nervous about where this market is headed,” said Dick Beeson, managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest. “Help is not on the way. Sellers are almost as rare as the dodo bird.”

After not seeing the typical drop-off in winter, brokers predicted we could be headed for a typically busy spring.

Seattle’s 2020 rebound comes after home price growth slowed in 2019 when home prices rose 4.1%, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic.

The uptick in home prices last year wasn’t limited to Seattle or the west coast. Chicago, which recorded the slowest price gain, saw a 7.7% uptick. Detroit was not included in the annual figures because of record-keeping delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Demand for Puget Sound real estate hasn’t slowed down despite the pandemic