Home prices in the Seattle metropolitan area, including King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, rose 2 percent in April, their biggest monthly gain since before the housing crisis began.
The region’s 2 percent rise follows a 1.7 percent jump in March after seven straight months of declines providing further signs the real-estate market may be recovering according to the closely watched Chase-Shiller home-price index.
Home prices historically rise in the spring, but Seattle prices rose even when seasonal factors were considered. Prices still were down 1 percent from April 2011, but that was a smaller drop than that of the 20-city index, and an improvement over March’s year-over-year decline.
Pending sales up in May
Americans signed more contracts to buy previously occupied homes in May, matching the fastest pace in two years. The increase suggests consumers are gaining confidence in the housing market and a modest recovery will continue.
The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of sales agreements increased to 101.1 last month from 95.5 in April. That matches March’s reading, the highest since April 2010, when a home-buying tax credit boosted sales.
The index is 13.3 percent higher than it was a year ago after bottoming after the tax credit expired in June 2010 at 75.88. A reading of 100 is considered healthy.
Sales of new homes better than in past two years
Americans bought new homes in May at the fastest pace in more than two years, adding to evidence of a slow housing recovery.
The Commerce Department says sales of new homes increased 7.6 percent in May from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 369,000 homes. That’s the best pace since April 2010, the last month that buyers could qualify for a federal home-buying tax credit.