Home values went through biggest spike since housing burst

Real estate in Seattle saw the biggest jump in values in August, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer. The report found that home prices were up 1.4 percent this year compared with August 2011 as the median price was $261,919. Since the beginning of the housing bubble burst, it marks the largest spike in prices.

Home prices are not entirely back to normal, however. According to the report, home values are still down 31 percent since May 2007. Real estate experts thought the upswing was going to take longer than much of the country, since King, Pierce and Snohomish counties went into the recession later.

The city of Seattle stood out from the pack, with median home values of $374,000. This shows a gain of 7.2 percent over August 2011 and a 0.7 percent increase since July. In August, the median sales price of a home in King County was $378,000, which is up 8 percent from a year earlier.

However, it is noted that the huge spike in prices is unlikely to happen again and is influenced by the decreasing amount of foreclosures. Similarly, other areas have a short supply of low-end homes, and a mix of homes that sell on the high-end. Many homeowners that were intending on selling their high-end homes held off until prices began to go up, as well.

“The back half of the year is always softer than the front half, and this year is no exception,” Stan Humphries, real estate expert, said in a news release according to the publication. “We've been encouraging folks to focus on the longer term trends and not monthly blips. Home values will rise a little and fall a little, month by month, in the near future, but we believe the overall trend will remain positive albeit still below normal rates of appreciation.”

More expensive areas in King County have done better than others during the recession, according to Humphries. For instance, the northwest neighborhood of The Highlands features homes situated among tall trees. Some homes in this affluent neighborhood date back a century, and can be tucked away on lots of nearly 10 acres. The median home value in the area is $420,900 in July, which is up 4 percent since the previous year.