Aug 11, 201701:20 PMBlog

Other negatives in regional economy

Aug 11, 2017 - 01:20 PM

As the national report on consumer prices out today shows Western Washington with higher inflation, another analysis from the state’s official Economic & Revenue Forecast office finds some softer signs.

Washington car and truck sales fell in June to the lowest level in more than three years. Seasonally adjusted new vehicle registrations declined 5.4 percent to 274,300 units, which was the lowest rate since March 2014. Car and truck sales are down 18.1 percent since the post-recession peak in January 2016 and down 10.8 percent over the year.

The latest Institute of Supply Management-Western Washington Index moved back into negative territory in July after a neutral reading in June. The index, which measures conditions in the manufacturing sector, decreased from 50.0 in in June to 47.0 in July.

Housing construction in the state increased in the second quarter of 2017, but fell slightly short of the forecast. Seattle area home prices continue to rise very rapidly. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, seasonally adjusted Seattle area home prices rose 0.9 percent in May compared to a 0.1percent rise in a national index.

However, a more reliable measure is the over-the-year growth, which shows a 13.3 percent increase in prices since the previous May, more than double the 5.7 percent increase nationally. Not only are prices rising faster in Seattle than in other major metropolitan areas, but the rate of price appreciation in Seattle has also been increasing in recent years.

Seattle-area home prices are up 69 percent since the December 2011 low point and now exceed the May 2007 pre-recession peak by 17 percent.

            

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