Northwest housing holds steady

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Cumulative increase in house prices for various periods
and compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over five years
All periods through 3/31/07 Q1 2007 1 Year 5 Years 5Y CAGR
ALASKA +1.4% +7.0% +53.7% +9.0%
Anchorage +1.4% +6.9% +57.0% +9.4%
Fairbanks +3.2% +7.4% +46.4% +7.9%
IDAHO +1.7% +12.3% +64.3% +10.4%
Boise-Nampa +2.0% +14.5% +70.9% +11.3%
Coeur d’Alene +1.3% +7.0% +89.2% +13.6%
Idaho Falls +3.8% +13.6% +45.5% +7.8%
Pocatello -0.6% +9.3% +40.3% +7.0%
MONTANA +2.5% +11.7% +62.2% +10.2%
Billings +0.7% +8.0% +46.0% +7.9%
Great Falls +2.6% +11.9% +41.3% +7.2%
OREGON +1.3% +10.8% +69.0% +11.1%
Bend +0.4% +13..7% +100.9% +15.0%
Corvallis +1.5% +13.9% +52.2% +8.8%
Eugene-Springfield +0.7% +9.0% +65.8% +10.6%
Medford-Ashland +0.6% +1.1% +86.4% +13.3%
Portland- Vancouver-Beaverton +1.3% +11.0% +67.4% +10.9%
Salem +1.9% +13.4% +53.0% +8.9%
WASHINGTON +1.9% +11.6% +67.2% +10.8%
Bellingham +1.9% +8.2% +85.8% +13.2%
Bremerton-Silverdale +2.2% +11.1% +85.2% +13.1%
Kennewick-Richland-Pasco -2.1% +3.4% +21.9% +4.0%
Longview +1.8% +12.9% +53.5% +8.9%
Olympia -0.2% +8.6% +73.2% +11.6%
Seattle-Bellevue +2.2% +12.6% +66.3% +10.7%
Spokane +2.2% +13.6% +66.4% +10.7%
Tacoma +1.5% +11.9% +76.1% +12.0%
CALIFORNIA -0.8% +1.2% +98.8% +14.7%
Los Angeles-Long Beach -0.3% +4.8% +124.5% +17.6%
San Francisco +0.3% +1.3% +56.9% +9.4%
San Jose -0.8% +2.3% +55.6% +9.2%
U.S. +0.5% +4.3% +53.5% +9.0%
SOURCE: Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (

Economic conditions remain much stronger in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West than elsewhere in the United States, at least if housing prices are an accurate guide.

All seven states with the highest increases in house prices in 12 months through the end of March are in one of those two areas. In order, they are Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Washington, New Mexico and Oregon. Mississippi, Louisiana and North Carolina round out the Top 10.

The West also dominates the list of metro areas with the biggest price gains in 12 months through March. Top movers in the western states:  Boise-Nampa (No. 8), Corvallis (9), Bend (10), Spokane (11), Salem (13), Longview (14), Seattle-Bellevue-Everett (16), and Tacoma (19).

Washington’s house prices, fueled by booms in aerospace and software, remain especially strong. Five of the top 20 U.S. metro areas are in Washington. One-year price increases exceeded 10% in a majority of Washington’s ranked metro areas.

The table underscores the point: Prosperity is widespread in the Pacific Northwest, not confined to just a few areas. Who would have imagined that home prices would rise faster in Tacoma and Spokane than in the Seattle area — due in part to starting from a lower base?

— Excerpted from Marple’s Pacific Northwest Letter, editor Michael Parks. For information about this biweekly report on Northwest economic trends, visit


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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

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