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Portland's Streak Leading the Nation in Price Increases Is Over

The Portland area led the nation in home-price increases for 11 months, but Seattle took the top spot in September.

Portland saw home prices rise 10.9 percent year-over-year, compared with Seattle's 11 percent, according to the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index. The two cities were the only ones in the 20-city index to see double-digit annual increases.

Portland's annual increases have slowed in recent months, which is welcome news for would-be homebuyers who have seen rising home prices take chunks out of their buying power.

But the housing market remains highly competitive, and prices are still climbing at a rapid clip. Looming mortgage-rate hikes threaten to curb buying power more.

Nationally, the Case-Shiller index showed home prices had surpassed their bubble-era peak to reach an all-time high. They're also gaining ground at a rate not seen since 2012, when prices started a rapid rebound from the collapse of the housing bubble.

"We are currently experiencing the best real estate returns since the bottom in July of 2012," said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P's index committee. "Given history, this trend is unlikely to be sustained."

The Case-Shiller index measures relative changes in home prices using repeated sales of the same homes. It uses a three-month rolling average.

The median Portland-area home sold for $350,300 in September, an increase of 15 percent from a year earlier. It dipped slightly, to $350,000, in October, which is typical for the season.

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