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Houses dot the hillside in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, with the city skyline in the distance. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

Home values and rents are rising in Seattle faster than almost any other place in the United States according to new data released Thursday by Zillow.

The Seattle-based real estate media company’s February Market Report put the median home value in the Seattle metro area at $420,200 — up 11.2 percent over last year. Tampa, Fla. (11.6 percent increase) and Dallas (11.1 percent) are the other markets in the top three.

Home values across the country as a whole are up 6.9 percent year over year. The median home value in the U.S. is now $195,700, the highest mark since June 2007.

Seattle is also leading the way when it comes to the rate at which rents are rising. The median payment is now $2,100 a month, up 7.2 percent over the past year. Portland saw a jump of 5.4 percent and Sacramento, Calif., rents rose 5.2 percent.

Rent figures across the U.S. rose 1.2 percent over the past year to $1,406 per month, according to the Zillow Rent Index.

With no apparent slowdown in the number of newcomers looking for places to live in Seattle, along with millennials aging into ownership ranks, housing inventory will be a concern during the home shopping season. With 10.5 percent fewer homes on the market than a year ago, Zillow predicts a very competitive market.

“Low inventory, strong demand and tough competition will be the defining characteristics of this year’s home shopping season,” Zillow chief economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said in a news release. “Even though interest rates are rising, buyers are eager to start their home search. If you’re a prospective buyer about to enter the market, keep in mind that it’s rare to get the first home you make an offer on, and homes in particularly hot markets frequently sell for over asking price. Buyers should give themselves enough time to get their finances in order and find a real estate agent they know and trust before jumping into the market.”

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