The Seattle metro area ended 2017 as the hottest real estate market in the country. Experts are predicting this trend will continue into 2018.

The latest statistics from the Northwest MLS show closed-sales prices for single family homes in King County are up year-over-year by 14.7 percent, in Snohomish County by 11.3 percent and in Pierce County by 7.5 percent. What to watch in 2018: Inventory will continue to be the top issue in our market, as home builders and developers work to maintain the new construction boom in our region. For 2018 we expect to see more development, as local builders work to implement their comprehensive plan to expand the housing supply.

Our region’s high-paying job opportu­nities will keep unemployment low and attract millennials from across the country. Initially drawn to our region by the good jobs, they’ll plant roots here because of the excellent quality of life. This year will see the beginning wave of millennials starting families and, along with that, purchasing homes.

According to the U.S. Census, an esti­mated 1,000 new residents are moving to our area each week. Competition over available rental housing will cause rents to rise, which may also lead more renters to decide the long-term consistency of homeownership is preferable to being at the mercy of the rental market.

Overseas interest in Seattle-area real estate will continue to play an influential role in our local market, in particular because of the all-cash offers foreign buyers are likely to bring.

Affordability will remain a hot topic. A report released in late 2017 by HSH.com revealed that it took an annual income of $93,400 to be able to afford monthly payments on the median house in the Seattle metro area, up from around $82,000 the previous year.

Our diverse economy, educated workforce and startup spirit will continue to fuel innovation and strengthen our region in 2018 and in the years to come.