US Home Prices Rise At The Fastest Pace Since July 2014

While it is unclear if the Chinese, tired of fighting regulations in Canada, are behind the latest jump in home prices, today Case-Shiller reported that its index of Top 20 cities rose at a 5.9% annual rate, the highest increase since July 2014, citing tight supply and growing housing demand.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index reported a 5.8% annual gain in February, up from 5.6% last month and posting a new 32-month high. The 10-City Composite posted a 5.2% annual increase, up from 5.0% the previous month. The broader 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.9%, up from 5.7% in January, higher than Wall Street expectations of a 5.8% increase.

On a monthly basis, prices increased by 0.7%, slightly less than last month's 0.9% increase.

Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In February, Seattle led the way with a 12.2% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 9.7%. Dallas replaced Denver in the top three with an 8.8% increase. Fifteen cities reported greater price increases in the year ending February 2017 versus the year ending January 2017

“Housing and home prices continue to advance,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index and the two composite indices accelerated since the national index set a new high four months ago. Other housing indicators are also advancing, but not accelerating the way prices are. As per National Association of Realtors sales of existing homes were up 5.6% in the year ended in March. There are still relatively few existing homes listed for sale and the small 3.8 month supply is supporting the recent price increases. Housing affordability has declined since 2012 as the pressure of higher prices has been a larger factor than stable to lower mortgage rates.

Blitzer added that “Housing’s strength and home building are important contributors to the economic recovery. Housing starts bottomed in March 2009 and, with a few bumps, have advanced over the last eight years. New home construction is now close to a normal pace of about 1.2 million units annually, of which around 800,000 are single family homes. Most housing rebounds following a recession only last for a year or so. The notable exception was the boom that set the stage for the bubble. Housing starts bottomed in 1991, drove through the 2000-2001 recession, and peaked in 2005 after a 14-year run.”

A report on new home sales at 10am ET is expected to give a more detailed picture of the March housing market.