Case-Shiller: Home prices set 30-month high in December

Mar 02, 2017, 00:44
Case-Shiller: Home prices set 30-month high in December

The index's 10-city and 20-city composites each saw home prices increase 0.9%, on an adjusted basis, month over month.

Of the nation's 20 largest cities, seven reached their all-time highs in December: Seattle, Portland, Denver, Boston, Charlotte, San Francisco, and Dallas. He said that some people might naturally assume that prices are rising too quickly for a normal market and "could be heading for a fall", but he argued against that.

Home prices in New Jersey have lagged behind because of slow job growth and a continued backlog of distressed properties in the foreclosure pipeline.

Low inventories and robust sales have caused prices to move up more quickly, said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Down Jones Indices.

The moderation in U.S. bond yields has halted the increase in mortgage rates which should provide some further support to the housing sector and low inventory levels will also support prices in the short term.

While San Diego's increase was still higher than many major cities - Chicago, Phoenix and others - it was below year-over-year jumps at the start of 2016.

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A number of markets that have seen prices grow modestly since the recession are starting to see much faster rates of increase than they had in the recent past. If this were to continue that would mean that eventually Chicago would rise in the rankings of annual appreciation rates. Portland followed at 10 percent; Denver at 8.9 percent; Tampa, 8.4 percent; and Dallas, up 8.1 percent. Since 1975, the average pace is 1.3 percent; about two-thirds of the time, the rate is between -4 percent and +7 percent.

For his part, Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: "Details aside, the key point here is that very low inventory is pushing home prices up quite quickly, so implied real mortgage rates are negative".

The index for Bay Area condo values slipped 0.2 percent in December but remains 3.2 percent higher versus the same time a year ago and 20.8 percent above its previous cycle peak in October 2005.

When adjusted for inflation, the index's nationwide annual increase of 5.8 percent would be 3.8 percent.

December's numbers reflect the peak of a sharp rise in mortgage rates following the USA election. "A 30-year fixed rate mortgage today is 4.2 percent compared to the 6.4 percent average since 1990".

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