February 22, 2018

Robust US home price gains cool slightly in April

28 June 2017, 05:14 | Felicia Parsons

Home Prices Rose 5.6% in April, Says S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller

US home prices grow just 5.5 percent in April, missing analysts' expectations

NEW YORK, June 27 US single-family home prices accelerated at a slower pace than expected in April, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index is a composite of single-family home price indices that is calculated every month; the indices for the nine U.S. Census divisions are calculated using estimates of the aggregate value of single-family housing stock for the time period in question.

David M. Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, which produces the Case-Shiller index, acknowledged concerns that a price bubble may be developing.

The increases follow a nationwide trend of rapidly rising home prices.

"Since demand is exceeding supply and financing is available, there is nothing right now to keep prices from going up".

In spite of today's weaker-than-expected report, the annual rate of home price appreciation continues to be within the 5 percent to 6 percent range witnessed in the past year. The increase in real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices in the last three years shows that demand is rising.

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Delving into details, out of 20 cities covered in the report, 15 recorded positive monthly home price growth. Home prices jumped 12.9 percent in Seattle, 9.3 percent in Portland and 8.4 percent in Dallas. Blitzer said. "For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash". Housing starts are increasing, foreclosure levels are low and household debt levels are manageable. First American's index factors in changes in incomes and mortgage rates. It tracks the prices of typical single-family homes located in each metropolitan area provided.

The question is not if home prices can climb without any limit; they can't.

"While this is welcome news for homebuyers, the number of homes listed for sale is not meeting consumer demand and markets are getting tighter", First American's chief economist, Mark Fleming, said.

Housing market observers have long speculated a looming increase in mortgage rates could slow demand, in turn putting the brakes on home prices.

The Case Shiller national home price index set another record for the fifth consecutive month but as you can clearly see in the graph below the Chicago area has not even recovered to peak levels.

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