Home prices in the U.S. continued to rise in April,  according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices. Data released for April 2017 shows that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.5% annual gain in April, down from 5.6% last month. The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 4.9%, down from 5.2% the previous month.

The 20-City Composite posted a 5.7% year-over-year gain, down from 5.9% in March. Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In April, Seattle led the way with a 12.9% year-over-year price increase, followed by Portland with 9.3%, and Dallas with an 8.4% increase.

Seven cities reported greater price increases in the year ending April 2017 versus the year ending March 2017. The below charts compare year-over-year returns for Seattle and Portland with different ranges of housing prices (tiers). Upon tier level analysis from 2011 to present, both Seattle and Portland’s yearover-year returns show housing prices in the high tier to be the most stable while housing prices in the low tier are the most volatile.

Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month gain of 0.9% in April. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.8% increase and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.9% increase in April. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.2% month-over-month increase. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.2% month-over-month increase. The 20-City Composite posted a 0.3% month-over-month increase. Eighteen of 20 cities reported increases in April before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, 13 cities saw prices rise.

“As home prices continue rising faster than inflation, two questions are being asked: why? And, could this be a bubble?” says David M. Blitzer Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Since demand is exceeding supply and financing is available, there is nothing right now to keep prices from going up. The increase in real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices in the last three years shows that demand is rising. At the same time, the supply of homes for sale has barely kept pace with demand and the inventory of new or existing homes for sale shrunk down to only a fourmonth supply. Adding to price pressures, mortgage rates remain close to 4% and affordability is not a significant issue.

“The question is not if home prices can climb without any limit; they can’t. Rather, will home price gains gently slow or will they crash and take the economy down with them? For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash. Housing starts are trending higher and rising prices may encourage some homeowners to sell. Moreover, mortgage default rates are low and household debt levels are manageable. Total mortgage debt outstanding is $14.4 trillion, about $400 billion below the record set in 2008. Any increase in mortgage interest rates would dampen demand. Household finances should be able to weather a fairly large price drop.”

Source:  S&P Dow Jones Indices

, , , ,