U.S. home prices rise in February, housing affordability declines since 2002

S&P Dow Jones Indices has  released the latest results for the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices for February 2017  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 5.8% annual gain in February, up from 5.6% last month and setting a 32-month high. The 10-City Composite posted a 5.2% annual increase, up from 5.0% the previous month.

The 20-City Composite reported a year-over-year gain of 5.9%, up from 5.7% in January. 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. The below charts compare year-over-year returns for Seattle and Portland with different ranges of housing prices (tiers). Tier level analysis from 2011 to present shows both Seattle and Portland’s yearover-year housing price returns in the high tier are 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 0.2% in February. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.3% increase, and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.4% increase in February. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.4% month-over-month increase. The 10-City Composite posted a 0.6% increase and the 20-City Composite reported a 0.7% month-over-month increase. Sixteen of 20 cities reported increases in February before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, 19 cities saw prices rise.

“Housing and home prices continue to advance,” says 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.

“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.”

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

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