S&P / Case-Shiller Reports Home Prices Climbed 5.2% In March

On a national basis, single-family home prices rose 5.2%, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions. This compares to a 5.3% increase in February and is consistent with the pace seen since the beginning of 2015.

An index measuring 20 cities shows that home prices increased an annual 5.4% in March, while a separate 10-city index shows that home prices gained 4.7%.

The price appreciation has been particularly rapid out West and the cities with the highest year-over-year gains were Portland (12.3%), Seattle (10.8%), and Denver (10%).

“The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Yet, home prices continue to rise faster than inflation. A tight housing inventory has also made it more difficult for would-be homeowners, especially those who are looking to purchase a home at the lower end of the cost spectrum.

There haven’t been this few homes on the market since the mid-1980s, according to Blitzer. Out of all the houses in the country, just 2% of them are up for sale.

“It remains a tough home buying season for buyers,” said Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s chief economist. “The competition is locking out some first-time buyers, who instead are paying record-high rents.”

Source: Forbes / Investing
May 31, 2016
by Lauren Gensler

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