U.S. Home Prices Keep Inching Up

U.S. home prices increased 0.7% on an unadjusted basis in March compared with February and increased 5.2% compared with March 2015, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.

After seasonal adjustment, the national index recorded a mere 0.1% month-over-month increase.

The index’s 10-city composite, which tracks just the 10 largest metro areas in the U.S., saw home prices increase 0.8% compared with February and increase 4.7% compared with March 2015.

The 20-city composite saw home prices increase 0.9% compared with February and increase 5.4% compared with March 2015.

After seasonal adjustment, six cities saw prices rise, one city was unchanged, and 13 cities experienced negative monthly price changes.

Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities with another month of annual price increases. Portland led the way with a 12.3% year-over-year price increase, followed by Seattle with 10.8% and Denver with 10.0%.

Ten cities reported greater price increases in the year ending March 2016 versus the year ending February 2016.

“Home prices are continuing to rise at a five percent annual rate – a pace that has held since the start of 2015,” says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates.

“Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market,” he says. “The number of homes currently on the market is less than two percent of the number of households in the U.S. – the lowest percentage seen since the mid-1980s.

“Price movements vary across the country,” Blitzer adds. “The Pacific Northwest and the West continue to be the strongest regions. Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Denver had the largest year-over-year price increases. These cities also saw some of the largest declines in unemployment rates among the 20 cities included in the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices. The northeast and upper midwest regions were at the other end of the ranking. The four cities with the smallest year-over-year price gains were Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York and Cleveland. The unemployment rates in Chicago and Cleveland rose from March 2015 to March 2016.”


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