Home prices in April continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months, but the pace of the gains slowed, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Both Composites and the National index showed slightly lower year-over-year gains compared to last month. The 10-City Composite gained 4.6% year-over-year, while the 20-City Composite gained 4.9% year-over-year. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.2% annual gain in April 2015 versus a 4.3% increase in March 2015.
“Home prices continue to rise across the country, but the pace is not accelerating,” says David Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Moreover, consumer expectations are consistent with the current pace of price increases. A recent national survey published by the New York Fed showed the average expected price increase among both owners and renters is 4.1%.
“Both the current rate of home price increases and the consumers’ expectations are a bit lower than the long term annual price change of 4.9% since 1975. These figures, however, do not adjust for inflation. The real, or inflation adjusted, price change since 1975 is one percent per year,” Blitzer said. “Given the current inflation rate of under two percent, real home prices today are rising more quickly than is typical. The three out of five consumers in the survey who see home ownership as a good or somewhat good investment may be thinking in real terms.”
Denver and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains with price increases of 10.3% and 10.0%, respectively, over the last 12 months. Dallas reported an 8.8% year-over-year gain to round out the top three cities. Nine cities reported faster price increases in the year ended April 2015 over the year ended March 2015. Las Vegas prices rose 6.3% in the year to April versus 5.7% in the year to March 2015. In 11 cities, however, the rate of annual price gains slowed. Boston home prices were up 1.8% in the 12 months ending in April compared to a 4.6% gain in the 12 months ending in March 2015.
“New and existing home sales are both up, and home price growth continues to slow down. The fact that these indicators are moving in opposite directions actually means the market overall is moving in the right direction – back to normal,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “Normal sales volumes are typically higher than we have been seeing, so recent gains are very encouraging and a sign that demand is strong among more typical buyers as we head into summer. Normal home value growth is usually between 3%-5% annually, well below growth rates of just a year ago, so the current pace is far more sustainable. Local market dynamics – rather than larger, national economic trends – are dictating market conditions on the ground in individual communities, as they should. All of these trends signal good news for the market.”
Before seasonal adjustment, the National index increased 1.1% in April and the 10-City and 20-City Composites posted gains of 1.0% and 1.1% month-over-month. After seasonal adjustment, the National index was unchanged; the 10- and 20-city composites were up 0.4% and 0.3%. All 20 cities reported increases in April before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, 12 were up and eight were down.
“Recent housing data is positive. Sales of new and existing homes are rising in recent reports and construction of new homes enjoyed strong gains in May. At the same time, the proportion of new construction that is apartments rather than single family homes remains high. In the past year, 34% of housing starts were apartments, compared to 22% on average since 1975,” Blitzer said.
“One aspect of this may be condominiums. Separately, S&P Dow Jones Indices reports the S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price indices for Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and New York. In all but LA, condo prices are rising faster than single family homes,” he said.