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Home Prices Gains Led by Sin City, Silver State

National house prices keep climbing due to rising rates, tight supply

Aug. 29, 2018

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

portrait of Sam Garcia

U.S. home prices continued to escalate thanks to historically low interest rates and a persistently tight supply of properties for sale. Las Vegas and its host state saw the biggest gains.

A closely watched indicator of U.S. home prices, the  S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Composite-20 Index, was reported Tuesday to be at 213.07 as of June.

Compared to one month earlier, the index ascended 0.5 percent. An even bigger gain was made versus one year earlier, with the index climbing 6.3 percent.

The Case-Shiller index now stands 3 percent above its July 2006 peak and is 59 percent higher than the March 2012 trough.

From June 2017 to June 2018, home prices in Las Vegas have soared 13 percent -- more than any other metropolitan area.

"Population and employment growth often drive homes prices," David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Las Vegas is among the fastest growing U.S. cities based on both employment and population, with its unemployment rate dropping below the national average in the last year."

Next in appreciation was Seattle's 12.8 percent, followed by San Francisco's 10.7 percent, Denver's 8.3 percent and Los Angeles' 7.4 percent.

With a year-over-year gain of just 2.9 percent, Washington -- which likely has seen a decline in the number of government jobs under the Trump administration -- had the worst year-over-year home-price performance.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency's home price index ended June at 264.0, rising just 0.2 percent from May and climbing 6.5 percent from June 2017.

FHFA Supervisory Economist Dr. William Doerner explained in the report that second-quarter home price gains were the lowest in four years. Even though interest rates are still historically inexpensive, "their bump-up appears to have gently pressed the brakes on house price increases."

Among the nine Census Division covered by FHFA's index, prices in the Mountain Division have soared 9.6 percent over 12 months earlier -- the most of any division. The West North Central Division's 5.1 percent was the slowest appreciation.

A 7.3 percent rise between June 2017 and June 2018 was recorded for the First American Real House Price Index. The service provider says house prices are now 1.3 percent higher than their 2006 peak.

After adjusting for income growth and mortgage rates, First American says its Real House Price Index increased 0.5 percent from May and has soared 12.9 percent from a year previous.

"While unadjusted house prices are now 1.3 percent above the housing boom peak in 2006, real, house-buying power-adjusted house prices are 36.9 percent below their housing boom peak, which was reached in July 2006," the report said.

First American explained that price appreciation experienced in the housing market before the crash was characterized by a surge in demand driven by wider access to mortgage financing, while today's price appreciation is characterized by a shortage of supply.

Real home prices have soared 21.0 percent from June 2017 in Nevada -- more than any other state. Ohio's 18.5 percent followed, then New York's 18.3 percent, Michigan's 17.5 percent and New Hampshire's 17.2 percent.

No state had a year-over-year drop in prices.

Another HPI, the CoreLogic Home Price Index for June, was reported earlier this month at 0.7 percent higher than May and 6.8 percent greater than June 2017.

CoreLogic estimates that home prices were flat between June and July of this year, while they are expected to increase 5.1 percent between June 2018 and June 2019.

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Sam Garcia founded Mortgage Daily in 1998 and became its full-time publisher in 2000. Prior to his news career he worked in mortgage lending for two decades.

[email protected]

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