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Short Supply Continues to Drive Up Home Prices

Gains in San Francisco & Las Vegas starting to rival Seattle's

July 31, 2018

By SAM GARCIA Mortgage Daily

portrait of Sam Garcia

There is no stopping U.S. home prices from rising thanks to ongoing housing supply shortages. Gains in San Francisco and Las Vegas are beginning to rival appreciation in Seattle.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Composite-20 Index was reported Tuesday at 211.94 as of May. The closely watched barometer of home prices now stands at it highest index level ever.

A 0.7 percent increase from the preceding month was recorded for the index, while it has moved higher by 6.5 percent when compared to the same month a year ago.

S&P Dow Jones Indices announced the index, which was jointly produced by S&P and CoreLogic Inc.

The 20-city index now stands 2.6 percent above the July 2006 peak and is 58 percent higher than its March 2012 low.

Home prices in Seattle have skyrocketed 13.6 percent from a year earlier, giving the metropolitan area the biggest year-over-year increase. Prices were up 12.6 percent in Las Vegas, while they rose 10.9 percent in San Francisco, 8.5 percent in Denver and 7.6 percent in Los Angeles.

Tian Liu, chief economist Genworth Mortgage Insurance, said the report highlights differences in geography and price segment.

Another house price index, from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, was 263.3 as of the most-recent month, inching up from the upwardly revised level in April by 0.2 percent. FHFA's index, though, has climbed 6.4 percent from May 2017.

Of nine Census Divisions reported by FHFA, the 9.1 percent gain from a year previous in the Mountain Division was the biggest. In the West South Central Division, the 4.9 percent rise was the smallest.

The First American Real House Price Index increased 1.5 percent from April to May and has soared 11.4 percent from the same month a year ago.

First American noted, "Real house prices are 36.9 percent below their housing boom peak in July 2006 and 11.0 percent below the level of prices in January 2000."

Based on real prices, Nevada saw an 18.8 percent year-over-year increase in May -- the most of any state. No. 2 New Hampshire was next with a 17.2 percent gain followed by 17.0 percent in New York, 16.5 percent in Delaware and 16.2 percent in Ohio.

In a report released earlier this month, CoreLogic said home prices were up 1.1 percent from April and 7.1 percent higher than May 2017.

CoreLogic estimated that home prices were up from the preceding month by 0.3 percent in June. Between May 2018 and May 2019, CoreLogic predicts national home prices will escalate by 5.1 percent.

"The lean supply of homes for sale is leading to higher sales prices and fewer days on market, and the supply shortage is more acute for entry-level homes," CoreLogic Chief Economist Dr. Frank Nothaft stated in the report. "During the first quarter, we found that about 50 percent of all existing homeowners had a mortgage rate of 3.75 percent or less. May’s mortgage rates averaged a seven-year high of 4.6 percent, with an increasing number of homeowners keeping the low-rate loans they currently have, rather than sell and buy another home that would carry a higher interest rate."

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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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