Steel Markets

Home Prices Surge in January

Written by Sandy Williams

Home prices continued to surge in January, according to the latest pricing index from Standard & Poors. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index showed a 6.2 percent annual gain in January, down from 6.3 percent in December.

The 20-City Composite reported a 6.4 percent year-over-year gain, up from 6.3 percent in the previous month. The 20-City monthly index, after seasonal adjustment, rose 0.8 percent from December.

Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities with gains of 12.9 percent, 11.1 percent, and 10.2 percent, respectively.

“Since the market bottom in December 2012, the S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller National Home Price index has climbed at a 4.7 percent real – inflation adjusted – annual rate,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “That is twice the rate of economic growth as measured by the GDP. While price gains vary from city to city, there are few, if any, really weak spots.”

“Two factors supporting price increases are the low inventory of homes for sale and the low vacancy rate among owner-occupied housing. The current months of supply — how many months at the current sales rate would be needed to absorb homes currently for sale — is 3.4; the average since 2000 is 6.0 months, and the high in July 2010 was 11.9. Currently, the homeowner vacancy rate is 1.6 percent compared to an average of 2.1 percent since 2000; it peaked in 2010 at 2.7 percent.

“Despite limited supplies, rising prices and higher mortgage rates, affordability is not a concern. Affordability measures published by the National Association of Realtors show that a family with a median income could comfortably afford a mortgage for a median-priced home.”

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