Home Prices Maintain Their Climb

Home Prices have continued their rise during March according to a Tuesday report, underscoring the concerns of many economists over whether the price gains that have been strong will be sustainable.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which covers the entire country, was up 4.1% for the 12 months that ended March 31, slightly weaker than the increase of 4.2% for February.

The indexes for 10 cities and 20 cities saw increases year over year that were similar in March as they were in February. The index of 10 cities was up 4.7% from the same period one year ago, compared to an increase of 4.8% for February. The index for 20 cities was up 5% from the same month last year, which was identical to the February increase. Economists were expecting the 20-city index to increase by 4.9%.

On analyst from the S&P Index said that given the long period of strong reports, it is not surprising that people are questioning if the market is in a price bubble for new homes. The only way to be positive about a bubble is to look back when it is over, added the analyst.

He added that historically prices of homes typically increase about 1% annually, compared to the current pace of 4.1%. However, the annual rate has halved in the past year, suggesting the growth in home prices is moderating.

Tech cities are continuing to see huge increases in prices, including San Francisco. Home prices there have shot up 10.3%, while in Denver they are 10% higher than the same period last year. Despite some fears that the oil price drop would hurt the housing market in Texas, Dallas posted gains over the same period last year of 9.3%.

Home prices month to month also experienced significant gains, showed the report. Not adjusting for seasons, the U.S. index was up 0.8% between February and March. The index for 10 cities was up 0.8% from February to March and the index for 20 cities saw an increase of 1% for the same period. The national index was up 0.1% during March.

The growth in home prices has moderated across the nation during 2015, after huge gains the last couple of years following the recession.

 

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