By Jacob Passy
Oct 26, 2021
The numbers: Home prices maintain record levels
The pace of home-price growth slowed slightly in August, though buying a home remained more expensive.
The latest edition of the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed that home prices increased nationally 19.8% from a year ago in August, roughly in line with the previous month’s increase. The separate 20-city index, which measures price appreciation among a group of major metropolitan areas across the country, notched a 19.7% year-over-year gain, down from a revised 20% annual gain the month before.
“Every one of our city and composite indices stands at its all-time high, and year-over-year price growth continues to be very strong, although moderating somewhat from last month’s levels,” Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P DJI, said in the report.
The top two cities to see the largest annual gains remained the same—Phoenix (33.3%) and San Diego (26.2%). But Tampa, Fla., edged out cities like Dallas and Seattle to record the third-largest gain in home prices nationwide, with a 25.9% increase.
All 20 of the major cities that the index tracks saw increases in home prices in August, but in most cases it was at a slower pace than in July.
The big picture
A separate report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency found that prices had risen 18.5% between August 2020 and August 2021. Regionally, there were significant variations in the direction of home prices.
The FHFA reported that home prices decreased very slightly in New England on a monthly basis between July and August, whereas they rose by nearly 2% over that same time frame in the South Atlantic region, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
“Annual house price gains remained extremely high in August but the pace of month-over-month gains continues to decelerate,” Lynn Fisher, the deputy director of the division of research and statistics at the FHFA, said in the report. “This does not mean house prices are at risk of declining—far from it, they continue to climb at a double-digit pace in all regions—but it does suggest we may have seen the peak in annual gains for the time being.”
What they’re saying
“Going forward, the conditions buyers face are primarily dependent on two things: mortgage rates and housing supply. The average mortgage rate for a 30-year fixed-rate loan rose 10 basis points from 2.77% to 2.87% in August and has breached 3.0% with no sign of slowing since then, limiting some buyers’ ability to push home prices higher.
Furthermore, the availability of homes for sale remains low as new construction climbs out of a decade-long deficit and the inventory of existing home listings continues to fall short from 2020 levels,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.
“Persistently strong demand among traditional homebuyers has been amplified by an increase in demand among investors this summer. Together, demand pressures continue to drive home-price growth higher, despite some early signs of buyer fatigue and slight improvements in the availability of for-sale homes,” said CoreLogic deputy chief economist Selma Hepp.
“And while strong home-price appreciation rates are narrowing the pool of buyers, particularly first-time buyers, the depth of the supply and demand imbalance and robust demand among higher-income earners will continue to push prices higher,” she added.