Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Increase Faster Than Forecast

Shiller: Not Enough Houses, Low Inventory
  • Gain of 5.4% from year earlier compares with 5.2% estimate
  • Prices advance 0.9% in March from previous month, report says

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose faster than projected in March from a year earlier, adding to signs of healthy demand at the onset of the industry’s busy selling season, New York-based S&P/Case-Shiller reported Tuesday.

Key Points

  • 20-city property values index increased 5.4 percent from March 2015 (forecast was 5.16 percent) after climbing 5.4 percent in the year through February
  • National home-price gauge rose 5.2 percent from 12 months earlier
  • On a monthly basis, seasonally adjusted 20-city measure advanced 0.9 percent from February, the same as the unadjusted gain and the most in four months

Big Picture

The March home-price gains follow a round of more timely data that showed purchases of existing and new homes and contract signings on previously owned houses all strengthened more than expected in April after the economy’s sluggish start to the year. Potential buyers still might be challenged by limited inventories, especially among lower-priced homes, while finding support from steady job gains and cheap borrowing costs.

Economist Takeaways

“The economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market.”

The Details

  • All 20 cities in the index showed a year-over-year gain, led by a 12.3 percent advance in Portland, Oregon, and 10.8% in Seattle
  • After seasonal adjustment, Minneapolis had the biggest month-over-month gain at 1.3%; Cleveland had a decline of 0.1%
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