Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Accelerate for a Fifth Month

Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerated in the year through February for a fifth month, while nationwide property values also picked up, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data reported Tuesday.

Key Points

  • 20-city property values index climbed 5.9 percent from February 2016 (forecast was 5.8 percent), the fastest since July 2014, after increasing 5.7 percent in the year through January
  • National home-price gauge rose 5.8 percent in the 12 months through February
  • Seasonally adjusted 20-city index advanced 0.7 percent from a month earlier (matching the Bloomberg survey median)

Big Picture

While mortgage rates have eased in recent weeks after a post-election surge, housing affordability is being crimped by lingering inventory shortages and wage growth that’s been slower to pick up than property values. At the same time, steady labor-market progress and healthier household balance sheets help explain why Americans are still propelling demand for the industry even as home prices are on a tear.

Economist Takeaways

“There are still relatively few existing homes listed for sale and the small 3.8 month supply is supporting the recent price increases,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “Housing affordability has declined since 2012 as the pressure of higher prices has been a larger factor than stable-to-lower mortgage rates.”

The Details

  • All 20 cities in the index showed year-over-year gains, led by a 12.2 percent increase in Seattle and a 9.7 percent advance in Portland, Oregon
  • After seasonal adjustment, Seattle had the biggest month-over-month rise at 1.9 percent, followed by Dallas with a 1.2 percent increase; home prices were unchanged in Tampa

— With assistance by Alexandre Tanzi

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