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Case Shiller: Chicago Area Home Prices Show Strongest Gains In 30 Months

02 March 2017

Month-over-month the U.S. Index rose 0.2% in December before seasonal adjustment, while the 10-city and the 20-city index increased 0.3% from November to December.

Of the nation's 20 largest cities, seven reached their all-time highs in December: Seattle, Portland, Denver, Boston, Charlotte, San Francisco, and Dallas.

In inflation adjusted terms, house price gains were running at 3.8%, versus an average clip of 1.3% since 1975. Twelve cities reported greater price increases in the year ending December 2016 versus the year ending November 2016.

Still, mortgage rates have risen since last fall, and with prices also increasing, homes are becoming less affordable.

Low inventories and robust sales have caused prices to move up more quickly, said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Down Jones Indices.

The seasonally adjusted year-over-year change has hovered between 4.2% and 5.8% for the last twenty-four months. In December single family home prices surged 4.9% over the previous year while condo prices jumped 4.3%. Consumer prices are higher today than 20 or 30 years ago, while the inflation rate is lower. Eighteen of 20 cities tracked by these indices reported increases in December before a seasonal adjustment and all 20 cities saw prices rise after factoring in a seasonal adjustment.

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Many analysts expect interest rates to rise this year, which would make it more hard for first-time buyers to get into the housing market. New home sales at 555,000 in 2016 are up from recent years but remain below the average pace of 700,000 per year since 1990.

"Looking at real or inflation-adjusted home prices based on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index and the Consumer Price Index, the annual increase in home prices is now 3.8%", he said.

Thomas Simons of Jefferies sees mortgage rates as the key to the direction of home prices going forward.

"About two-thirds of the time, the rate is between -4% and +7%". The average interest rate on all mortgage loans was 4.17 percent, up 26 basis points from 3.91 in December, while the average interest rate on conventional, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages of $424,100 or less was 4.37 percent, up 29 basis points from 4.08 in December.

Case-Shiller's national index posted an annual gain of 5.8 percent in December, up from 5.6 percent in November.

"Still, we aren't expecting a sustained surge in home sales anytime soon, but prices will keep rising".

Case Shiller: Chicago Area Home Prices Show Strongest Gains In 30 Months