U.S. Home Prices Increase

Laura Kusisto reported this week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “Home prices continued to rise rapidly in the waning days of 2017, but there are early signs that price gains that have well outstripped wages and inflation could begin to ease this year.

“The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which covers the entire nation, rose 6.3% in December, up from a 6.1% year-over-year increase reported in November.

The 10-city index gained 6% over the year, unchanged from November. The 20-city index gained 6.3%, down slightly from 6.4% the previous month. That was in line with the expectations of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who expected the 20-city index to rise 6.3% in December.”

The Journal article noted that, “Home price gains accelerated in 2017 compared with 2016, when prices grew more in the 5% range. Nonetheless, the pace of both new and existing home sales have slowed in recent months, which could ultimately put pressure on sellers to lower prices, especially as interest rates are beginning to rise.

“‘It is too early to tell if the housing recovery is slowing. If it is, some moderation in price gains could be seen later this year,’ said David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Markets that are seeing the steepest increases remain concentrated in the West. Seattle reported the largest annual gain, at 12.7%, followed by Las Vegas at 11.1%. San Francisco, which had seen price increases slow until recently, reported the third-strongest gain, at 9.2%.”

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