Home Prices Continue Trend Upward Amid Tight Inventories

Home prices eased up slightly, but remained at elevated levels as housing inventories failed to keep up with demand, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

The U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 6.4% annual gain in April, down from 6.5% in March. The 10-City Composite rose by 6.2%, down from 6.4% in March. The 20-City Composite posted a 6.6% year-over-year gain, down from 6.7% in March.

Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco continue to report the highest year-over-year gains among top cities. In April, Seattle led with a 13.1% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas at 12.7% and San Francisco at 10.9% increase. Nine of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending April from a year ago.

Month over month, before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a 1.0% gain in April. The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported increases of 0.6% and 0.8%, respectively. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded an 0.3% month-over-month increase in April. The 10-City and 20-City Composites posted 0.1% and 0.2% month-over-month increases, respectively. Nineteen of 20 cities reported increases in April before seasonal adjustment, while 17 of 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.

“While a slight moderation compared with March’s 0.4 percent gain, prices have now risen at a 6.0 percent clip or greater for seven consecutive months,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, Charlotte, N.C. “The top six highest year-to-year price increases occurred in the West, where there continues to be a severe short supply of homes for sale amid booming population and employment growth.”

“The favorable economy and moderate mortgage rates both support recent gains in housing,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee with S&P Dow Jones Indices. “One factor pushing prices up is the continued low supply of homes for sale. The months-supply is currently 4.3 months, up from levels below four months earlier in the year, but still low.”