Jan 28, 2020

US Economics: Home-price growth gained speed in November as buyers found few homes to buy

Jacob Passy

The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index increased 2.6% in November versus a year ago. On a monthly basis, the index ticked up just 0.1% in November compared with October on a seasonally adjusted basis.
At the national level, home prices were up on an annual basis by 3.5%, representing a faster rate of home-price appreciation than was recorded in October.
What happened: Phoenix saw the highest home-price appreciation in the country in November with a 5.9% increase from the same period in 2018. This was the sixth consecutive month in which Phoenix experienced the most substantial home-price growth in the U.S.
Charlotte, N.C., was next with a 5.2% increase, followed by Tampa, Fla., with 5% growth. Altogether, all 20 of the cities the index tracks reported price increases after seasonal adjustments were made.
“It is, of course, still too soon to say whether this marks an end to the deceleration or is merely a pause in the longer-term trend,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Big picture: The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the regulator of Fannie Mae FNMA, +0.62%  and Freddie Mac FMCC, +0.98%  , released its own House Price Index last week, which showed a 4.9% year-over-year increase in prices in November.
All parts of the country displayed year-over-year growth in home prices. However the region that displayed the most substantial increase on an annual basis — the Mountain region, which includes Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico — was also the only part of the country where home prices fell on a monthly basis between October and November, the FHFA reported.
Home prices have risen for most of the country in recent months as the tight inventory of homes for sale has put pressure on home-buyers to place higher bids. But some housing markets could see less substantial home-price growth in 2020. Namely, pricey, coastal markets are poised to see home-price growth slow in the near future — if not reverse — as people increasingly move to smaller cities in the middle of the country in search of a cheaper cost of living.
What they’re saying: “Annual changes in prices have been positive over the last couple of months after being negative for much of the year,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. “That could pose a downside risk for sales going forward.”
Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.26%   and S&P 500 SPX, +0.35%  , continuing their downward trend in light of concerns about the Chinese coronavirus. The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.48%, however, rose slightly as the Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday.

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