April’s price growth modest, steady according to Case-Shiller Index

Price growth saw the slightest of gains in April, growing to an annual increase of 4.7%, according to the S&P CoreLogic U.S. National Home Price Index.

That’s up from 4.6% in the previous month, showing considerable steadiness even during the peak of pandemic so far. April’s 4.7% year-to-year increase is the largest annual gain since December 2018. The S&P CoreLogic 10-City Composite Index, made up of 10 of the country’s largest metro markets, saw an annual increase of 3.4%, unchanged from March; the 20-City Composite logged a 4.0% annual gain, up from 3.9% the previous month.

“In all three cases (the national index and two composite indices), April’s year-over-year gains were ahead of March’s, continuing a trend of gently accelerating home prices that began last fall,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Results in April continued to be broad-based. Prices rose in each of the 19 cities for which we have reported data, and price increases accelerated in 12 cities.”

As was the case in March, the S&P CoreLogic 20-City Index lacks data for the Detroit metropolitan area, since transactions records for that market remain unavailable.

“This is, so far, the only directly visible impact of COVID-19 on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices,” Lazzara said. “The price trend that was in place pre-pandemic seems so far to be undisturbed, at least at the national level. Indeed, prices in 12 of the 20 cities in our survey were at an all-time high in April.”

Monthly, the national index is up 1.1% month over month, without seasonal adjustment. The 10- and 20-City composites, on a non-adjusted basis, grew 0.7% and 0.9% month over month, respectively. Taking seasonal adjustment into account, the national index was up 0.5% monthly, while the 10- and 20-City indices both increased 0.3%.

Among the 19 cities for which data was available, Phoenix (8.8%), Seattle (7.3%), Minneapolis (6.4%) and Cleveland (6.0%) reported the highest annual gains in April. Twelve of the 19 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending April 2020, compared to the year ending March 2020.

Other cities are seeing less price growth. Chicago posted a year-over-year change of just 1.4%, with New York at 2.5% and San Francisco and Dallas both at 2.8%.

“While actions to mitigate the pandemic have varied, everyone has been affected by COVID-19 — and the impact has not been even across local economies or housing markets,” said Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist for CoreLogic.

Hepp added that while prices are maintaining modest gains for now, housing market fundamentals continue to be supportive for price growth to heat up.

“Some of the tailwinds that supported the demand coming into 2020, such as demographics and low mortgage rates, remain intact and may even accelerate demand,” said Hepp. “Still, supply headwinds, such as declining for-sale inventories, will continue to keep a lid on the number of transactions but also push up home price growth.”


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