Home Prices Rose in December


National home price appreciation continued in December, while local home prices grew at different rates. All of the 20 metro areas had positive annual growth rates in the last month of 2017.

S&P Dow Jones Indices released the Home Price Index for December 2017. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose at a seasonally adjusted annual growth rate of 8.4% in the last month of 2017, faster than the 8.0% increase in November. The Home Price Index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.4% in December, following a 5.9% increase in November. House price appreciation continues with strong demand and tight inventory.

Over the year of 2017, house prices accelerated relative to 2016. The Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index rose by 5.3%, faster than the 4.7% growth rate in 2016. Meanwhile, the Home Price Index reported by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) rose by 6.2% in 2017, compared to a 5.7% increase in 2016.

Figure 2 shows the annual growth rate of home prices for the 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas tracked by S&P. In December, local home price varied greatly and its annual growth rates ranged from 1.2% to 15.3%. All of the 20 metro areas tracked recorded seasonally adjusted annual growth rates with the leading metro areas being largely located in the West.

Among the 20 metro areas, Seattle, Denver and San Francisco had the highest home price appreciation. Seattle led the way with 15.3%, followed by Denver with 15.1% and San Francisco with a 14.6% increase. Eight of the 20 metro areas exceeded the national average of 8.4%. The remaining twelve metro areas that had lower home price appreciation than the national level were: Dallas (7.9%), San Diego (6.8%), New York (6.7%), Charlotte (6.6%), Phoenix (6.2%), Minneapolis (5.5%), Tampa (4.7%), Boston (3.4%), Chicago (3.0%), Washington, DC (2.7%), Cleveland (2.2%) and Miami (1.2%).

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2 replies

  1. Really informative piece Jing.
    As a British property surveyor I’m fascinated by the huge variation in house prices I see in the UK.

    I presume the same issues exist in your part of the world so my question is, how are builders addressing the problem and are any efforts being made to create affordable housing. Or are poorer buyers being forced away from prestige locations?

  2. Methodology difference aside, the size of the discrepancy between the Cas-Shiller and FHFA is important. Five percentage points is a pretty big gap. The National Association of Realtors’ December review showed a 5.8% gain in the year-over-year median price of homes sold, almost exactly in the middle of the two other observations. Regardless, in all three cases, home prices continue to rise more quickly than do incomes, and affordability continues to be a growing challenge in many major housing markets around the country.

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