Will home prices reverse course?

It seems unlikely, however there may be some good news:

Home prices increased in the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, up 5.8 percent year-over-year in June, compared to 5.7 percent in May.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index’s 10-City Composite rose 4.9 percent year-over-year, down from 5.0 percent in May, while its 20-City Composite rose 5.7 percent year-over-year, identical to May. Month-over-month, the 10-City Composite and the 20-City Composite both rose 0.7 percent.

Of the 20 cities analyzed for the Index, Dallas, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., came out on top, with prices up 7.7 percent year-over-year in Dallas, 8.2 percent in Portland and 13.4 percent in Seattle.

“The trend of increasing home prices is continuing,” says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee and managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Price increases are supported by a tight housing market. Both the number of homes for sale and the number of days a house is on the market have declined for four to five years.

“Currently the months supply of existing homes for sale is low, at 4.2 months,” Blitzer says. “In addition, housing starts remain below their pre-financial crisis peak as new-home sales have not recovered as fast as existing-home sales.

“Rising prices are the principal factor driving affordability down,” says Blitzer. “However, other drivers of affordability are more favorable: the national unemployment rate is down, and the number of jobs created continues to grow at a robust pace, rising to close to 200,000 per month. Wages and salaries are increasing, maintaining a growth rate a bit ahead of inflation. Mortgage rates, up slightly since the end of 2016, are under 4 percent. Given current economic conditions and the tight housing market, an immediate reversal in home price trends appears unlikely.”

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