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Robust US home price gains cool slightly in April

28 June 2017, 05:16 | Brian Mcdaniel

Robust US home price gains cool slightly in April

US home prices for April rise slower than expected

A national housing index released Tuesday showed home price increases are slowing across South Florida, and that's exactly what the market needs, industry observers say.

New York, NY, June 27, 2017-The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, reported a 5.5% annual gain in April, down from 5.6% last month.

San Diego's increase matched the national average in April, and remain ahead of the 5.5 percent national average for the past year.

David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P, said in a statement that he's not anxious about another national housing downturn, citing low levels of household debt and mortgage default rates.

That is likely to keep home prices on the rise. Blitzer said. "Since demand is exceeding supply and financing is available, there is nothing right now to keep prices from going up".

Prices in the 20 cities covered by Case-Shiller rose 0.3 percent in April after seasonal adjustment, the survey showed, short of expectations for a 0.4 percent increase.

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"The increase in real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices in the last three years shows that demand is rising", he said.

"We're getting affordability issues in some markets that have seen an increasing rise in prices", said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, adding that he anticipates moderate home appreciation gains in the future.

Of the 20 cities analyzed for the Index, Dallas, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash., again topped the charts, with prices up 8.4 percent in Dallas, 9.3 percent in Portland and 12.9 percent in Seattle. "For the moment, conditions appear favorable for avoiding a crash". Any increase in mortgage interest rates would dampen demand.

"High demand from home buyers and a limited supply of homes for sale are the main ingredients in the recipe for rising home prices". Moreover, mortgage default rates are low and household debt levels are manageable. That's 22.2 percent fewer homes than were on the market in April of a year ago.

The typical family looking for a starter home in the Seattle area has to spend about half their income on it, the Times report said. Rather, will home price gains gently slow or will they crash and take the economy down with them?



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