NEW YORK, NY - S&P Dow Jones Indices released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released for September 2015 show that home prices continued their rise across the country over the last 12 months.
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a slightly higher year-over-year gain with a 4.9% annual increase in September 2015 versus a 4.6% increase in August 2015. The 10-City Composite increased 5.0% in the year to September compared to 4.7% previously. The 20-City Composite's year-over-year gain was 5.5% versus 5.1% in the year to September. After adjusting for the CPI core rate of inflation, the S&P/Case Shiller National Home Price Index rose 3% from September 2014 to September 2015.
San Francisco, Denver and Portland reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities with double-digit price increases of 11.2%, 10.9%, and 10.1%, respectively. Seventeen cities reported greater price increases in the year ending September 2015 versus the year ending August 2015. Phoenix had the longest streak of year-over-year increases, reporting a gain of 5.3% in September 2015, the tenth consecutive increase in annual price gains.
Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a gain of 0.2% month-over-month in September. The 10-City Composite and 20-City Composite both reported gains of 0.2% month-over-month in September. After seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a gain of 0.8%, while the 10-City and 20-City Composites both increased 0.6% month-over-month. Fifteen of 20 cities reported increases in September before seasonal adjustment; after seasonal adjustment, 19 cities increased for the month.
"Home prices and housing continue to show strength with home prices rising at more than double the rate of inflation," says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "The general economy appeared to slow slightly earlier in the fall, but is now showing renewed strength. With unemployment at 5% and hints of higher inflation in the CPI, most analysts expect the Federal Reserve to raise its Fed Funds target range to 25 to 50 basis points, the first increase since 2006. While this will make news, it is not likely to push mortgage rates far above the recent level of 4% on 30 year conventional loans. In the last year, mortgage rates have moved in a narrow range as home prices have risen; it will take much more from the Fed to slow home price gains.
"The strength seen in home prices since the bottom in 2012 led some to wonder if we're entering a new bubble. While bubbles can only be reliably identified in hindsight, one useful measure compares the increase in home prices to the change in rents. The first chart below shows the year-over-year change in the S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index and the year-over-year change in the rent of primary residence series reported as part of the Consumer Price Index. Home prices are far more volatile. At the same time, the most recent data do not show a huge spread between the two series."
"Another question raised by consistent real (or inflation adjusted) home price increases is whether the prices are squeezing people out of the market. One measure of affordability is based on median income, median home price, and mortgage rate; a value of 100 on the chart below indicates a home buyer at the median income can afford the median price home. As shown on the chart, affordability is more than adequate for a median income buyer now but has slipped a bit recently."
Additional content on the housing market can also be found on S&P Dow Jones Indices' housing blog: www.housingviews.com