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Home Prices’ Ascent Continues

U.S. home prices are holding their own—and more

In April, prices climbed 0.2% from the prior month, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) House Price Index (HPI). More broadly, prices spiked 5.5% from April 2019 to April 2020. There was no change in the previously reported 0.1% hike for March 2020.

Seasonally adjusted monthly house price changes from March 2020 to April 2020 ranged from -0.5% in the South Atlantic to +0.8% in the West South-Central division for the nine census divisions. The annual changes all pointed up, from +5.0% in the Middle Atlantic division to +6.8% in the Mountain division.

“U.S. house prices posted another positive monthly increase in April,” according to Dr Lynn Fisher, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics at FHFA.

Results varied regionally. The Mountain and Pacific divisions, two typically stronger growth areas, pancaked over the month, while, even in light of COVID-19, other divisions experienced strong price appreciation, said Fisher. While monthly price drops occurred in the New England and South Atlantic regions, all divisions rung up upbeat year over year growth of at least 5%.

Although still a strong sample, the number of transactions used to estimate the HPI drooped slightly from March to April. “We expect the normal spring bump in sales was pushed off by the COVID-19 shutdowns and may extend into the summer months as states reopen and real estate sales pick back up,” said Fisher.

Home prices parachuted as dramatically as they have since December 2018, along with a month-over-month jump of 0.85%—the quickest in 10 months, according to CoreLogic’s latest Case-Stiller Index.

Additionally, during Q1 2020, and at 65.3%—a seven-year high, home prices sustained their ascent, showed the Census Housing Vacancy and Homeownership Survey. The ascension was fueled by increased homeownership among those no older than 29, CoreLogic indicated. .

For the 10th straight month, with an annual increase of 8.10%, Phoenix experienced the highest acceleration in-home price growth among the 20 cities Case-Stiller studied. Just behind was Seattle, 6.89%. Conversely, of the 20 metros studied, New York and Chicago continued to report the smallest annual gains, 2.07%, and 1.54% respectively.

Meantime, 45% of opportunity zones experienced median-home price increases by more than the national average of 11.3% annually during Q1 2020, reported ATTOM Data Solutions.

Opportunity zones, of course, are an offshoot of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. They are a federal stimulus to abet distressed communities throughout the United States, according to Fool.com, Fool.com. The objective is to generate jobs and fuel econ9mic growth in some of the country’s poorest areas.

“Home prices in designated opportunity zones around the country keep showing strong gains, tracking the housing market boom now in its ninth year. Nearly half did even better in the first quarter of 2020 than the nation as a whole—a notable trend in some of the country’s most distressed neighborhoods,” said Todd Teta, ATTOM chief product officer. Among the more than 3,000 opportunity zones in the report, California topped the list at 389, with Florid at 295.

The release of the next HPI report will take place on July 22. It will include monthly data through May.

About Author: Chuck Green

Chuck Green has contributed to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune and others covering various industries, including real estate, business and banking, technology, and sports
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