US New House Prices, Inventory: March 2016

Fast on the heels of US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development data last week, the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index for March was released Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P)/ Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 5.4 per cent in March compared with a year earlier, according to a report released May 31. That is the same annual gain as in February.

US New House Prices: March 2016

Home prices are back to near-record highs across the US amid rising demand and supply constraints, a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength.

The S&P/Case-Shiller national home-price index, released Tuesday, has clawed its way back to within 4 per cent of its 2006 peak, a steep rise from the near 30 per cent decline at the bottom in 2012. NA-CK341_HOUSIN_16U_20160531190305

US new-home sales, meanwhile, in April posted their strongest month in more than eight years, with a nearly 17 per cent jump from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said last week.

New homes under US$200,000 made up 19 per cent of US sales last year, down from 38 per cent four years earlier, according to US Census data.

Prices rose 0.9 per cent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, the survey showed.

On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, prices increased 0.9% from February versus expectations of a 0.5% increase.

Home prices in three US cities, Denver, CO, Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR, showed the highest year-over-year gains, the survey showed.


US Homeownership

Homeownership has been declining since the peak of the housing bubble. The national rate slipped in the first quarter to a near four-decade low of 63.5 per cent, according to the Commerce Department. The homeownership rate for households headed by someone under 35 years old fell to 34 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the lowest level since at least 1994.

US New Home Inventory: March 2016

The number of available homes fell 3.6 per cent in April, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Sales of existing homes rose 1.7 per cent in April, the second straight increase, to an annual rate of 5.45 million.

The S&P/Case-Shiller US home price release Tuesday provided all indications that April was an up month as, and that this summer’s “selling season” will see continued price increases, according to Bloomberg Wednesday.

Bit by bit, prices are regaining the ground lost during the long collapse from 2006 through early 2012.

It means fewer underwater mortgages. It means bet- ter times for lenders, real estate agents and builders. It’s a sign of broader economic health.

Home prices rose at about the same pace as median incomes in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, as already noted, the two became completely disconnected. During the real estate bust the two lines came closer together, now they’re diverging again. Housing is a lot more expensive, relative to income, than it used to be.

Currently 63.5 of American households live in owner-occupied housing. For homeowners, housing isn’t just something one consumes; it’s an investment.

Median US Home Size

The median size of a new single-family house was 2,467 square feet last year, the biggest on record, according to Census Bureau data out this week. With all that floor space, homes are 61 per cent larger than the median from 40 years earlier and 11 per cent larger than a decade earlier.