Case-Shiller: June Home Prices Rise as Affordability Crisis Grows

Case-Shiller: June Home Prices Rise as Affordability Crisis GrowsAccording to the National Case-Shiller Home Price Index for June, U.S. home prices rose 4.30 percent year-over-year, which was unchanged from May’s year-over-year home price growth rate. Home prices are expected to continue growing through 2020 as businesses reopen and COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Case-Shiller’s 20-City Home Price Index for May showed Phoenix, Arizona held the top spot with 9.00 percent year-over-year growth; Seattle, Washington followed with 650 percent growth in home prices. Tampa, Florida maintained its third-place position with 5.90 percent year-over-year home price growth. Five of 19 cities reporting in the 20-City Index showed a higher rate of home price growth. Wayne County, Michigan, which includes the Detroit metro area, did not provide information for June’s 20-City Home Price Index.

Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, wrote: “As has been the case for the last several months, home prices were particularly strong in the Southeast and West and were comparatively weak in the Midwest and Northeast.”

Short Supply of Single-Family Homes Continues to Fuel Rising Home Prices

Continued shortages of homes for sale and rising demand for homes caused home price gains in June. Analysts said that while low mortgage rates encouraged buyers to enter the market, overall housing market conditions did not contribute to affordable home prices. Analysts expressed concern that potential buyers were calculating affordability based on principal and interest payments and were not considering other costs of homeownership including taxes, hazard insurance, and mortgage insurance premiums that could be added to their monthly loan payments.

High home prices, COVID-19and ongoing unemployment, and decreasing growth in rental rates are obstacles to continued growth in home prices. Quarterly data published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows how average home prices have fallen in 2020. The national average price of a new home in the first quarter of 2020 was $383,000; in the second quarter of 2020, the average price of a new home was $368,000.

Average New Home Prices Fall in All U.S. Regions

Average regional U.S. home prices fell from the first quarter to the second quarter according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. In the Northeast, the average price of a home fell to $622,000 from 645,200. The average price of a new home fell from $337,000 to $319,200 in the Midwest and fell from $325,300 to $315,500 in the South. The West had the highest average new home price in the second quarter of $459.900, but this was lower than the average new home price of $471,300 in the first quarter of 2020.

NAHB: Home Builder Confidence Slips in June

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week June 1 2015Home builder confidence fell slightly in June to a reading of 59 according to the National Association of Home Builders Housing Market Index. Analysts had expected no change to June’s reading of 60. June components of the HMI were also lower.

Builder confidence in current market conditions dropped by one point to 63; builder confidence in market conditions over the next six months fell three points to a reading of 66. The reading for foot traffic in new single-family developments dropped one point to 55. Readings over 50 indicate that more builders than fewer are confident about housing market conditions.

Are Housing Markets Cooling Down?

A statement released by NAHB said that June’s readings were consistent with an ongoing gradual housing recovery. In related news, real estate analysts are seeing similarities in today’s level of speculation to the pre-recession housing bubble that was fueled by speculation. More “mom-and-pop” investors are entering the market instead of seasoned institutional investors, which suggests that institutional investor interest is slowing.

In June, 2.50 percent of homes were purchased by institutional investors as compared to a peak of 9.80 percent in February 2013. Red flags suggesting that housing markets are cooling down appear consistent with June’s NAHB Housing Market Index.

Too much speculation can create a housing bubble, which would burst when demand dries up due to overly inflated home prices and falling demand for homes. Slim supplies of available homes and rapidly rising home prices are obstacles for home buyers. Home builders continue to cite low supplies of suitable land and labor shortages as obstacles to home construction.

Short Supply of Homes, Affordability Issues Persist

In a report separate from the NAHB Housing Market Index, Fannie Mae economists said that they expect single-family housing starts to increase by 13 percent in 2016. Any increase in home building would help reduce the shortage of available homes. The willingness and ability of builders to produce more affordable homes is a key aspect of maintaining healthy housing markets. Strong competitions for homes and high home prices in major metro areas have made home ownership impossible for many would-be buyers. Short supplies of available homes are discouraging those who are prepared to buy but can’t find homes they want.

Unless low supplies of homes and affordability concerns are resolved, overall market slow-downs are likely to occur at some point. Indications that professional investors may be slowing their former pace of snapping up homes could suggest that hot housing markets are starting to cool off.