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US home prices surge 17% in May, fastest in 17 years

🕐 2 min read

By PAUL WISEMAN, AP News.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices registered the fastest growth in 17 years in May as surging demand for housing outstripped the supply.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, soared 17% in May from a year earlier on top of a 15% jump in April. The May increase was the biggest since August 2004.

The hottest markets were Phoenix (where prices surged 25.9%), San Diego (24.7%) and Seattle (23.4%). All 20 cities reported faster year-over-year growth in May than they did in April.

Phoenix’s 25.9% increase led all cities for the 24th consecutive month, with San Diego (+24.7%) and Seattle (+23.4%) close behind. As was the case last month, prices were strongest in the West (+19.9%) and Southwest (+19.8%), but every region logged double-digit gains,” said Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director and Global Head of Index Investment Strategy at S&P DJI.

“A month ago, I described April’s performance as ‘truly extraordinary,’ and this month I find myself running out of superlatives,” he said. “The 16.6% gain is the highest reading in more than 30 years of S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data. As was the case last month, five cities – CharlotteClevelandDallasDenver, and Seattle – joined the National Composite in recording their all-time highest 12-month gains. Price gains in all 20 cities were in the top quartile of historical performance; in 17 cities, price gains were in top decile.”

The U.S. housing market has been hot. Many Americans, tired of being cooped up at home during the pandemic, have traded in apartments and small homes in city for bigger houses in the suburbs. The Federal Reserve’s easy money policies have also kept mortgage rates near historic lows, pushing up demand for housing.

The supply of houses for sale has been limited, partly because many Americans are reluctant to put their properties on the market and allow would-be buyers to troop through their homes.

But rising prices have pushed many would-be buyers out of the market. The Commerce Department reported Monday that sales of new homes fell in June for the third straight month, sliding to the lowest level in more than a year. Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales of previously occupied homes rose in June, snapping a four-month losing streak.

For more information on the local residential market, check out this report. 

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