Escape Velocity

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Note. March 2021 data is the latest available from Case-Shiller as I write this on April 26, 2021. The data is a 3-month moving average so what they call March is really the January-March average.

Real House Price Appreciation

Phoenix houses continue to appreciate faster than in any of the other metro areas covered by Case-Shiller. Real, inflation-adjusted house prices increased 16% over the previous 12 months in Phoenix AZ.

For the U.S. as a whole, real, inflation-adjusted house prices were up 10% from March 2020 to March 2021.

House Price Momentum – Escape Velocity

Nominal house prices increased more over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months in ALL cities covered by Case-Shiller.

For the U.S. as a whole, nominal house prices increased 9% faster in the last 12 months versus the previous 12 months.

San Diego was the #1 metro for upward house price momentum in 2020 versus 2019. House prices were up 19% the last 12 months versus only 5% the previous 12 months.

Home Prices

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the USA is now 244 which means nationally single-family houses have appreciated 144% since January 2000 (nominal prices of constant-quality homes).

Fastest Price Appreciation (nominal)

  • Phoenix saw 20% house price appreciation the last 12 months!
  • San Diego 19%
  • Seattle 18%
  • USA 13%

Chicago saw 9% house price appreciation which was the slowest of the cities covered by Case-Shiller. In 2019, 9% would have been the fastest appreciating city in the country.

Mortgage Rates Fell 2.1 Percentage Points in 26 Months

After 2 years of, more or less, constantly falling mortgage interest rates, houses have an incredible amount of upward price momentum.

You can see the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate hit 4.94% for a couple of weeks in November 2018 and then bottomed out at 2.65% for one week last January.

Falling interest rates were the initial, and the main, reason the U.S. real estate market went manic despite the recession and the pandemic.

Mortgage rates were 3.3% a year ago and are 3.0% now.

It seems the general consensus is that mortgage rates will remain low unless inflation increases.

Real Monthly Mortgage Payment Price Index

When you adjust the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for both inflation AND mortgage rates, you can see that house prices aren’t crazy high.

Prices now are similar to where they were in 1990. House prices by this measure did fall for a few years after that, and then were more or less flat for several years.

Note. You can find interactive versions of these charts for all 20 Case-Shiller metros here.


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