Flight From the Cities: U.S. Home Prices Jump 4.8% in July

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The rush to buy homes in America is pushing up home prices even more than expected.

U.S. home prices rose at a faster pace in July as the housing market continued to show strength in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index jumped 4.8 percent in the year ending in July. Compared with a month earlier, prices were up 0.8 percentage points. They were flat in the previous month.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, a subset of the national index, rose 3.9 percent in July from a year earlier, up from a 3.5 percent annual gain in June. The July gain was higher than economists had expected.

The 20-city index excluded prices from the Detroit metropolitan area index because of delays related to pandemic at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

Phoenix (up 9.2 percent), Seattle (7 percent) and Charlotte, North Carolina (6 percent), reported the biggest year-over-year gains. Sixteen of the 19 cities saw prices rise at a faster pace than they did in June. The smallest gains came in Chicago (up 0.8 percent) and New York (1.3 percent).

The 10-city composite, which measures a smaller set of markets comprised of the biggest cities, saw the annual increase came in at 3.3 percent, up from 2.8 percent in the previous month.

Helped by rock-bottom mortgage rates, the U.S. housing market has largely withstood the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak. The Commerce Department reported last week that sales of new homes rose a solid 4.8 percent in August after surging 13.9 percent in July.

A broad range of factors—from looting and rising murder rates to closed schools to working from home and lockdowns of urban amenities such as museums, theaters, and restaurants—has pressed Americans to speed up purchasing plans and pushed renters to decide to become home buyers.

Home prices are being pushed higher by a shortage of available properties.

“Home prices continued to push pandemic-related uncertainties aside and reach new heights into the summer months, as demand for housing outpaced supply,” said economist Matthew Speakman of the real estate firm Zillow. “An unprecedented lack of for-sale homes combined with persistently low mortgage rates have stoked a competition for housing in recent months that will not relent.”

 

–The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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