Housing prices continue to rise across the country at near record rates, proof that the housing market can sustain success despite these trying times.
According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index, which was released Feb. 25, the annual gain for national home prices reached 10.37% in December. This is the highest yearly gain of the past seven years and nearly a full percentage point higher than the previous recorded increase.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but this single number tells a far better story. Following stable increases during the first four months of the Coronavirus Pandemic, prices have begun increasing at a faster rate.
“Home prices finished 2020 with double-digit gains,” said Craig J. Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P DJI. The last time that the National Composite Index crossed the 10% threshold was in February 2014. “The trend of accelerating prices that began in June 2020 has now reached its seventh month.”
One of the main reasons for the significant jump in national home prices is thanks in part to numerous large and sudden jumps in individual markets over the last few months, notably New York.
The month of December highlighted a continued surge of home prices throughout the New York metro area, a surge that began last July and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down.
Despite a relatively tame 9.90% yearly gain which is below the U.S. average, New York has been outgaining all other markets in the short-term. During the three-month period including October, November, and December, New York’s increase totaled an impressive 5.33%. The next highest increase during that time-frame was Tampa, whose jump was more than a full percentage point lower than New York’s.
“These data are consistent with the view that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes,” said Lazzara. “This may indicate a secular shift in housing demand.”
New York isn’t the only housing market that’s been on the rise lately. During this time frame, there’s been a slight shift across the country when it comes to which markets are rising the most.
Of the 10 markets with gains of more than 3% in December, seven of them are located along or near the east coast. This is a relatively significant and sudden shift because before last summer, many of the housing markets biggest gains were along the West Coast and in the mid-west. This shows that while still increasing, prices have been rising at a slower rate than before along the west coast but faster along the east coast.
To prove that, the three biggest yearly gains in the U.S. belong to Phoenix’s 14.4%, Seattle’s 13.56%, and San Diego’s 12.99%. But contrary to the recent drastic uptick in prices along the east coast, west coast markets have been relatively lackluster in comparison over the last few months.
For example, Seattle’s three-month gain was 2.97% and San Diego’s rate of increase slowed dramatically with just a 0.64% boost in December. The worst increase belonged to nearby San Francisco, where markets increased by a dismal 0.03%. The recent shift from west coast markets to east coast markets is noticeable.
The big question going forward is whether the vaccines will encourage people to move back into apartments and back into cities or if that has little effect and prices continue to rise in 2021.