US House Prices Sluggish But Still Heading Up


Monthly house price rises in the US remain sluggish with the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reporting a 0.3% increase in August.

The figure was down 0.2% for July’s 0.5% increase.

According to the FHFA, annual average house prices were up 5.5% in the year to August.

Although homes have seen their values rise for the past four years, FHFA points out that the market is still almost 1% below the peak in March 2007 and that they are pegged at the level of December 2006.

The data reveals the housing market is not even across the States.

Many states in the south and Midwest saw a property value rise of 0.7%, while house prices in the north east plunged by 0.4%.

States with gains and losses

Although monthly property prices were patchy, annual home values all increased.

The gains ranged from 2.2% in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to 7.4% in California, Oregon and Washington.

The top 10 states for increasing real estate values are:

  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Washington
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Georgia
  • California

Those at the bottom of the table (lowest first) are:

  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Vermont
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • Kansas
  • New Mexico

The average family house sold for $230,000 in August, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Buoyant market

The body says confidence with buyers and sellers is buoyant as the jobs market and wages improve and house prices remain affordable.

“Existing home prices are now almost at the last peak in February 2007 and September sales are strong after an indifferent August,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun.

“House price inflation is heading up at twice the rate of wage rises, but they are still well affordable for many, which is why we are seeing sustained growth in prices.

The number of homes available to buy is falling, which means demand is starting to eat into supply, which is another reason why prices are doing so well, explained Yun.

Just over 2.2 million homes are held on realtor inventories, down 3% from the same time last year. The inventory represents a four to eight month supply.

“Although supply has been persistently low, we have seen sellers who were waiting on the market start to release their properties,” said Yun.

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