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July 25, 2017 10:45 AM, EDT

Steady Home-Price Gains in 20 US Cities Show Tight Inventory

Home construction Mike Kane/Bloomberg News

Steady price gains in 20 U.S. cities in May indicate that a tight supply of properties paired with increased demand is boosting home values, according to figures from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller on July 25.

Highlights of May Home Prices

• 20-city property values index increased 5.7% year over year (estimated 5.8%).

• National price gauge advanced 5.6% year over year.

• Seasonally adjusted 20-city index rose 0.1% month over month (estimated 0.3%).

Key Takeaways

Any shortage of listings is still behind the rapid appreciation of home prices, particularly in high-demand areas such as Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, where values have surpassed pre-recession peaks. Housing demand is supported by a solid labor market, steadily rising wages and low mortgage rates. While lofty asking prices are making it difficult for some Americans to become homeowners for the first time, they’re encouraging owners of more expensive properties to put their houses up for sale, as trade-up demand remains solid.

Economist Views

“Home prices continue to climb and outpace both inflation and wages,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “The small supply of homes for sale, at only about four months’ worth, is one cause of rising prices. New home construction, higher than during the recession but still low, is another factor in rising prices.”

Other Details

• All cities in the index showed year-over-year gains, led by a 13.3% advance in Seattle, an 8.9% increase in Portland and a 7.9% gain in Denver.

• After seasonal adjustment, Seattle had the biggest month-over-month increase, at 0.9%, while New York posted a 0.6% decline.

• Home prices fell in six cities in May from the prior month.