Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerate for a fifth month

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Home prices in 20 U.S. cities accelerated in January from a year earlier, marking the fifth straight annual gain and corroborating other recent data that showed a flurry of housing market activity prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values increased 3.1% from the same month in 2019, data released Tuesday showed. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists was for a 3.2% gain. Prices climbed 0.3% from a month earlier, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The figures indicate a residential real estate market that was building momentum at the turn of the year against a backdrop of declining borrowing costs, steady job growth and warmer weather. The strength in home sales probably dissipated in March as government efforts to control the virus outbreak forced business closures and caused a dramatic surge in layoffs.

New-home sales in February held close to an almost 13-year high, while purchases of previously owned houses jumped to the strongest pace since 2007, recent data showed.

Prices in all 20 cities rose in the year through January, led by a 6.9% jump in Phoenix and 5.1% gains in Tampa, Fla., San Diego and Seattle.

A gauge of home prices nationwide advanced 3.92%, the largest annual increase in a year.

Bloomberg News
Home prices Housing market Coronavirus Purchase S&P CoreLogic