Home prices surging, but bubble fears unfounded

by Adam Smith02 Aug 2013

House prices have surged in the first quarter of 2013, posting the first double-digit rise since the peak of the housing bubble.

The CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index has reported that house prices rose 10.2% in the first quarter of the year, with home prices up in more than three-quarters of metropolitan areas.

While the report has predicted the rapid pace of home price appreciation to ease off in 2014, slowing to 5.6%, CoreLogicc Case-Shiller chief economist Dr. David Stiff said home prices would continue to post gains.

"Record levels of affordability, a slowly improving job market, and very small inventories of new and existing homes for sale will continue to drive U.S. home price appreciation during the summer. Although a small number of metropolitan areas show year-over-year declines, it is likely that home prices in these cities will turn positive by the end of the year,” Stiff said.

Areas hard hit by the housing downturn have also rebounded, with prices in Phoenix posting a 23% jump, Sacramento home prices rebounding 21% and Detroit prices rising 18% even as the city wrangles with bankruptcy.

Such meteoric rises could cause alarm that the U.S. is heading toward another housing crash, but Stiff said home prices remain below their peak before the previous housing downturn.

"Although double-digit gains usually indicate unsustainable appreciation and, possibly, bubbles in some metro areas, there is less need for concern now since home prices remain 26 percent below their peak nationally and are even lower in many metro markets," Stiff said.



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