Home price index at 31-month high
Home price rises have picked up pace according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index.
The index of all nine US census divisions shows a 5.9 per cent increase year-over-year in January, building on the 5.7 per cent annual gain in December to reach a 31-month high.
There were also gains for the 10-city index (5.1 per cent) and the 20-city index (5.7 per cent).
The highest gains of the 20 cities were in Seattle (11.3 per cent), Portland (9.7 per cent) and Denver (9.2 per cent) but 12 of the 20 reported increased prices year-over-year.
Monthly increases were 0.2 per cent nationally with a 0.3 per cent rise in the 10-city index and 0.2 per cent rise in the 20-city index.
“Housing and home prices continue on a generally positive upward trend,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Given the market’s current strength and the economy, the small increase in interest rates isn’t expected to dampen home buying. If we see three or four additional increases this year, rising mortgage rates could become concern.”
Tight supply and rising prices are making homebuying more challenging and may mean a reduction in sellers who are unable to find or afford to move to a larger home. That will restrict access to the housing market for first-time buyers.
“At some point, this process will force prices to level off and decline – however we don’t appear to be there yet,” said Blitzer.
14 per cent drop in single-family home sales in Greater Boston
Tight supply of homes has resulted in a 14.4 per cent drop in sales of single-family homes in the Greater Boston area.
Condo sales in February were also down, falling 3.8 per cent, but were still the ninth highest on record, the Greater Boston Association of Realtors reported.
"Unfortunately, we've noticed that potential sellers have become more reluctant to list their homes because they are apprehensive that they may not be able to find another home themselves," said GBAR President Melody Skye Roloff, an agent with Exit Realty Beatrice Associates in Middleton.
February also saw a 2.4 per cent decline in the median sales price of single-family homes, down to $505,000 from the record $517,500 of a year earlier. Condo prices jumped 14.7 per cent to $515,000, a new record for the month.
"Our local housing market is seasonal though, and it is our expectation that as we get into the spring market, more homes will be available and our market will hit its stride again," added Roloff.
Warning over online listings scams
Realtors in Florida say they have seen an increase in criminals using online rental and property listings portals to scam users.
"Realtors must be aware that criminals are using their legitimate listings data to lure consumers to phony listings on internet portals,” said Maria Wells, the 2017 president of Florida Realtors.
Common scams including taking entire listings from a legitimate listing site, posting it elsewhere using their own contact details, and then posing as an agent to take cash or financial details from unsuspecting buyers or renters.
"We urge consumers to double check all information about any property listing before sending any funds to anyone," says Florida Realtors’ lawyer Margy Grant.