Blog posted On August 26, 2019
Mortgage rates did not move significantly last week, continuing to hover near historic lows. This week, two readings on home price appreciation trends will be released. Both the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) house price index are scheduled for release on Tuesday. The pending home sales index comes out on Thursday.
The Case-Shiller home price index tracks month-to-month changes in the values of homes involved in two or more sales transactions across twenty major metropolitan areas throughout the country. In May, the index appreciated just 0.1% month-over-month and 2.4% year-over-year. S&P Dow Jones Indices Director and Global Head of Index Governance Philip Murphy commented, Though home price gains seem generally sustainable for the time being, there are significant variations between year-over-year (YOY) rates of change in individual cities. Seattle’s home price index is now 1.2% lower than it was in May 2018, the first negative YOY change recorded in a major city in a number of years. On the other hand, Las Vegas and Phoenix, while cooler than they were during 2018, remain quite strong at 6.4% and 5.7% YOY gains, respectively.”
The FHFA house price index tracks month-to-month changes in the value of homes financed through conventional mortgage loans securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Although the data subset is smaller than that of the Case-Shiller home price index it is still used to gauge home price appreciation trends. In May, the FHFA house price index appreciated just 0.1% month-over-month and 5.0% year-over-year.
The pending home sales index counts homes that are under contract but not yet closed. Pending home sales are used to predict future housing market activity. Pending home sales increased 2.8% month-over-month in June and were 1.6% higher year-over-year. NAR chief economist, Lawrence Yun, commented on the growth, “job growth is doing well, the stock market is near an all-time high and home values are consistently increasing. When you combine that with the incredibly low mortgage rates, it is not surprising to now see two straight months of increases.”
Last year, prospective home buyers faced affordability roadblocks. Limited for sale inventory pushed home prices up in competitive markets and mortgage rates were trending upward. This year, however, with a slowdown in home price appreciation and lower mortgage rates, previously priced-out buyers may have better luck with their home search.