Key Highlights

  • Latest S&P Core Logic Case Shiller Index indicated home prices increased +7% in September from one year ago
  • This y/y increase is greatest gain since 2014 and nearly 23% higher than last peak in 2006

For every cause there is an effect…in this case, the cause of record-low interest rates combined with lack of inventory produced the effect of home prices rising +7% in September, the greatest gain in home prices since 2014, according to the latest S&P Core Logic Case Shiller Index.

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September’s home price increase came on top of the +4.8% price uptick in August. As of September 2020, home prices were approximately +23% higher than the last home price peak in 2006.

Home price increases reported by this latest Case Shiller Index are consistent with data from the Federal Housing Finance Administration (FHFA). FHFA reported that home prices increased +3.1% during Q2 2020, the largest gain since 1991 when this agency began keeping such records,

Home prices in Phoenix rose some +11.4%, more than any other city in the country for the 16th consecutive month. Home prices in Seattle rose +10.1% and in San Diego, prices increased +9.5%. Even in cities where home price gains were the softest, Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy with S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted that home prices increased in New York by +4.3% and in Chicago by +4.7%.

Lazzara said, “Our three monthly readings since June of this year have all shown accelerating growth in home prices, and September’s results are quite strong. This month’s increase may reflect a catch-up of COVID-depressed demand from earlier this year; it might also presage future strength, as COVID encourages potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes. The next several months’ reports should help to shed light on this question.”

This acceleration in home price increases applied to both existing home sales and new single-family housing starts in October as well. Housing starts increased to an annual rate of 1.53M, the highest number of new housing starts since February 2020, according to the US Census Bureau. Existing home sales were up for the 5th consecutive month in October at +4.3% y/y.

Matthew Speakman, an economist with Zillow, said, “While the worsening spread of COVID-19, and the economic uncertainty that accompanies it, do pose some potential risks in the booming housing market, it appears unlikely that this remarkable growth in home prices (and likely existing home sales and housing starts) will abate in the coming months.”


Thanks to S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Index, US Census Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Administration and Zillow.

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