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Case-Shiller Home Price Index Extends Winning Streak

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The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price NSA Index has reached its second consecutive all-time high, S&P Dow Jones Indices said Tuesday. The index of 185.06 for the month of October surpasses the previous peak of 184.8 set the month before.

The National Index, the 10-City Composite Index and the 20-City Composite Index all posted higher annual increases in October than they did in September. The year-over-year gains were 5.6%, 4.3% and 5.1%, respectively, up from the previous month’s annual increases of 5.4%, 4.2% and 5.0%, respectively.

Although the National Index is at an all-time high, the composite indices both continue falling short of their previous peak. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the peak-to-current decline for the 20-City Composite and 10-City composite is 7.1% and 9.2%, respectively, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

“Home prices and the economy are both enjoying robust numbers,” says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “However, mortgage interest rates rose in November and are expected to rise further as home prices continue to outpace gains in wages and personal income.”

Blitzer notes that affordability measures based on median incomes, home prices and mortgage rates show declines of 20% to 30% since home prices bottomed in 2012. “With the current high consumer confidence numbers and low unemployment rate, affordability trends do not suggest an immediate reversal in home price trends,” he says. “Nevertheless, home prices cannot rise faster than incomes and inflation indefinitely.”

After the National Index bottomed in February ‘12, its year -over-year growth accelerated to a peak rate of 10.9% in October 2013 and then gradually fell to its current rate of approximately 5%. During the same period, the highest Y-O-Y rate from any city was 29% in August and September ‘13; currently the highest single-city gain has declined to approximately 11%. “Both national and city growth in home prices slowed but remains above the growth rate of incomes and inflation,” Blitzer says.