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Are Home Prices Continuing To Rise?

Thursday, March 3, 2022   /   by Ken Couture

Are Home Prices Continuing To Rise?

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Many economists predicted that home price growth will halt considerably in the fall of 2021, then decline further in 2022. That hasn't occurred yet. All of the main pricing indexes are showing double-digit price increases. Here's a look at their December reports on year-over-year pricing growth:

  • Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA): 17.6%
  • S&P Case-Shiller: 18.8%
  • CoreLogic: 18.5%
To show that they’re not seeing signs of softening, here’s a graph that gives the progression of all three indices for each month of 2021.

According to all three indexes, house price appreciation increased considerably from January to July last year, as seen in the graph above. Then, in August, it began to slow down as prices increased at a slower rate, but it did not drop. Many speculated that this would signal the start of a dramatic slowdown in house price increase, but the evidence reveals that this was not the case. Instead, prices began to level out for a few months before accelerating again in December for two of the three indexes.

To be clear, slowdown is not synonymous with depreciation. The term "acceleration" refers to a price increase that is faster than the preceding month on a year-over-year basis. Deceleration refers to the fact that property prices are continuing to climb, albeit at a slower rate year over year. Depreciation occurs when the value of an asset falls below its current worth. No one anticipates that happening.

In fact, the FHFA reported that price increases accelerated in six of the nine locations it monitors in December. According to Case Shiller, appreciation surged in 15 of the 20 metros they track. As CoreLogic's Deputy Chief Economist Selma Hepp explains:

“After some signs of slowing home price growth . . . monthly price growth re-accelerated again, indicating home buyers have not yet thrown in the towel.”

What Does This Mean for You?
Whether you’re a first-time purchaser or someone looking to sell your current house and buy a home that better fits your needs, waiting to decide what to do will cost you in two ways:
Mortgage rates are forecast to rise this year.
Home prices should continue to appreciate at double-digit levels for some time.
If you wait, rising mortgage rates and high home price appreciation will have a dramatic impact on your monthly mortgage payment.

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Ken Couture
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