Residential home prices saw the strongest yearly gains in almost seven years with returns reaching double digits in March.
The S&P Case-Shiller Index rose 10.9 percent in the top 20 U.S markets and 10.3 percent in the top ten cities, the biggest increases in since early 2006. The pace of price gains accelerated from 9.4 percent and 8.3 percent in February. Nationally prices were 10.2 percent higher on the month up from 7.25 percent in February.
Price gains varied across the country led by Phoenix at 22.5 percent over the year. Las Vegas prices jumped 20.6 percent and San Francisco's real estate market rose 22.2 percent. The two Western cities had some of the largest housing price declines after the 2006 housing market peak. All the cities in the twenty index saw the third consecutive month of price gains and twelve of the twenty cities had double digit price increases.
Price increases are expected to continue into the summer due to scarce inventory, low mortgage rates and improving consumer confidence.
Home prices are still about 28 percent below the market peak in 2006, at levels from late 2003 though they are still above the long term trend.
Chief Market Strategist