U.S. House Price Index Keeps on Climbing
This article is published in collaboration with Statista
by Katharina Buchholz
The price of single-family homes in the U.S. has been climbing upwards since first reaching a new high in February of 2022, releases by the Federal Housing Finance Agency show. The FHFA House Price Index increased to more than 409 index points in July, the latest month on record, up from 406 points in June and 396 in February.
The pandemic reshuffle of the housing market - which had many Americans looking to buy a house at the same time - saw prices pick up more quickly from mid-2020 onward. Between June 2022 and February 2023, the market had broken its relentless upward trajectory as mortgage rate increases put pressure on the market by deterring buyers and investors. One factor driving rates up was the Fed's measures to rein in inflation caused by responses to the war in Ukraine.
Now, the upward climb of house prices is back despite a very different mortgage situation. While the housing market's usual patterns might have been somewhat disrupted by the pandemic and later the mortgage rate changes, spring has nevertheless remained the most popular time to buy a house as the beginning of a new year has been the most popular time to list one. Another factor in prices that are rising once more are tight inventories, a consequence of long-term trends like the new-found tendency of older Americans to "age in place" rather than to downgrade, snowbird or move into retirement communities. The housing market returning to strong growth is also explained by mortgage rates that are much higher than what they used to be, but broke their continuous upward trajectory.
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