Prices for existing and newly built homes are soaring and, in some cases, setting records, according to recent data from two sources.
The just-released monthly Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price indexes report the highest annual increases in home prices since 2007 in the top 20 metropolitan markets. And a report from the U.S. Census shows that prices of newly built homes are 15 percent higher than they were a year ago, with the median price of $271,600 -- the highest it's been since the Census began tracking the data in 1963.
Annually, the Phoenix market leads the price increases in the Case-Shiller index, up 22.5 percent from a year ago. It was followed by San Francisco, with a 22.2 percent increase, and Las Vegas, with a 20.6 percent annual increase.
In March, home prices in the top 20 markets rose 10.9 percent. Only two markets -- Minneapolis and New York -- saw price declines in March, compared with eight markets that saw declines in February.
Home prices are still down nearly 30 percent from the peak bubble years and are currently priced at 2003 levels.
In the overall housing market, existing home sales are recovering faster than new home sales. Part of that is because of tight inventory in the new construction market. As homebuyer demand rises, look for prices to increase even further.
David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a release that recent housing market data support a strong trend in sales of new and existing homes, housing starts, and permits. "At the same time," he added, "The larger-than-usual share of multifamily housing, a large number of homes still in some stage of foreclosure and buying-to-rent by investors suggest that the housing recovery is still not complete."
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