Real Estate

A “For Sale” sign is seen in front of a home in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images

After cooling off ever so slightly toward the end of last year, home price gains reaccelerated in January.

Home prices nationally rose 19.2% year over year in January, up from 18.9% in December, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index. The 10-city composite annual increase was 17.5%, up from 17.1% in the previous month. The 20-city composite rose 19.1%, up from 18.6% in December.

Phoenix, Tampa and Miami saw the biggest annual gains at 32.6%, 30.8% and 28.1%, respectively. Sixteen of the 20 cities reported higher price increases in the year ending January 2022 versus the year ending December 2021.

Washington, D.C., Minneapolis and Chicago saw the smallest annual gain, although they were all still up double digits from a year ago.

Tight supply and strong demand appear to be outweighing rising mortgage rates, which would usually take some of the heat out of housing.

While the index is a three-month running average, mortgage rates began to climb in January. The average rate on the 30-year fixed ended 2021 at around 3.25% and ended January at 3.68% according to Mortgage News Daily. It is now flirting with 5%.

“The macroeconomic environment is evolving rapidly. Declining COVID cases and a resumption of general economic activity has stoked inflation, and the Federal Reserve has begun to increase interest rates in response. We may soon begin to see the impact of increasing mortgage rates on home prices,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Higher mortgage rates have already started to affect sales in the first months of the year. Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, have now fallen for four straight months, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“The monthly payment for a median-priced home has jumped 30% in the past year, far outpacing even fast-rising consumer prices, up almost 8% from a year ago,” said George Ratiu, senior economist at in a release. “While the small number of homes-for-sale will keep upward pressure on prices as we move through the Spring buying season, I expect conditions to undergo noticeable adjustments in the months ahead.”

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