Home Prices Make Record Gains for April

Home prices set a new record for month-to-month growth, according to an April S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report (link opens as PDF) released today.

After increasing 1.4% for March, the Index's 20-city home price composite shot up 2.5%. Analysts had expected only a 1.1% gain for April in this non-seasonally adjusted number.

According to the report, all 20 cities reported positive year-over-year gains for at least the fourth straight month, with Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, and Minneapolis all recording record improvements.

Both the 10- and 20-city composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Indices.

"The recovery is definitely broad based," noted David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement today. "Last week's comments from the Fed and the resulting sharp increase in Treasury yields sparked fears that rising mortgage rates will damage the housing rebound. Home buyers have survived rising mortgage rates in the past, often by shifting from fixed rate to adjustable rate loans. In the housing boom, bust and recovery, banks' credit quality standards were more important than the level of mortgage rates. The most recent Fed Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey shows that some banks are easing credit restrictions."

While some housing analysts have warned of an imminent "housing squeeze," Blitzer believes otherwise. "Given this, the recovery should continue," he noted in his statement.

For the 12 months ending in April, the 10- and 20-city composites showed average home prices increased 11.6% and 12.1%.

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