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Housing Prices Notch Record Gains on Continued Strong Demand

By Lou Whiteman - Updated Jan 26, 2021 at 11:35AM

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D.R. Horton and other homebuilders are seeing an earnings boost.

The red-hot housing market continues to chug along thanks to strong demand and a low supply of homes for sale, helping to fuel growth at some of the nation's largest homebuilders.

According to figures released today, house prices rose 9.5% year over year in November, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and were up 8.4% from the previous month. Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego were the strongest of the 20-city composite the index tracks, with each location recording price growth of more than 12%.

The year-over-year gain was one of the highest ever recorded in the 30-year history of the index.

A house under construction.

Image source: Getty Images.

Record-low mortgage prices are helping fuel demand for new houses. The price increases are being driven by strong demand for suburban homes, which S&P officials say could be the start of a trend or just a reaction to the pandemic.

"Recent data are consistent with the view that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes," Craig J. Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. "This may represent a true secular shift in housing demand, or may simply represent an acceleration of moves that would have taken place over the next several years anyway."

The strong demand is helping homebuilders to generate remarkable quarterly results. Today, D.R. Horton (DHI 3.35%) reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $2.14 per share on revenue of $5.9 billion, easily surpassing expectations for EPS of $1.69 on sales of $5.54 billion.

Horton's revenue was up 48% year over year, with closings up 45% and orders up 56%. The company said it expects fiscal second-quarter revenue between $6 billion and $6.2 billion, well ahead of analyst expectations for $5.09 billion.

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