Sep 27, 2023 - Economy

Home prices touched new highs this summer

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

A yearlong respite from rising home prices is clearly over, as a recent string of accelerating increases pushed key price metrics to new highs, according to new data out Tuesday.

Why it matters: Housing costs are a huge issue for everyday Americans struggling with record-low affordability — an issue that continues to contribute to the sour public mood.

By the numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index for 20 large cities posted its fifth straight monthly increase in July. It is now up a slight 0.1% compared to this time last year.

  • The firm's national home price index is also now at a fresh record high, up 1% from last year.
  • Meanwhile, another closely watched gauge, the Federal Housing Finance Agency's home price index, was 4.6% higher in July compared to the prior year.

Yes, but: While the uptick in housing prices is dismaying for those hoping to get on the first rung of the property ladder, it isn't yet a threat to upsetting the steady drop in inflation statistics.

  • That's because it takes roughly six to 12 months for increases in home prices to indirectly filter into official inflation figures like the Consumer Price Index.
  • The 7.3% rise in shelter inflation in August, for example, is still reflecting the surge in home prices seen between 2020 and 2022.
  • The yearlong decline in housing prices, which lasted from February 2022 to February 2023, will be filtering into inflation numbers for months to come.

The bottom line: These housing numbers underscore the difference between the kinds of statistical readings that policymakers focus on and the on-the-ground stress that Americans continue to feel about rising costs of living.

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