Updated Feb 27, 2024 - Business

U.S. home prices hit record high in December

Data: S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices ; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home prices rose 5.5% in December from the previous year, according to new data out Tuesday.

Why it matters: Housing affordability in the U.S. is at crisis levels.

  • The closely watched 20-city composite index, which tracks home prices in 20 major metro areas, hit a new record high in December.

Between the lines: Rising home prices are great for existing homeowners, whose wealth is primarily locked up in their house.

  • They're less ideal for aspiring buyers who are facing a double-whammy of high prices and mortgage rates.

Zoom in: This was the seventh month in a row that home prices increased, albeit at a slower paces than in the heady days of the COVID housing boom, per the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

  • In December, the average rate on the 30 year mortgage ticked down below 7%, leading more buyers to jump in the market.
  • Rates have since come back up, but are expected to fall at some point in 2024, if the Federal Reserve does cut rates.

What's next: "[B]uyers are anxiously waiting to jump in the market as soon as mortgage rates fall," CoreLogic chief economist Selma Hepp said in a note. "That means that 2024 will show another year of home price highs."

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