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US home prices rose again in July

By on September 27, 2016

WASHINGTON— U.S. home prices climbed again in July, pulled up by strong gains in Portland, Seattle and Denver.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, released Tuesday, rose 5 percent in July from a year earlier after increasing 5.1 percent in June.

The latest report is further evidence that prices are being pushed higher by the limited inventory of homes on the market. That is hurting sales of both new and existing homes, despite buyer enthusiasm and historically low mortgage rates.

According to information released by Freddie Mac on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose during the week amid expectations in financial markets that an increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve may be on the horizon. Mortgage rates remain at historically low levels, however. (AP / John Bazemore, File)

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose during the amid expectations in financial markets that an increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve may be on the horizon. Mortgage rates remain at historically low levels, however. (AP / John Bazemore, File)

“With inventory still very tight, the pressure on home prices is all to the upside,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a research note.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that new home sales fell 7.6 percent in August. And the National Association of Realtors said last week that sales of existing homes slipped 0.9 percent in August. Inventory collapsed 10.1 percent from a year ago to 2.04 million homes.

Prices rose 12.4 percent in Portland, 11.2 percent in Seattle and 9.4 percent in Denver.

Price gains were more modest outside the Northwest. They rose just 1.7 percent in New York, 3.7 percent in Chicago and 5.5 percent in Los Angeles.

The 20-city price index plunged after the housing bubble started to burst in 2006, plummeting by more than a third before hitting bottom in March 2012. Since then, prices are up 42.4 percent. But they remain 7.6 percent below the peak reached in July 2006.

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