March readings for S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices rose to their highest level since 2005 in March. National home prices rose by 13.20 percent year-over-year as compared to February’s reading of 12.00 percent growth. The Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index reported average year-over-year home price gains of 13.30 percent in March. Phoenix, Arizona continued to lead the 20-City Index with a year-over-year home price growth of 20 percent. San Diego, California followed with home price growth of 19.10 percent; Seattle, Washington reported year-over-year home price growth of 18.30 percent.
How the Covid Pandemic Impacted Home Prices
Real estate pros said that the Covid epidemic continued to impact housing markets as homeowners were more willing to list their homes as Covid cases decreased. Demand for single-family homes increased as homebuyers shopped for larger homes in less-congested metro areas. The pandemic opened more opportunities for working from home, which increased buyer interest in larger homes with amenities including home offices.
According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, home prices for single-family homes owned or financed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rose by 12.60 percent from the first quarter of 2020 through the first quarter of 2021.
As Covid cases fall more Americans will either return to their workplaces or re-evaluate their employment and housing situations. Demand for homes will exceed the supply of available homes for the foreseeable future, but the current high demand for homes may soften as families return to work and school and covid-related fears ease.
Home Price Growth May Slow, but Prices Unlikely to Drop
Rapid home price growth is likely to slow as more home sellers and buyers enter the market in the aftermath of the pandemic. Analysts don’t see major dips in home prices as demand continues to exceed supplies of new and previously-owned homes. Homebuilders face ongoing obstacles including labor shortages and rapidly rising materials prices that impact their ability to provide enough homes to meet demand.
Affordable homes are in short supply as pre-owned homes are often subject to bidding wars and cash sales due to buyer competition for fewer available homes. First-time and moderate-income buyers are joined on the sidelines by buyers who depend on mortgages to buy homes; they typically can’t compete with cash sales. As real estate markets return to pre-pandemic conditions, home prices may gradually plateau, but there isn’t much relief in sight for homebuyers needing to finance their home purchases.