Charlotte-area home prices jumped 7.3 percent in April from the same month last year, marking the largest year-over-year gain the city has seen since March 2012.
The jump, recorded Tuesday by Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller home price index, reflects a broader trend: The housing market is improving for sellers across the nation. The Charlotte area joined 19 other cities that showed positive year-over-year growth for at least four months in a row.
Charlotte has recorded year-over-year price gains on the index for 13 consecutive months – every month since March 2012.
Compared with last month, Charlotte’s home prices also saw a 2 percent increase, the area’s second consecutive monthly increase.
Despite the gains, the Charlotte area lagged behind the national averages for both the year-over-year increase and the monthly increases. For April, average home prices saw a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase among the 20 cities tracked by the index. San Francisco was No. 1 for April, with an average year-over-year increase of 23.9 percent – more than three times higher than that of the Charlotte area.
From March to April, the national average for home prices among 20 cities rose 2.5 percent – half a percentage point higher than gains in the Charlotte area.
David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee, said in a statement that the national data confirm the housing recovery’s strength.
“The 20-city composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices,” Blitzer said. “Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9 percent.”
The release of the Case-Shiller numbers comes on the heels on comments last week from Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, that the Fed will eventually begin pulling back on its economic stimulus policies – provoking concern that interest rates will rise sooner than many anticipated.
While Blitzer noted that the Fed’s announcement has sparked fear that rising mortgage rates will damage the housing market, he said Tuesday that the housing market will continue to recover.
“Home buyers have survived rising mortgage rates in the past, often by shifting from fixed rate to adjustable rate loans,” he said.
Blitzer added that recent data indicate banks are easing credit restrictions – a move that would allow the housing market recovery to continue.
Case-Shiller also announced that as of April, home prices across the U.S. are back to their early 2004 levels, but still remain 26 percent to 27 percent below their peaks in June and July 2006.
That national trend held true for Charlotte, which posted home prices in April similar to those of April 2004.
In April 2013, the median sales price for the Charlotte area was $167,000, while the average sales price was $217,166, according to data from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. In April 2004, the median home price for Mecklenburg County was $160,000 and the median sales price was $220,894, the association said.
McCabe: 704-358-5197; Twitter: mccabe_caitlin
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