Business News

Home prices rose over the last year in all but two states

By Susanna Kim | December 6, 2016

Home prices rose over the last year in all but two statesAlthough mortgage rate forecasts may be mixed, single-family home price data continue to show an increase year-over-year. That is, with the exception of two states, according to CoreLogic.

Alaska and Connecticut showed slight decreases between September 2015 and September 2016, according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index. Prices fell 0.3 percent in Alaska and 1.4 percent in Connecticut. Nationally, prices increased 6.3 percent year-over-year.

Undervalued Areas, Increasing Inventory

Fitch Ratings considers two of Connecticut’s metro areas to be among the nation’s five most undervalued housing markets, according to a recent article in Forbes.

“The most undervalued metro areas are largely places that have struggled with a loss of industry, leaving fewer employment options for residents,” the Forbes article states. As one example, it cites General Electric moving its headquarters to Boston.

Read more: Home equity levels bounce back in America’s largest cities

Meanwhile, some neighborhoods in Alaska are experiencing an increase in housing inventory – a rarity in other parts of the country. The housing market in Anchorage had 999 active listings in September, its highest inventory of for-sale properties since 2011, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Meanwhile, nationwide unsold housing inventory was at a 4.5-month supply in September, according to the National Association of Realtors®. That was down from 4.6 months in August. The squeeze on housing inventory – lower than the normal six-month supply – is contributing to a surge in prices in many housing markets.

Where Prices are Rising

The states with the five highest price increases year-over-year in September were Washington (10.3 percent), Oregon (10.1 percent), Colorado (8.6 percent), Utah (7.8 percent), and Florida (7.5 percent), according to CoreLogic.

The good news for many homeowners is that an increase in home prices has contributed to a boost in their home equity.

Read more: Home equity could be an important source of financial security in retirement

"Home-price growth creates wealth for owners with home equity," says Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. "A 5 percent rise in home values over the next year would create another $1 trillion in home equity wealth for homeowners."

Home equity wealth has doubled over the last five years to $13 trillion, “largely because of the recovery in home prices,” says Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic.

What’s been the average boost per homeowner with the rise in home prices?

Though there’s wide geographic variation, nationally the average gain in housing wealth was $11,000 per homeowner during the past year, Nothaft says.

Although it’s not a one-stop income solution for all, home equity has the potential to address retirement needs for the Baby Boomer generation, according to a recent Urban Institute study sponsored by Fannie Mae.

The Federal Reserve Board’s 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances estimates that home equity for Baby Boomers in the U.S. totals $6.3 trillion.