By : Lily Leung, May 28, 2013
San Diego home prices have reached their highest level in more than 4 1/2 years, said the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index on Tuesday.
The local market’s index came in at 167.84 in March, the highest since August 2008, according to the monthly report, which has a two-month lag. March prices are up 12 percent from the same time a year ago. That marks the second double-digit annual increase for two consecutive months.
All 20 U.S. metros featured in the report posted year-over-year increases for the third straight month, the report said. A dozen of those 20 areas recorded double-digit annual growth. When looking at the price performance for all 20 metros together, analysts saw the best year-over-year returns in seven years.
Does all this data indicate that we’ve completed a national housing recovery? Not yet, says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the S&P’s index committee.
“Other housing market data reported in recent weeks confirm these strong trends: housing starts and permits, sales of new home and existing homes continue to trend higher,” Blitzer said.
“At the same time, the larger than usual share of multi-family housing, a large number of homes still in some stage of foreclosure and buying-to-rent by investors suggest that the housing recovery is not complete,” he added.
San Diego has seen either flatness or increases in home values for the past 14 months, Case-Shiller numbers show. Local and regional real estate experts have consistently pointed to an inventory shortage and increased buyer demand as key drivers of San Diego’s home values.
The number of homes on the market are near a multi-year low because a sizable share of homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, which means they’re unable to sell. New-home construction has been unable to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, mortgage rates are near historic bottoms, making real estate more affordable for buyers.
The Case-Shiller monthly figures aren’t seasonally adjusted and may reflect the beginning of the spring buying season.