U.S. housing market strengthening
House prices up 3.62% y-o-y in Q2 2020
After seven years of strong house price growth, the U.S. housing market remains surprisingly vibrant. The S&P/Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted national home price index rose by 3.62% during the year to Q2 2020 (inflation-adjusted), an improvement from the previous year’s 1.57% growth. Real house prices increased 2.29% during the latest quarter. In fact the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed a more rosy picture with its seasonally-adjusted purchase-only U.S. house price index rising strongly by 5.02% y-o-y in Q2 2020 (inflation-adjusted), up from the prior year’s 3.34% growth and the biggest increase since Q4 2015. The FHFA index rose by 1.39% q-o-q during the latest quarter.
Demand and construction activity rising strongly again
Both housing demand and supply are now rising again, despite the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Sales of new single-family houses surged 36.3% y-o-y to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 901,000 units in July 2020. Likewise, existing home sales rose by 8.7% y-o-y to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.86 million units in July 2020.
New housing starts rose sharply by 23.4% y-o-y to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1,496,000 units in July 2020, while completions were up slightly by 1.7% to 1,280,000 units.
U.S. homebuilder sentiment soared to a record high of 78 in August 2020, as homebuyers sought more space in less urban areas, amidst limited supply, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Sentiment plunged to 30 in April 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the US economy. A reading of 50 is the midpoint between positive and negative sentiment.
Rents, rental yields: poor yields in New York, at 2.91%
New York apartment costs are very high, at around $17,191 per sq. m.
Source: Global Property Guide
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