U.S. Real House Price Appreciation Up 9% in 12 Months – Phoenix Up 13%

Note. December 2020 data is the latest available from Case-Shiller as I write this on February 24, 2021. The data is a 3-month moving average so what they call December is really the October-December average.


Phoenix houses continue to appreciate faster than in any of the other metro areas covered by Case-Shiller. Real, inflation-adjusted house prices increased 13% over the previous 12 months in Phoenix.

For the U.S. as a whole, real, inflation-adjusted house prices were up 9% from December 2019 to December 2020.

House Price Momentum

House prices continued to gain upward momentum in December. Nominal house prices increased more over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months in ALL cities covered by Case-Shiller.

For the U.S. as a whole, nominal house prices were up 10% from December 2019 to December 2020 but they only increased 4% from December 2018 to December 2019. U.S. house prices gained a lot of upward price momentum in 2020.

New York moved up to be the #2 metro for upward house price momentum. Last month it was fifth.

Home Prices

The Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the USA is now 234 which means nationally single-family houses have appreciated 134% since January 2000.

Fastest Price Appreciation

  • Phoenix had 14% 12-month house price appreciation (nominal)!

  • Seattle also had 14% and San Diego had 13% annual appreciation.

Slowest Price Appreciation Is Fast!

Chicago, Las Vegas, and Dallas all saw 8% 12-month house price appreciation which was the slowest of the cities covered by Case-Shiller. A year earlier, 8% would have been the fastest appreciating city in the country!

Mortgage Rates Fell 2.1 Percentage Points From November 2018 to Today

After 2 years of, more or less, constantly falling mortgage interest rates, houses have an incredible amount of upward price momentum going into 2021.

You can see the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate hit 4.9% in November 2018. Now, it’s 2.8%. That’s the main reason the real estate market is manic despite a recession and a pandemic.

Per dollar borrowed, your monthly principal and interest payment is now 23% less than in November 2018 so you can pay a LOT more for a house with the same monthly payment and a lot of people are.

Is there a product that is more sensitive to interest rates than houses? 

Note. You can find interactive versions of these charts for all 20 Case-Shiller metros here.

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