Home prices surge 19.7% annually in July, book fourth straight month of record gains

Housing expert warns of problems if prices don’t get ‘under control’

National Association of Home Builders CEO Jerry Howard says organic housing demand could causing pricing problems.

U.S. home prices rose at a record pace for the fourth straight month in July as strong demand overwhelmed low inventory.   

Home prices rose 19.7% year over year, according to the national Case-Shiller index. Prices are now 43.7% above their 2006 peak. 

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"Continued high buyer demand has even outstripped the improvements in the supply of for-sale homes from the all-time lows experienced in the spring," said Selma Happ, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. 

The record price gains came as total housing inventory in July jumped 7.3% month over month to 1.32 million units, according to the National Association of Realtors. Still, supply was 12% below prior-year levels.

The 10-City Composite index saw prices rise 19.1% year over year, increasing from the 18.5% gain in June. Prices in the 20-City Composite jumped 19.9% annually.

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"The last several months have been extraordinary not only in the level of price gains, but in the consistency of gains across the country," said Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices. 

Prices rose in all 20 cities with Phoenix (+32.4%), San Diego (+27.8%) and Seattle (+25.5%) reporting the highest annual gains. Every city but Chicago saw record highs, with prices in the Windy City holding 0.3% below their 2006 peak. 

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