With today's release of the March S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, we learned that seasonally adjusted home prices for the benchmark 20-city index were up 0.53% month over month. The seasonally adjusted national index year-over-year change has hovered between 4.2% and 6.7% for the last two-plus years. Today's S&P/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index (nominal) reached another new high.

The adjacent column chart illustrates the month-over-month change in the seasonally adjusted 20-city index, which tends to be the most closely watched of the Case-Shiller series. It was up 0.53% from the previous month. The nonseasonally adjusted index was up 6.8% year-over-year.

Investing.com had forecast a 0.7% MoM seasonally adjusted increase and 6.5% YoY nonseasonally adjusted for the 20-city series.

Here is an excerpt from the analysis in today's Standard & Poor's press release.

“Looking across various national statistics on sales of new or existing homes, permits for new construction, and financing terms, two figures that stand out are rapidly rising home prices and low inventories of existing homes for sale. Months-supply, which combines inventory levels and sales, is currently at 3.8 months, lower than the levels of the 1990s, before the housing boom and bust. Until inventories increase faster than sales, or the economy slows significantly, home prices are likely to continue rising. Compared to the price gains of the last boom in the early 2000s, things are calmer today. Gains in the National Index peaked at 14.5% in September 2005, more quickly than Seattle is rising now.

“The home price increases continue with the National Index rising at 6.5% per year,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Seattle continues to report the fastest rising prices at 13% per year, double the National Index pace. While Seattle has been the city with the largest gains for 19 months, the ranking among other cities varies. Las Vegas and San Francisco saw the second and third largest annual gains of 12.4% and 11.3%. A year ago, they ranked 10th and 16th. Any doubts that real, or inflation-adjusted, home prices are climbing rapidly are eliminated by considering Chicago; the city reported the lowest 12-month gain among all cities in the index of 2.8%, almost a percentage point ahead of the inflation rate." [Link to source]

The chart below is an overlay of the Case-Shiller 10- and 20-City Composite Indexes along with the national index since 1987, the first year that the 10-City Composite was tracked. Note that the 20-City, which is probably the most closely watched of the three, dates from 2000. We've used the seasonally adjusted data for this illustration.

Home Price Index