Seattle; Portland, Ore.; and Denver reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities over the 11 months leading up to December.
If you look closely at the graph for the Chicago metro area below you can see that the year over year home price changes have been slowly drifting steadily higher for many months now and we just registered our 50th consecutive month of annual gains.
Yet, once you factor in inflation, the annual increase is at about 3.8%. He said that some people might naturally assume that prices are rising too quickly for a normal market and "could be heading for a fall", but he argued against that. "Home prices are rising, but the speed is not alarming, " he said.
"Home prices continue to advance, with the national average rising faster than at any time in the last two-and-a-half years", said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
There will still be concerns surrounding affordability, especially if there is a fresh increase in bond yields, and market nerves are liable to increase if there is any evidence of price increases accelerating over the next few months as fears surrounding a crash would be likely to increase.
But while home prices are increasing across the USA, the speed of increase is not alarming. That exceeds the average pace of 1.3 percent, but is within a normal range, Blitzer said.
Many analysts expect interest rates to rise this year, which would make it more hard for first-time buyers to get into the housing market.
Case-Shiller does not break out home prices by county, but according to the New Jersey Realtors, single-family prices in Bergen and Passaic counties were essentially flat in 2016, at a median $460,000 in Bergen and $295,000 in Passaic. "A 30-year fixed rate mortgage today is 4.2 percent compared to the 6.4 percent average since 1990". Denver, Dallas and Tampa, Florida, saw home prices increase by more than 8 percent.
When adjusted for inflation, the annual gain in home prices has been 3.8 percent.
As mortgage rates rise, at some point economists say the current rapid rate of home-price growth will likely slow.
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the index rose by 0.3 percent in December after edging up by 0.2 percent in the previous month.
December's numbers reflect the peak of a sharp rise in mortgage rates following the USA election.