Case-Shiller home price index picks up month-over-month momentum

Two months 'do not a definitive recovery make,' but numbers are encouraging

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index saw a marginal increase in March, rising 0.7% compared to the same month last year. On a month-over-month basis, however, the market appears to be picking up some momentum.

Before seasonal adjustment, the national index posted a monthly gain of 1.3%, easily outpacing February’s month-over-month gain of 0.2%. The 10-city and 20-city composite indices showed similar strength on a monthly basis, gaining 1.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

Both subindexes are down year over year, with the 10-city metric down 0.8% from March 2022 and the 20-city metric falling 1.1%. But the monthly pickup was enough to catch the eye of Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI.

“The modest increases in home prices we saw a month ago accelerated in March 2023,” he said. “The national composite rose by 1.3% in March and now stands only 3.6% below its June 2022 peak.

“The acceleration we observed nationally was also apparent at a more granular level. Before seasonal adjustment, prices rose in all 20 cities in March (versus in 12 in February), and in all 20, price gains accelerated between February and March. Seasonally adjusted data showed 15 cities with rising prices in March (versus 11 in February), with acceleration in 14 cities.”

“The CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows counterintuitive strength with relatively strong home price growth,” said Selma Hepp, chief economist at CoreLogic. “Spring homebuying season is characterized by a stronger return of buyers than sellers, which created another competitive market environment … [The] very meager inventory of existing homes is putting buyers in a position of having to pay over the asking price and, as a result, [is] driving early spring price gains well beyond what is traditionally seen during this period.”

Lazzara was swift to point out that “two months of increasing prices do not a definitive recovery make,” but he also projected optimism by suggesting that results in March could mean that the national price decline that started in June 2022 may finally be reaching its conclusion. He also noted that while national results appear promising, there remain “stark regional differences” in home price figures.

Miami, for example, saw a 7.7% annual increase in home prices in March, keeping it atop the city-based rankings for the eighth month in a row. Fellow Sun Belt metros Tampa (up 4.8%) and Charlotte (4.7%) were second and third.

Hop to the West Coast, however, and year-over-year price growth remains in the red, with Seattle (-12.4%) now leading San Francisco (-11.2%) at the bottom of the list. But the West also saw strong monthly gains, with San Francisco and San Diego posting the largest month-over-month increases from February to March.


More Headlines