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Case-Shiller: Twin Cities house prices up 3.9%

House prices in the Twin Cities metro posted a 3.9 percent gain during March, according to the latest Case-Shiller House Price Index, which tracks repeat sales of the same property.

According to the index, house prices in the Twin Cities are increasing slightly below the 5.2 percent national average - good news for those concerned about the kind of hyper-inflation that's happening in Portland, Seattle and Denver where the Case-Shiller index increased more than 10 percent.

Here's some analysis from David Blitzer, Managing Director & Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:

“Home prices are continuing to rise at a 5% annual rate, a pace that has held since the start of 2015...the economy is supporting the price increases with improving labor markets, falling unemployment rates and extremely low mortgage rates. Another factor behind rising home prices is the limited supply of homes on the market. The number of homes currently on the market is less than two percent of the number of households in the U.S., the lowest percentage seen since the mid-1980s. Price movements vary across the country. The Pacific Northwest and the west continue to be the strongest regions. Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Denver had the largest year-over-year price increases. These cities also saw some of the largest declines in unemployment rates among the 20 cities included in the S&P/Case-Shiller Indices. The northeast and upper mid-west regions were at the other end of the ranking. The four cities with the smallest year-over-year prices gains were Washington DC, Chicago, New York, and Cleveland. The unemployment rates in Chicago and Cleveland rose from March 2015 to March 2016.”

Mortgage rates fall to lowest level in three years

Mortgage rates slipped slightly last week, causing the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) to fall to the lowest level in three years. That's according to the latest Freddie Mac survey, which showed that for the week ending May 12, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.57 percent with an average 0.5 point. That's down from the previous week when it averaged 3.61 percent and a year ago when the 30-year averaged 3.85 percent. Here's a peek at a couple other options:

  • The 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.81 percent with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.86 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.07 percent.
  • The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.78 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, down from last week when it averaged 2.80 percent. A year ago, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.89 percent.

Economists attribute the latest decline to a disappointing April employment report, which kept a lid on Treasury yields.