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US home prices climbed 4.7% in April

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WASHINGTON (AP) — US home prices gains accelerated in April even as sales have stumbled, a sign the coronavirus outbreak has had little impact on real estate values.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index climbed 4 percent in April compared with a year earlier, the largest gain since December 2018, up from 3.9 percent in March. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller US National Home Price NSA Index, which covers all nine US Census divisions, recorded a 4.7 percent annual gain in April 2020. Home prices in Boston rose 4.3 percent year over year.

Home sales have fallen sharply for three straight months to their lowest annual pace in nearly a decade in May. Yet the supply of available houses for sale has also declined, compared with a year ago, forcing remaining buyers to bid up prices.

“The price trend that was in place pre-pandemic seems so far to be undisturbed, at least at the national level,” said Craig Lazzara, managing director of S&P Dow Jones Industries. “Prices in 12 of the 20 cities in our survey were at an all-time high in April.”

Sales of existing homes are likely to pick up in coming months, however. A measure of signed contracts to buy homes soared 44 percent in May, a record increase. And sales of new homes also rebounded in May.

Phoenix posted the biggest price gain with an increase of 8.8 percent, compared with a year earlier. Seattle followed with 7.3 percent and Minneapolis with 6.4 percent. Prices from the Detroit metropolitan area were not included in the 20-city index because of delays at the recording office in Wayne County, which includes Detroit.

The Case-Shiller index is composed of a three-month average of home prices, so this month’s data includes figures from February, March, and April.

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