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U.S. Home Prices Rose in March Despite Onset of COVID-19 Crisis

Home prices across the United States rose at an annualized rate of 5.8 percent in March 2020 from February 2020, according to Radian Home Price Index (HPI) data released today by Red Bell Real Estate, LLC (“Red Bell”), a subsidiary of Radian Group Inc. (NYSE: RDN). The Radian HPI is the most comprehensive and timely measure of U.S. housing market prices and conditions.

The Radian HPI also rose 7.7 percent year-over-year (April 2019 to March 2020), which was slightly higher than the year-over-year increase of 7.4 percent recorded last month. While real estate markets came under significant pressure in the second half of March, as of the end of the month the impact of the COVID-19 crisis had yet to materially translate into any impact on home prices.

The Radian HPI is calculated based on the values of more than 70 million unique addresses each month, covering all single-family property types and geographies.

“U.S. housing values remained well supported in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While that could change going forward, data indicates that the impact may vary significantly by region and locality,” said Steve Gaenzler, senior vice president of Data and Analytics at Radian. 

NATIONAL DATA AND TRENDS

  • Median home value in the U.S. rose to $252,597
  • Home prices rose 6.28 percent in the first quarter

Nationally, the median estimated value for single-family and condominium homes rose to $252,597. Home values have increased consistently since the low the Radian HPI recorded in the second quarter of 2012. On an annualized basis, home prices nationally rose 6.28 percent in the first quarter, as limited supply and strong demand supported an earlier-than-normal spring pick-up. The early spring season began to take hold prior to the onset of COVID-19 related shutdowns in many cities, which helped underpin prices in March.

REGIONAL DATA AND TRENDS

  • West Region was strongest Q1 performer
  • Mid-Atlantic Region cools

During the first quarter of 2020, the West and South tallied the best regional performances, recording 6.91 and 6.62 percent annualized gains respectively. The Northeast, as is typical in the winter and early spring months, lagged the other regions, only recording a 1.95 percent quarterly gain. On a monthly basis, from February to March, all of the regions reported positive increases in home prices, with the exception of the Mid-Atlantic region, which declined slightly from the prior month.

METROPOLITAN AREA DATA AND TRENDS

  • COVID-19 has not broadly impacted prices in Q1
  • New York and Philadelphia show signs of weakness
  • Shelter-in-place hasn’t impacted prices in Seattle or San Francisco

As of the end of March, social distancing measures did not appear to have had a broadly meaningful impact on home prices in major metropolitan areas, according to the Radian HPI data. A review of the nation’s ten largest Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) found that from January through March 2020, all reported higher annualized price increases. However, among that group, the New York and Philadelphia metro areas registered the weakest monthly increases from February, at 0.91 and 1.24 percent respectively. While not top ten CBSAs by size, two other CBSAs that have been largely shelter-in-place for the month of March, Seattle and San Francisco, showed no sign of weakness in pricing.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS AND ANALYSIS

  • Recent real estate data support key findings of the Radian HPI
  • Limited changes to prices or listings prior to second week of March
  • Most recent data indicate a more rapid deterioration in real estate prices in some, but not all, markets

Analysis by the Radian HPI team of day-by-day data related to planned, in-progress or completed real estate transactions in March reveal little out of the ordinary in the real estate market prior to the near nationwide stay-at-home mandates in the second week of March. Before then, in most U.S. metropolitan areas, the number of daily closings, listings and homes going into contract tracked very closely to the same time period in the prior year. In fact, listings sold in March were 5% higher nationally than in the similar 2019 period. However, data reported in the final two weeks of March showed declines of 40-50% in new listings and properties going under contract in some areas. 

Additional content on the housing market can also be found on the Radian Insights page located at https://www.radian.com/hpi/.

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