Millennials Propel Home Buying: Strong Demand and Short Supply Push U.S. Home Prices Higher in March

CoreLogic

CoreLogic, a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, today released the CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for March 2021.

As consumer confidence rebounds and the job market picks back up, the 2021 spring homebuying season is on track to outpace trends seen in 2019 and 2018. Millennials lead the homebuying charge with older millennials seeking move-up purchases and younger millennials entering peak homebuying years. As we look towards the second half of the year, further erosion of affordability may dampen purchase demand as prospective buyers continue to compete for the severely limited supply of for-sale homes. A pick-up in construction and an increase in for-sale listings as more people get vaccinated may help moderate surging home price growth.

“Despite the severe slowdown last year, the 2021 spring homebuying season is trending strong — reflecting the many positive signs of economic recovery,” said Frank Martell, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “With prospective buyers continuing to be motivated by historically low mortgage rates, we anticipate sustained demand in the summer and early fall.”

Top Takeaways:

  • Nationally, home prices increased 11.3% in March 2021, compared with March 2020. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 2% compared to February 2021.
  • Home prices are projected to increase 3.5% by March 2022, as intensifying affordability challenges narrow the pool of potential buyers and are likely to drive a slowdown in home price growth.
  • In March, home prices rose sharply in the west with seven of the 10 metros ranked with the highest year-over-year increase. Boise, Idaho, ranked at the top with a year-over-year increase of 27.7%.
  • Similarly, at the state level, two Mountain-West states — Idaho and Montana — had the strongest price growth in March, up 25% and 18.8% respectively, as they continue to see an uptick in inbound migration from buyers moving away from more costly coastal areas. Arizona had the third-strongest price growth with an 18% increase.

“Lower-priced homes are in big demand and short supply, driving up prices faster compared to their more expensive counterparts,” said Dr. Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “First-time buyers seeking a starter home priced 25% or more below the local-area median saw prices jump 15.1% during the past year, compared with the overall 11.3% gain in our national index.”

Figure 1

The next CoreLogic HPI press release, featuring April 2021 data, will be issued on June 1, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. ET.

Methodology

The CoreLogic HPI is built on industry-leading public record, servicing and securities real-estate databases and incorporates more than 45 years of repeat-sales transactions for analyzing home price trends. Generally released on the first Tuesday of each month with an average five-week lag, the CoreLogic HPI is designed to provide an early indication of home price trends by market segment and for the “Single-Family Combined” tier, representing the most comprehensive set of properties, including all sales for single-family attached and single-family detached properties. The indices are fully revised with each release and employ techniques to signal turning points sooner. The CoreLogic HPI provides measures for multiple market segments, referred to as tiers, based on property type, price, time between sales, loan type (conforming vs. non-conforming) and distressed sales. Broad national coverage is available from the national level down to ZIP Code, including non-disclosure states.

CoreLogic HPI Forecasts are based on a two-stage, error-correction econometric model that combines the equilibrium home price—as a function of real disposable income per capita—with short-run fluctuations caused by market momentum, mean-reversion, and exogenous economic shocks like changes in the unemployment rate. With a 30-year forecast horizon, CoreLogic HPI Forecasts project CoreLogic HPI levels for two tiers — “Single-Family Combined” (both attached and detached) and “Single-Family Combined Excluding Distressed Sales.” As a companion to the CoreLogic HPI Forecasts, Stress-Testing Scenarios align with Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) national scenarios to project five years of home prices under baseline, adverse and severely adverse scenarios at state, metropolitan areas and ZIP Code levels. The forecast accuracy represents a 95% statistical confidence interval with a +/- 2% margin of error for the index.

Market Risk Indicators are a subscription-based analytics solution that provide monthly updates on the overall “health” of housing markets across the country. CoreLogic data scientists combine world-class analytics with detailed economic and housing data to help determine the likelihood of a housing bubble burst in 392 major metros and all 50 states. Market Risk Indicators is a multi-phase regression model that provides a probability score (from 1 to 100) on the likelihood of two scenarios per metro: a >10% price reduction and a ≤ 10% price reduction. The higher the score, the higher the risk of a price reduction.

As part of the CoreLogic HPI and HPI Forecasts offerings, Market Condition Indicators are available for all metropolitan areas and identify individual markets as “overvalued”, “at value”, or “undervalued.” These indicators are derived from the long-term fundamental values, which are a function of real disposable income per capita. Markets are labeled as overvalued if the current home price indexes exceed their long-term values by greater than 10%, and undervalued where the long-term values exceed the index levels by greater than 10%.

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