House prices have hit a landmark in the US – rising for four years in a row, according to the latest data.
Nationwide, prices were up 1.1% in February over January, while the annual increase was 6.8%.
The figures include distressed sales, but when these adjusted, prices for family homes were up 1.3% month-on-month and 6.6% in the year.
The firm publishing the statistics, CoreLogic, reckons home prices will rise 0.6% in March and 5.2% year-on-year.
Overall, average home prices across the USA are 6.5% below their peak value seen in April 2006.
Economic springboard drives demand
The firm does not expect them to climb past the peak until May 2017.
The company’s chief economist, Dr Frank Northaft, explained the low cost of home loans and increasing employment were whipping up demand to buy homes.
“Fixed rate mortgages were around 0.25% cheaper and more than 200,000 jobs were filled in the first three months of 2016,2 he said.
“These economic forces are the springboard for the continued prices and will underpin our forecasts for continuing increases over the next year.”
Looking the figures in more detail, every state saw house prices increase, while Colorado, Hawaii. Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and the District of Columbia all reached new highs.
States with highest prices
The five states logging the biggest year-on-year increases were Washington (12.4%), Colorado (10.5%), Florida (10.2%), Oregon (9.3%) and Nevada (8.6%).
The states where prices are still lagging farthest from the April 2006 peak are Maryland (-22.4%), Arizona (-23.9%), Rhode Island (-25.1%), Florida (-25.4%) and Nevada (-29.3%).
Although pieces in Florida rose among the highest year-on-year, the prices command only three-quarters of what owners paid in the months leading up to April 2006, when they were at their highest.
Meanwhile, other data shows that Americans need a salary of just $35,000 a year to buy a home most Midwest cities, such as St Louis, Pittsburgh or Cleveland.
However, this rises to nearly $150,000 in San Francisco, which has the most expensive homes in the US, and San Diego on the West Coast.
As prices along the West Coast soar, those in the east are struggling to hit the national average.