Two elements have created the perfect storm for increasingly high home prices: strong demand in the housing market and low mortgage interest rates. According to Zillow®’s latest market report, January matched recent record highs for home value appreciation, and annual growth is higher than any time since 2006.
The Zillow Home Value Index increased to $269,039 in January, up 1.1% since the previous month. Annual home price appreciation was up 9.1%—the highest since June 2006.
“Home-buying demand has pushed the pedal to the metal for price appreciation this winter,” said Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow. “Normally we’d be talking about the spring selling season ramping up, but it looks more like last summer’s selling season simply never ended. Buyers eager to secure more space and lock in today’s rock-bottom interest rates are having to move quickly and aggressively to win out in this competitive market.”
According to the report, there are a couple of specific components that are driving demand: a new wave of millennial buyers is flooding the market as they reach peak home-buying years, and mortgage rates averaged a low 2.74% for a standard 30-year fixed-rate loan in January, incentivizing consumers to buy now.
A few areas stand out for their home-price growth. Although home values increased in all 50 of the largest U.S. metros, these locations have experienced the most drastic yearly growth: Phoenix (17.1%), San Jose (14.2%) and Austin (13.7%). The slowest growth occurred in San Francisco (5.3%), Chicago (6.7%) and San Antonio (6.7%).