San Diego County not only saw prices increase in March during the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, it outpaced all markets in California.
Home prices in the San Diego metropolitan area had risen 5.2 percent in a year, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices reported Tuesday. It was the highest annual increase since last summer.
Prices increased 4.4 percent nationwide even as millions of people started losing their jobs. All 19 cities in the index showed gains. Detroit was not included in March’s data because its recording office closed because of the pandemic. Also, many of the transactions covered in March’s report began before the virus caused widespread closures.
Analysts largely attribute gains to plunging mortgage interest rates and decreases in the number of homes for sale. For a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, the rate was 3.45 percent in March, said Freddie Mac, down from 4.44 percent at the same time last year.
“Housing prices continue to be remarkably stable,” wrote Craig Lazzara, managing director and global head of index investment strategy at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Regardless of who is buying, many analysts say expecting a drop in prices — even with unemployment reaching Great Depression levels — is unlikely with potential buyers outnumbering sellers in many markets.
“Unless there is a major shift in the amount of people looking to buy a house, it seems owners will continue to see their home’s value increase every month,” wrote Bill Banfield, the capital markets executive vice president of Quicken Loans.