Home Prices Increased by 20% in March as Mortgage Rates Shot Up

Alix Langone Former Reporter
Alix is a former CNET Money staff writer. She also previously reported on retirement and investing for Money.com and was a staff writer at Time magazine. Her work has also appeared in various publications, such as Fortune, InStyle and Travel + Leisure, and she worked in social media and digital production at NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and NY1. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and Villanova University. When not checking Twitter, Alix likes to hike, play tennis and watch her neighbors' dogs. Now based in Los Angeles, Alix doesn't miss the New York City subway one bit.
Alix Langone
2 min read
A white two story house in Florida with a white picket fence.

Seven in 10 homes sold for for more than their asking price in March.

pidjoe/Getty Images

What's happening

Home prices overall are up by 37% since March 2020.

Why it matters

Surging home prices and higher interest rates make monthly mortgage payments less affordable.

What's next

Rising mortgage rates will make borrowing money more expensive, which will lessen competition to buy homes and eventually flatten prices.

Home prices continued to skyrocket in March as buyers tried to stay ahead of rising mortgage rates. 

Prices increased by 20.6% this March compared to last year, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, the leading measures of US home prices. This was the highest year-over-year increase in March for home prices in more than 35 years of data. Seven in 10 homes sold for more than their asking price, according to CoreLogic

Out of the 20 cities tracked by the 20-city composite index, Tampa, Phoenix and Miami saw the highest year-over-year gains in March. Tampa saw the greatest increase, with an almost 35% increase in home prices year-over-year. All 20 cities experienced double-digit price growth for the year ending in March.

The strongest price growth was seen in the south and southeast, with both regions posting almost 30% gains in March. Seventeen of the 20 metro areas also saw acceleration in their annual gains since February. 

"Those of us who have been anticipating a deceleration in the growth rate of US home prices will have to wait at least a month longer," said Craig Lazzara, managing director at S&P DJI, in the release. "The strength of the Composite indices suggests very broad strength in the housing market, which we continue to observe."

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, home prices overall are up by 37%. The current surge in home prices is a result of tight competition between buyers in a low-inventory market as they attempt to lock in lower mortgage rates before rates jump even higher throughout the year, as experts predict they will.

If you're considering buying a new home -- or are actively in the market -- the news isn't all bad. Interest rates are at their highest point in more than 40 years, and one potential benefit of that may, eventually, be downward pressure on home prices. As it becomes increasingly expensive to borrow money, fewer people will seek to do so, and homes for sale may receive fewer offers leading to, eventually, lower prices. In fact, nearly one in five sellers lowered their asking price during a four-week period in May and April, according to Redfin.

"Mortgages are becoming more expensive as the Federal Reserve has begun to ratchet up interest rates, suggesting that the macroeconomic environment may not support extraordinary home price growth for much longer," said Lazzara. "Although one can safely predict that price gains will begin to decelerate, the timing of the deceleration is a more difficult call."