The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index for Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties rose 8.4 percent in December from a year ago. Among 20 metro areas nationwide, only San Francisco had a larger increase, at 9.3 percent.
This is the second consecutive month that South Florida ranked second in the report. From August through October, the tri-county region led all areas in price gains.
Some housing analysts consider Case-Shiller the best barometer of home prices because it tracks the price of the same house over time. Local Realtor boards measure home values by releasing a median price for homes sold in a given month.
But the index, released on the last Tuesday of each month, lags Realtor board numbers and does not include condominium prices.
Despite solid gains in South Florida and in western states, the housing rebound nationwide is “faltering” as home starts remain sluggish, David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at Standard & Poor’s, said in a statement.
“The softness in housing is despite favorable conditions elsewhere in the economy: strong job growth, a declining unemployment rate, continued low interest rates and positive consumer confidence,” he said.
Rising rents in South Florida and across the country are pushing people into homeownership. Still, many renters can’t afford to buy, hurting the housing recovery, analysts say.
“Widespread and rapid growth in rents, combined with stagnant wages, are keeping many would-be buyers stuck in rental housing, writing ever-larger checks to their landlords instead of saving for a down payment,” Stan Humphries, chief economist for real estate website Zillow.com, said in a statement. “Today’s renters are tomorrow’s buyers, and the longer these would-be buyers stay on the sidelines, the longer full recovery will take.”