Home for sale in Del Mar
A home for sale in Del Mar in July. Photo by Chris Jennewein

San Diego lead the nation in home price increases as the pandemic peaked in mid winter, with a whopping 2.9% jump between January and February, according to the widely-followed Case-Shiller Index released Tuesday.

Over the past 12 months, home prices increased 17.0% in the single-county San Diego metropolitan area — the second highest in the nation after the two-county Phoenix metro area.

“Phoenix’s 17.4% increase led all cities for the 21st consecutive month, with San Diego and
Seattle close behind,” said Craig J. Lazzara, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Although prices were strongest in the West and Southwest, every region logged double-digit gains.”

The average increase across the nation was 1.1% between January and February and 12.0% for the past 12 months.

Lazarra said the home price growth was the highest since 2006 and is “consistent with the hypothesis that COVID has encouraged potential buyers to move from urban apartments to suburban homes.”

But he said it’s not clear whether this marks a permanent change in living preferences, or an acceleration of housing purchases due to the pandemic.

Zillow economist Matthew Speakmanbs said the “red hot” price appreciation shows no sign of cooling off.

“Already rising at a blistering pace, home price appreciation pressed higher in February as competition for housing remained red hot,” he said. “As more signs emerge that the economy’s recovery is gathering steam, a wave of eager buyers — many of them seeking their first home purchase — remain determined to find their next home.”

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.