The FHFA measure of home prices jumped 1.3% in March and 7.2% from a year earlier. Tight inventories and ongoing easing by the Federal Reserve have contributed to recent increases and helped to cushion the blow of higher taxes. Refinancing, in particular, surged at the end of 2012 and start of 2013 which, in a rising home price environment, allowed homeowners to keep spending even as the end of the payroll tax holiday put a pinch on take-home pay.
Separately, new home sales rose to a 454,000 unit pace in April, up 2.3% from March, and almost 30% ahead from a year ago. Read More