Finance

White House says rising home prices are a concern By Reuters

© Reuters. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque     

By Nandita Bose and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration is monitoring rising U.S. home prices, which it is concerned are increasingly making housing unaffordable, a White House spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

“The increase in housing prices we’ve seen does raise concerns for us about housing affordability and access to the housing market,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We recognize there is a need for new housing supply, particularly on the affordable end of the market.”

Home prices are sharply rising across the country, as people increasingly working from home during the pandemic struggle to find more spacious accommodation.

The rising prices also come amid shortages for goods like lumber and laborers in the aftermath of a coronavirus pandemic that disrupted normal supplies. Those signs of inflation threaten the United States’ staggering economic recovery.

Psaki described these as “supply-and-demand issues” that are pushing prices higher.

Economic data from several sources on Tuesday pointed to sharply rising housing prices. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller house price index, for instance, rose 13.2% in March from a year ago, the largest increase since December 2005, after rising 12.0% in February.

Psaki acknowledged that homes are a significant source of wealth for many families, who benefit from rising prices.

“The financial effects that some are feeling are positive,” she said.

She did not suggest any new policy steps that might be taken to contain a gain in prices, but she did reiterate Biden’s proposal for new credits to renovate single-family homes.

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