U.S. home values rose 6.9 percent on a year-over-year basis to a median value of $195,700 in February.
According to the February Zillow Real Estate Market Report, last month was the 55th straight month with annual home value growth, and the 18th consecutive month with annual appreciation above 5 percent. The median home value is just below the all-time high set in April 2007.
Also last month, the number of available homes decreased 2.6 percent year-over-year, the 25th straight month with annual inventory declines. Zillow says that along with strong job and wage growth, the lack of homes on the market has fueled demand and price gains.
Low inventory stems from lagging new construction activity and high shares of owners with negative equity on their homes.
Put another way, 5.1 million American homeowners are underwater on their mortgage – and it’s likely many of these 5.1 million Americans would choose to list their homes for sale if they could, except being underwater can make it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to sell.