Puerto Rico's house prices up by 3.14% y-o-y in Q1 2019

Puerto Rico’s seasonally-adjusted (and inflation-adjusted) purchase-only house price index rose by 3.14% during the year to Q1 2019, from annual declines of 7.54% in Q4 2018 and 3.81% in Q3 and y-o-y rises of 1.25% in Q2 and 3.18% in Q1. On a quarterly basis, house prices increased 2.29% during the latest quarter. 

Demand is rising, but housing market remains fragile

Demand is rising again, as insurance and federal aid money pour in, coupled with growing interest from Americans looking for bargain. In March 2019, the total number of houses sold rose by 2% y-o-y to 930 units, according to the Government Development Bank (GDB). Likewise, the total value of home sales soared 18.9% to about US$143.3 million over the same period.

Despite this, the housing market is expected to remain fragile, amidst the island’s continued economic woes, massive debt, and population loss.

Puerto Rico filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection in May 2017, unable to pay its massive debt or provide its citizens effective services. With US$70 billion in debt and US$50 billion in pension liabilities, Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy filing is the biggest in the history of the United States, dwarfing Detroit’s US$18 billion bankruptcy filing in 2013.

Rents, rental yields: no yields data available for Puerto Rico.

Recent news.  After a five-year contraction, Puerto Rico’s economy is estimated to have shrunk further by 2.3% this year, according to the IMF. The economy is projected to contract again by another 1.1% this year and by 0.7% in 2020.