Home price gains slow for eighth month in a row

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Home prices in 20 U.S. cities slowed in November for an eighth straight month, extending the longest streak since 2014, as affordability issues remain.

The 20-city index of property values increased 4.7% in November from a year ago, after climbing 5.0% in October, S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data showed Tuesday.

Las Vegas (up 12%), Phoenix (up 8.1%) and Seattle (up 6.3%) reported the highest year-over-year gains of the 20 cities. Seven of the 20 cities reported bigger price increases in the year ending November 2018 than in the year ending October 2018.

Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 5% rise year-over-year and a 0.4% rise over the prior month.

The national index rose 0.1% month-over-month in November, before seasonal adjustment, while the 10-city and 20-city composites each dipped 0.1% in the month. After seasonal adjustment, the national index grew 0.4% month-over-month, while the 10-city and 20-city composites each rose 0.3%.

Eight of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment, wile 15 gained after seasonal adjustment.

“Home prices are still rising, but more slowly than in recent months,” according to David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The pace of price increases are being dampened by declining sales of existing homes and weaker affordability.”

While prices and mortgage rates climbed most of 2018, “Following a shift in Fed policy in December, mortgage rates backed off to about 4.45% from 4.95%,” he said.

“Housing market conditions are mixed while analysts’ comments express concerns that housing is weakening and could affect the broader economy,” Blitzer said. Prices are supported by a low number of homes for sale — about a four-month supply.

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