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Home prices in the US fell for the second consecutive month in December, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller report.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 US cities posted a slight decline of 0.1 percent. On an annual basis, the index rose 13.4 percent from December 2012, a slower rate of increase than November’s 13.7 percent gain from the previous year. Despite the winter slowdown, 2013 had the most rapid calendar-year price growth in eight years.
“The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index ended its best year since 2005,” David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “However, gains are slowing from month-to-month and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over. Year-over-year values for the two monthly Composites weakened and the quarterly National Index barely improved. The seasonally adjusted data also exhibit some softness and loss of momentum.”
Only six cities witnessed higher prices in December: Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa and Washington DC. Miami had the biggest month-over-month price gains of the index cities, with an increase of 0.9 percent. Las Vegas was second, at 0.4 percent. Atlanta, Detroit and Los Angeles property values stayed flat; Detroit remains the only city below its January 2000 level. Cleveland had the largest drop in December, with a 1.2 percent retreat in prices.
Home prices in hot spot Phoenix declined 0.3 percent, the first decrease after 26 months of gains. Phoenix led the housing recovery in 2012, but the top three cities of 2014 were Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with annual gains of over 20 percent.