US single-family home prices took it down another notch in November, with gains slowing 0.2 percent from the previous month.
The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 cities increased by 4.3 percent year-over-year in November, compared to an annual gain of 4.5 percent in October. The US National Home Price Index, which covers all nine US census divisions, posted a 4.7 percent year-over-year increase in November, a slower pace than the 4.6 percent recorded in October.
Home prices leaped the highest in San Francisco and Miami, with increases of 8.9 percent and 8.6 percent respectively over the last 12 months. The nine cities with the heftiest increases in annual growth rates included Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte and Portland. Of the metropolitan areas in the 20-city gauge, Detroit and Miami had the lowest annual growth rates in November.
In terms of month-to-month advances, Tampa had the biggest marginal increase of 0.8 percent. Chicago home prices fell the hardest, with a 1.1 percent decline from October to November, followed by Detroit at a 0.9 percent decrease.
“With the spring home buying season, and spring training, still a month or two away, the housing recovery is barely on first base,” David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. “Prospects for a home run in 2015 aren’t good.”
Significant price gains are limited to California, Florida, the Pacific Northwest, Denver and Dallas, while the rest of the country is mostly lagging the national index gains, Blitzer added. Low inventory levels and tough mortgage qualifications have hampered the housing recovery. Moreover, the Case-Shiller report noted that distressed sales and investor purchases for buy-to-rent properties receded in the fourth quarter.
On the plus side, Blitzer said, 2014 was a strong year for job creation and weekly unemployment claims, and cheap gas prices have helped bolster consumer confidence.
Existing home sales were 4.93 million in 2014, down 3.1 percent from 5.09 million in 2013, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
In the new-construction sector, single-family home sales increased 11.6 percent from November to December, for a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to data released today by the US Department of Commerce. If this figure holds, this would mark the best rate of newly built, single-family sales since June 2008 (December’s number comes with a margin of error of 16.5 percentage points). November’s pace was revised down to 431,000, from an initial estimate of 438,000.
New-home sales are about 10 percent of the total housing market, according to the Wall Street Journal.