Home-price gains in 20 U.S. cities decelerate for 13th month

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Home-price gains in 20 U.S. cities decelerated in April for a 13th straight month to the weakest pace since 2012, indicating further moderation in the housing market, particularly in once-hot West Coast areas.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values increased 2.5% from a year earlier, matching estimates, following 2.6% in March. On a monthly basis prices were unchanged, compared with forecasts for a 0.1% increase. Nationally, home prices decelerated to a 3.5% pace.

The data showed buyers continue to balk at elevated property prices in some areas, even with mortgage rates that have fallen by more than a percentage point since November and consistent wage gains. Residential real estate has been a drag on economic growth for five straight quarters.

Other readings on housing were relatively upbeat last week. Sales of existing homes, which make up the majority of the market, topped estimates in May as all four regions gained, while new home starts also exceeded forecasts and building permits edged up.

"Home price gains continued in a trend of broad-based moderation," Philip Murphy, global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement. "Year-over-year price gains remain positive in most cities, though at diminishing rates of change."

Of the 20 cities in the index, 19 showed year-over-year gains, led by Las Vegas at 7.1% and Phoenix at 6%. Seattle was the exception, decelerating to unchanged year-over-year, a sharp drop from 13.1% appreciation in April 2018. The California cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego also registered gains below 2%.

Prices in 14 cities rose from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis, while four were unchanged and two showed declines: Seattle and the Washington, D.C., area.

An index by the Federal Housing Finance Agency showed prices rose 5.2% in April from a year earlier, according to a separate report, a slight pickup from the prior month. The gain from March was 0.4%, higher than the median estimate of 0.2%.

Bloomberg News
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