Home prices in 20 U.S. cities keep climbing

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Home prices in 20 U.S. cities increased in November by the most in more than three years, underscoring a lingering scarcity of housing inventory, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller data released Tuesday.

The 20-city property values index increased 6.4% year-over-year (the estimate was 6.3%), after climbing 6.3% year-over-year. The national home-price gauge rose 6.2% year-over-year and the seasonally adjusted 20-city index climbed 0.7% month-to-month (the estimate was 0.6%).

The nationwide measure of price gains, which has been 5% or more for 16 straight months, reflects the rebound in residential real estate. While demand is getting a boost from a strong job market and low mortgage rates, supply has continued to lag, especially for previously owned dwellings.

A limited number of for-sale listings has in the past few years been driving up property values faster than wage gains, crimping affordability for younger, first-time buyers. That could eventually become a headwind to faster price appreciation. For now, the gains mean rising home equity for those who own properties.

"Home prices continue to rise three times faster than the rate of inflation," David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. "Without more supply, home prices may continue to substantially outpace inflation."

All 20 cities in the index showed year-over-year gains, led by a 12.7% increase in Seattle and a 10.6% advance in Las Vegas After seasonal adjustment, San Francisco had the biggest month-over-month rise at 1.8%, followed by Las Vegas with a 1.1% increase. Cleveland, San Diego and Phoenix registered the smallest month-over-month gains, each with a 0.1% increase.

Bloomberg News