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Home prices continue upward march

Home-price gains slowed down slightly in some of the nation’s hottest markets in May, but were still rising at a torrid pace far above the rate of inflation, according to the S&P Dow Jones CoreLogic Case-Shiller indices.

Nationally, home prices recorded an annual gain of 6.4 percent, the same as in April. Case-Shiller’s 10-city and 20-city indices posted annual gains of 6.1 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, which was slightly lower than the annual gains recorded by the indices in April.

homeshiller(1)Case-Shiller’s national index was nearly 10 percent higher than the prior July 2006 peak of the market, a figure that is not adjusted for inflation.

In three of the nation’s hottest markets — Seattle, Las Vegas and San Francisco — home prices posted double-digit annual gains. Seattle recorded the highest annual gain of 13.6 percent, followed by Las Vegas at 12.6 percent and San Francisco at 10.9 percent.

The monthly gain in home prices was lower in May than April in several of the most expensive cities, however, including Seattle, San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Boston and Washington, D.C. Prices in May picked up steam in pricey San Francisco, Miami and Portland, Oregon.     

Home prices have recorded annual appreciation of 5 percent or more in every month since August 2016, and the gains have been consistent and widespread across cities at more than double the rate of inflation, said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. Blitzer said higher prices appear to be causing a slowdown in new- and existing-home sales, and lesser home-purchase contract activity.

“Affordability – a measure based on income, mortgage rates and home prices – has gotten consistently worse over the last 18 months,” Blitzer said. “All these indicators suggest that the combination of rising home prices and rising mortgage rates are beginning to affect the housing market.”

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency reported that the price of homes purchased with conventional Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans rose by 6.4 percent year over year in May. 


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