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Home-price gains slowest since 2012

Home prices rose at the slowest annual pace in six and a half years in December, and most major cities have dipped into sub-5 percent growth territory for the first time in several years, CoreLogic reported.

pricgrowthThe cost of homes on a nationwide basis was up 4.7 percent annually, the slowest pace since August 2012, CoreLogic reported. Home-price growth averaged 6.4 percent during the first half of 2018, but fell to 5.2 percent over the final six months.

Higher mortgage interest rates and slowing sales took some steam out of the market, CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said. The company projects that average annual price gains will cool to 3.4 percent in 2019.

Among a sampling of metros tracked by CoreLogic, only Las Vegas (up 11.3 percent) and Denver (5.6 percent) broke through the 5 percent annual-growth threshold in December.

Although Las Vegas was far and away the hottest market, it too has begun to cool.  Last year at this time, Las Vegas' prices were rising at a 14 percent annual clip, CoreLogic Deputy Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin told Scotsman Guide News last week. 

“A combination of factors is helping cool home prices,” McLaughlin said. “First, we’re in a mature economic cycle, which naturally means home-price growth slows. Second, a series of recent headwinds have combined to keep the housing market in check. These include interest rates peaking in November, a volatile stock market, a contentious election and a government shutdown.”

Some notable cities where prices are now rising at a sub-5 percent annual rate include Miami (4.7 percent); Los Angeles (4.5 percent); Houston (4.1 percent); Boston (3.8 percent); San Francisco (3.3 percent); and Washington, D.C. (3.1 percent). 

Price gains were even more sluggish in New York City (2.8 percent) and Chicago (2.5 percent). Notably, however, home prices were still climbing in most states. Only North Dakota (down 1.8 percent year over year) and Louisiana (down 0.3 percent) saw an annual decline in home prices, CoreLogic reported.

CoreLogic estimated that 33 of the top 100 metros it studied were overvalued, meaning average purchase prices exceeded what was considered sustainable compared to local income levels.


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