BY DAVID M. KINCHEN
Data through February 2014, released Tuesday, April 29, 2014 by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices shows that annual rates of gain slowed for the 10-City and 20-City Composites.
The Composites posted 13.1% and 12.9% in the twelve months ending February 2014. Thirteen cities saw lower annual rates in February. Las Vegas, the leader, posted 23.1% year-over-year versus 24.9% in January. The only city in the Sun Belt that saw improvement in its year-over-year return was San Diego with an increase of 19.9%.
As of February 2014, average home prices across the United States are back to their mid-2004 levels.
Both Composites remained relatively unchanged month-over-month. Thirteen of the twenty cities declined in February. Cleveland had the largest decline of 1.6% followed by Chicago and Minneapolis at -0.9%. Las Vegas posted -0.1%, marking its first decline in almost two years. Tampa showed its largest decline of 0.7% since January 2012.
“Prices remained steady from January to February for the two Composite indices,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The annual rates cooled the most we’ve seen in some time. The three California cities and Las Vegas have the strongest increases over the last 12 months as the West continues to lead. Denver and Dallas remain the only cities which have reached new post-crisis price peaks. The Northeast with New York, Washington and Boston are seeing some of the slowest year-over-year gains. However, even there prices are above their levels of early 2013. On a month-to-month basis, there is clear weakness. Seasonally adjusted data show prices rose in 19 cities, but a majority at a slower pace than in January. ”
Blitzer added: “Despite continued price gains, most other housing statistics are weak. Sales of both new and existing homes are flat to down. The recovery in housing starts, now less than one million units at annual rates, is faltering. Moreover, home prices nationally have not made it back to 2005. Mortgage interest rates, which jumped in May last year and are steady since then, are blamed by some analysts for the weakness. Others cite difficulties in qualifying for loans and concerns about consumer confidence. The result is less demand and fewer homes being built. ”
“Five years into the recovery from the recession, the economy will need to look to gains in consumer spending and business investment more than housing,” Blitzer added. “Long overdue activity in residential construction would be welcome, but is certainly not assured.”
Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices and CoreLogic