mostlycloudy
Friday February 12th, 2016 4:53AM

US home prices dip for second straight month

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices fell for the second straight month in December as brutally cold weather, tight supply and higher costs slowed sales.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index declined 0.1 percent from November to December, matching the previous month's decline. The index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the dip partly reflects slower buying as winter weather set in.

For all of 2013, however, prices rose by a healthy 13.4 percent, mostly because of big gains earlier in the year. That was the largest calendar year gain in eight years. But the year-over-year gain slowed from November's 13.7 percent pace. That's only the second time that year-over-year increases have declined since prices began recovering two years ago.

The figures come after other reports show that home sales and construction have slowed after strong gains last year. Most economists expect the housing recovery will continue this year, though likely at a slower pace.

"The market should continue its slow march back to normal, as annual (price) appreciation rates fall to more sustainable levels around 3 percent," said Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate data provider Zillow.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The December figures are the latest available.

"Gains are slowing ... and the strongest part of the recovery in home values may be over," said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P's index committee. "Higher home prices and mortgage rates are taking a toll on affordability."

Even some cities in warmer areas saw declines. Home prices in Phoenix fell 0.3 percent, the first drop after 26 months of big increases.

Only six cities recorded higher prices in December: Dallas, Las Vegas, Miami, San Francisco, Tampa, Fla., and Washington, D.C. Home prices in all 20 cities rose compared with a year ago.

Mortgage rates are roughly a full percentage point higher than they were last spring, although they remain low by historical standards. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said last week that the average rate on the 30-year loan is 4.33 percent.

Sales of existing homes plunged in January to the slowest pace in 18 months. And builders broke ground on 16 percent fewer homes in January compared with December, the Commerce Department said this week. That was the second straight decline.

Builders also requested fewer permits in January for the third straight month, suggesting construction remained weak this month.

The declines came after existing home sales reached 5.1 million in 2013, the best showing in seven years. And builders started work on 976,000 houses and apartments last year, the most in six years.

Some economists say the Case-Shiller figures overstate recent price gains because they include foreclosures. Foreclosed homes usually sell at steep discounts. As the proportion of those sales declines, the index rises more sharply.

Other indexes that exclude foreclosures show smaller but steady increases.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night's Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barack Obama
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders battled for the crucial backing of black and Hispanic voters in Thursday night's Democratic debate and clashed heatedly over their support for Barac...
11:37PM ( 5 hours ago )
South Hall wedding venue approved by county commissioners
The Hall County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a 42 acre tract of land in South Hall as an agri-entertainment venue to house weddings and other gatherings at its voting session Thursday night at the Hall County Government Center.
10:20PM ( 6 hours ago )
Atlanta police officer shot and killed in incident just south of Hartsfield-Jackson airport
A police officer in suburban Atlanta was shot twice and killed Thursday by a suspect who was also wounded during a law enforcement operation, authorities said.
By The Associated Press
9:28PM ( 7 hours ago )
More than 45 prison guards and officers in Georgia have been indicted on charges of accepting bribes and drug trafficking
ATLANTA (AP) — Dozens of Georgia prison guards agreed to protect drug smuggling operations for a high-level trafficker, believing their status as correctional officers would protect them from a vehicl...
4:59PM ( 11 hours ago )
Officials investigate suspicious fire, third in less than a week in Barrow County
While investigators believe it was internationally set, they don't believe a fire in a vacant mobile home Wednesday night is related to two suspicious weekend fires.
2:30PM ( 14 hours ago )