rain
Saturday July 4th, 2015 7:51AM

Weaker sales slowed US home price gains in March

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home prices rose at a slightly slower pace in the 12 months that ended in March, a sign that weak sales have begun to restrain the housing market's sharp price gains.

Data provider CoreLogic says prices rose 11.1 percent in March compared with March 2013. Though a sizable increase, that was down a bit from February's 12.2 percent year-over-year increase.

On a month-to-month basis, prices in March rose 1.4 percent from February. But CoreLogic's month-to-month figures aren't adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as warmer spring weather.

Home sales and construction have faltered since last fall, slowing the economy. A harsh winter, higher buying costs and a limited supply of available homes have discouraged many potential buyers. Existing-home sales in March reached their lowest level in 20 months.

Some signs suggest that buying might be picking up a bit as the spring season gets underway. Signed contracts to buy homes rose in March for the first time in nine months, the National Association of Realtors said last week.

Even so, economists forecast that sales of existing homes will barely rise this year from 2013's pace of 5.1 million. Sluggish sales, in turn, will slow annual price gains this year to roughly 5 percent or 6 percent, economists predict. CoreLogic forecasts that prices will increase just 6.7 percent in the 12 months that will end next March.

Higher prices typically encourage some homeowners to sell, yet the number of homes on the market remains low. CoreLogic's chief economist, Mark Fleming, said many homeowners might be reluctant to sell because they've locked in low mortgage rates and are hesitant to buy a home with a higher-rate mortgage.

The Federal Reserve's bond-buying program helped reduce the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage to as low as 3.3 percent in early 2013. The average is now about 4.3 percent, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

Fleming calculates that about a third of homeowners with mortgages are paying rates below 4 percent. An additional 15 percent are paying around the current average of 4.3 percent. That means roughly half of homeowners with mortgages are paying rates at or below the current level - roughly double the percentage of a year ago.

Home prices in California have jumped 17.2 percent from a year ago, CoreLogic said. Nevada, at 15.5 percent, has posted the second-largest gain, followed by Georgia, at 12.4 percent; Hawaii, 12.3 percent; and Oregon, 12.2 percent.

The Riverside-San Bernardino, California, metropolitan area reported the largest price gain over the past 12 months: 20.9 percent. It was followed by Los Angeles-Long Beach, with a 17.1 percent gain; Atlanta-Sandy Springs, 14.1 percent; Houston-Sugar Land, at 13.7 percent; and Chicago-Naperville, 11.3 percent.

Home sales and construction began recovering about two years ago after being hammered by the housing bust and Great Recession. But a jump in mortgage rates last spring caused sales of existing homes to start falling in the summer.
© Copyright 2015 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 ( 6 months 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 ( 6 months 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 ( 6 months 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 ( 6 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 6 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 6 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 6 months ago )
Local/State News
VIDEO: "'76 For Our Sacred Honor"
AccessWDUN presents a special video presentation in celebration of our nation's Independence Day. It was produced by AccessWDUN Videographer David Cook.
By AccessWDUN
3:00PM ( 7 hours from now )
America welcomes July 4 with hot dogs, cool music, cold beer
As the nation gears up to celebrate America's birthday, here are some Fourth of July highlights from around the country:___IN AMERICA'S BIRTHPLACE: CONCERTS, A PARADE AND BEERPhiladelphia started its...
1:06AM ( 6 hours ago )
Bubba Watson to remove Confederate flag from 'General Lee'
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Bubba Watson says he's painting over the Confederate flag on his car made popular in "The Dukes of Hazzard" television series.The two-time Masters champ said Friday...
6:57PM ( 12 hours ago )
Billy Dilworth veteran Georgia, SC journalist dies at 80
A veteran journalist whose career touched newspapers, radio and television stations in Georgia and South Carolina has died in northeast Georgia.
5:32PM ( 14 hours ago )
Forsyth Co. water main break shuts down Shiloh at Majors Rd.
Forsyth County officials are urging drivers to stay away from Shiloh Road at Majors Road while they try to repair a watermain break.
1:40PM ( 18 hours ago )