January 28, 2014

Home prices dip in U.S., continue to rise in DFW

In November, Dallas-Fort Worth enjoyed the strongest annual gain in home prices since 2000 — up 9.9 percent from November 2012, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller report.

While U.S. home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, prices rose again in North Texas, and the region had its biggest year-over-year gain since 2000.

Overall, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent.

But prices in Dallas-Fort Worth edged up 0.1 percent from October and have increased by 9.9 percent since November 2012.

“November was a good month for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. “Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter.”

Home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.

Home prices surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent the past 12 months.

And Chicago home prices climbed at their strongest annual clip since December 1988. Among cities in the index, only Detroit prices remain below their 2000 level.

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

Some of the improvement in the housing market since 2012 has slowed in recent months. Rising mortgage rates and home prices have reduced affordability, an indication that the market will likely expand more gradually this year.

“Sellers used to seeing huge price gains month after month may feel some whiplash as that slows down,” said Stan Humphries, chief economist for the real estate firm Zillow. “The housing market is still a long way from normal, but it’s getting there.”

For all of 2013, sales totaled 5.09 million, the best performance since 2006, when sales climbed to 6.48 million, the National Association of Realtors reported last week. But the sales gains in both 2005 and 2006 represented an unsustainable housing bubble. Analysts say a more normal sales pace would be around 5.5 million.

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