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US home price growth slows for 15th straight month

A newly sold home at a new housing subdivision is seen in San Marcos, California. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)

U.S. home price growth slowed for the fifteenth straight month.

Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posted a 3.1% year-over-year increase in June, down from 3.3% in May. The results missed analysts’ estimates of a 3.3% annual gain, according to Bloomberg. The 20-City Composite posted a 2.1% year-over-year increase, down from 2.4% a month earlier — also missing analysts’ estimates of 2.3%, according to Bloomberg.

“Home price gains continue to trend down, but may be leveling off to a sustainable level,” said Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a press statement. “The average YOY gain declined to 3.0% in June, down from 3.1% the prior month. However, fewer cities (12) experienced lower YOY gains in May (13).”

Barclays, which anticipated a 2.5% annual gain in June, said in a recent research note that it expects home prices “to stabilize during 2019 as factors such as improved home affordability and falling mortgage interest rates are likely to be supportive of the sector.” The market for existing-home sales remained soft in June despite some boost from lower mortgage rates as consumers remain wary of high home prices, Nomura wrote in a recent note.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales rose 2.5% and 0.6% in July from a month earlier and the same time a year ago, respectively. The increase marked a reversal from a month earlier when sales declined.

On Thursday, the NAR is expected to report pending home sales for July. Pending home sales, a leading indicator for the future health of the housing market, is expected to remain unchanged from June, according to Bloomberg estimates. In June, pending home sales were up 1.6%, reversing a 17-month streak of annual decreases.

Phoenix outpaces other cities

“The U.S. National Home Price NSA Index YOY price change in June 2019 of 3.1% is exactly half of what it was in June 2018,” said Murphy. “While housing has clearly cooled off from 2018, home price gains in most cities remain positive in low single-digits. Therefore, it is likely that current rates of change will generally be sustained barring an economic downturn.”

The 20-City Composite was led by Phoenix, which unseated Las Vegas as the city with the fastest annual home price growth. Phoenix led the way with a 5.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 5.5% increase. Up until now, Vegas had led the 20-City for almost a year.

“The southwest (Phoenix and Las Vegas) remains the regional leader in home price gains, followed by the southeast (Tampa and Charlotte),” said Murphy. “With three of the bottom five cities (Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego), much of the west coast is challenged to sustain YOY gains.”

Amanda Fung is an editor at Yahoo Finance.

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