US home price growth unchanged after 15-month slowdown

U.S. home price growth was unchanged in July.

Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that its S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index posted a 3.2% year-over-year increase in July, remaining the same from the previous month. The results beat analysts’ estimates of a 2.9% annual gain, according to Bloomberg. The 20-City Composite posted a 2% year-over-year increase, down from 2.2% a month earlier — missing analysts’ estimates of 2.1%, according to Bloomberg.

“Year-over-year home prices continued to gain, but at ever more modest rates,” said Philip Murphy, managing director and global head of index governance at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a press statement. “Home price gains remained positive in low single digits in most cities, and other fundamentals indicate renewed housing demand.”

FILE - In this Monday, June 8, 2015 file photo, a sold sign is posted in front of a new home under construction in Mechanicsville, Va. Sales of new homes plunged sharply in September to the slowest pace in 10 months, according to Commerce Department report released Monday, Oct. 26, 2015, as higher prices and slower overall economic growth weigh on the housing market. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Existing home sales rose in August to their highest levels since 2018 rising for the second straight month, according to the National Association of Realtors. “Sales are up, but inventory numbers remain low and are thereby pushing up home prices,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR, in a statement at the time the data was released. “Home builders need to ramp up new housing, as the failure to increase construction will put home prices in danger of increasing at a faster pace than income.”

There was some good news on that front earlier this month as well. In August, the U.S. Commerce Department said housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.36 million, the most since June 2007 and up from a revised 1.22 million.

“The starts and permits data are leading indicators regarding residential construction so the recent strength in the data signals that related construction will pick up in the coming months,” wrote JPMorgan’s Daniel Silver in a recent research note.

Southwest cities lead growth

For the second consecutive month, Phoenix posted the fastest annual home price gain. Prior to June, Las Vegas had been at the top of the 20-City Composite.

In July, Phoenix led the way with a 5.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Las Vegas with a 4.7% increase, and Charlotte with a 4.6% increase. Seven of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending July 2019 versus the year ending June 2019.

“Seattle may be turning around from its recent negative streak of annual price changes, improving from -1.3% in June to -0.06% in July,” said Murphy. Since June 2018, price growth in Amazon’s home city has been decelerating from its double-digit rates.

Amanda Fung is an editor at Yahoo Finance.

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