Monday, April 14, 2014

Case-Shiller report takes edge off record home price gains

Dallas-area home prices continue to rise at a double-digit rate. But the latest increase took the edge off record-high numbers in the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index.
Prices of pre-owned homes were up 10 percent in January from a year ago, according to Case-Shiller’s report. That’s a fractional pullback from the all-time-high 10.2 percent gain in December.
Nationally, home prices were up 13.2 percent from the same month in 2013.
But the percentage increase in prices in January was less than the December rise in more than half of the U.S. markets tracked in the monthly survey.
“The housing recovery may have taken a breather due to the cold weather,” S&P’s David M. Blitzer said in the report. “Expectations and recent data point to continued home price gains for 2014.
“Although most analysts do not expect the same rapid increases we saw last year, the consensus is for moderating gains.”
The greatest year-over-year price increases in January were in Las Vegas, 25.5 percent, and San Francisco, 22.6 percent.
Dallas-area prices are almost 5 percent ahead of where they were before the recession. Nationwide prices still lag by about 20 percent from where they were in mid-2006.
“Dallas and Denver are the only cities to have reached new record peaks,” Blitzer said.
Dallas-area home prices have been rising in the Case-Shiller Index for 23 consecutive months.
Case-Shiller’s index tracks over time the prices of specific single-family homes in each metropolitan area. The index survey does not include condominiums and townhouses.
Case-Shiller’s latest house price numbers for Dallas reflect a leveling off in the market that housing analysts have been expecting.
After prices increased by about 10 percent in 2013, economists are expecting a slightly smaller rise this year.
“We have heard from builders and Realtors alike that prospective buyer traffic remains strong this spring but that there exists a fair amount of sticker shock as these buyers assess their home purchase options,” said Ted Wilson with Dallas housing analyst Residential Strategies Inc.
“Prices are up substantially — on both new and existing homes — from where they were just two years ago.”