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House resting on money(TNS)—Home prices are ending the year on a stable note, according to new data out Tuesday morning. The Case-Shiller Index—which tracks prices nationwide and in 20 major cities—reported prices grew 4.6 percent in October compared to a year earlier. That’s the slowest pace since September 2012, but one which many economists say is healthier for both buyers and sellers than the double-digit growth seen this time last year.

From September to October, prices climbed 0.7 percent after seasonal adjustments are taken into account, though some economists say those adjustments are overly generous. Of the 20 cities Case-Shiller tracks, gains were strongest in San Francisco and Tampa, Fla.; weakest in Chicago and Cleveland.

In the Los Angeles area, prices were up 4.9 percent year over year, also the slowest annual gain since September 2012. Prices around LA ticked up 1.6 percent in October after being basically flat the last three months, and now sit at levels last seen in December 2007.

The report suggests that the housing market is hitting a good balance heading into the new year, says Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate website Zillow.com.

“Housing definitely came back to Earth over the second half of 2014, and we welcome and expect to see more of the same as we look ahead at 2015. A slower-moving housing market is inherently more stable, more balanced between buyers and sellers and more sustainable over the long term,” he says. “We’re ending 2014 on a good note, and this momentum will continue.”

©2014 Los Angeles Times
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