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rising real estate pricesS&P Dow Jones Indices recently released the latest results for the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices. Data released today for December 2014 shows a slight uptick in home prices across the country. Nine cities reported monthly increases in prices.

Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites saw year-over-year increases in December compared to November. The 10-City Composite gained 4.3 percent year-over-year, up from 4.2 percent in November. The 20- City Composite gained 4.5 percent year-over-year, compared to a 4.3 percent increase in November. The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 4.6 percent annual gain in December 2014 versus 4.7 percent in November.

The fastest year-over-year gains were in San Francisco and Miami, where prices rose 9.3 percent and 8.4 percent over the last 12 months. Twelve cities, including Cleveland, Denver, and Seattle, saw prices rise faster in the year to December than a month earlier. Las Vegas led the declining annual returns with 6.9 percent, down from 7.7 percent annually.

Month-over-Month
The National index was slightly negative in December, while both composite Indices were positive. Both the 10- and 20-City Composites reported slight increases of 0.1 percent, while the National Index posted a -0.1 percent change for the month. Miami and Denver led all cities in December with increases of 0.7 percent and 0.5 percent respectively. Chicago and Cleveland offset those gains by reporting decreases of -0.9 percent and -0.5 percent respectively.

December recorded mixed monthly figures. Nine cities recorded higher monthly figures, and six posted decreases. Five cities reported relatively flat monthly changes for December. Miami had the largest increase of all 20 cities at 0.7 percent month-over-month.

“The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak. Before the current business cycle, any time housing starts were at their current level of about one million at annual rates, the economy was in a recession” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The softness in housing is despite favorable conditions elsewhere in the economy: strong job growth, a declining unemployment rate, continued low interest rates and positive consumer confidence.

“Movements in home prices show clear regional patterns. The western half of the nation plus Miami and Atlanta enjoyed year-over-year increases of 5 percent or more. San Francisco and Miami were the strongest. Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas and Atlanta also experienced solid gains. Phoenix was an exception to the western strength with only a 2.4 percent increase; San Diego was a bit under 5 percent at 4.8 percent. The Midwest and Northeast lagged. Boston was the strongest among this weak group with prices up 3.8 percent. The regional patterns and the weakness in new construction and new sales may reflect decreasing mobility – fewer people moving to different parts of the country or seeking jobs in different regions.”

To view the full report, click here.

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