Home prices continued to rise in July, one reason the housing market may be slowing slightly, as would-be home buyers wait until prices cool a bit.
The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a slightly higher year-over-year gain with a 4.7% annual increase in July 2015, versus a 4.5% increase in June 2015. The 10-City Composite was virtually unchanged from last month, rising 4.5% year-over-year. The 20-City Composite had higher year-over-year gains, with an increase of 5%.
Economists surveyed by SellYourHome.com expected a 5.1% increase in the 20-city index.
“Prices of existing homes and housing overall are seeing strong growth and contributing to recent solid growth for the economy,” David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in the report. “The S&P/Case Shiller National Home Price Index has risen at a 4% or higher annual rate since September 2012, well ahead of inflation. Most of the strength is focused on states west of the Mississippi.”
San Francisco, Denver, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities with price increases of 10.4%, 10.3%, and 8.7%, respectively.
The housing market has been slowing in recent months after a strong start to the year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The National Association of Realtors’ pending home-sales index in August declined 1.4% from July.
“Most economists view the cooling off as healthy because they note prices in many markets were increasing faster than incomes, making it difficult for younger buyers to afford to buy a home,” the WSJ said. “Brokers said they are seeing increased cautiousness from buyers to buy houses given the rise in prices, and sellers are starting to respond by lowering their expectations.”