U.S. home prices decreased 0.1% nationally in December compared to January but were up 4.6% compared to December 2013, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI).
Although the report's National Index was down 0.1%, month over month, the 10-city and 20-city composites were each up 0.1%. On a year over year basis the 10-city composite gained 4.3%, up from 4.2% in November, while the 20-city composite gained 4.5%, compared to a 4.3% increase in November.
Year over year, San Francisco and Miami saw the biggest gains in December with increases of 9.3% and 8.4%, respectively.
Month over month, Miami and Denver led all cities in December with increases of 0.7% and 0.5%, respectively. Chicago and Cleveland, meanwhile, saw home prices decrease 0.9% and 0.5%, respectively.
The figures once again show that home price appreciation is spotty. Nine cities recorded higher monthly figures, six posted decreases and five were relatively flat in December.
‘The housing recovery is faltering,’ says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, in a statement. ‘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,’ Blitzer adds. ‘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.’
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