United States: Home price growth softens again in December
Home price growth remained on a downward trajectory for the ninth month running in December. On a month-on-month basis, the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city composite home price index fell 0.2% in December, matching November’s print but missing expectations of a flat reading. When adjusted for seasonal factors, house prices grew 0.2% from the previous month, down from 0.3% in November.
In annual terms, home price growth fell to a over three-year low of 4.2% in December, down from 4.6% in November. Price gains in West Coast cities continued to lead the print, with Las Vegas and Phoenix registering the largest year-on-year price increases. However, monthly gains suggest momentum was fading in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego. Overall, 17 out of the 20 cities in the index registered slower annual price growth in December.
Commenting on the outlook, David Blitzer, managing director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, noted:
“A decline in interest rates in the fourth quarter was not enough to offset the impact of rising prices on home sales. The monthly number of existing single family homes sold dropped throughout 2018, reaching an annual rate of 4.45 million in December. The 2018 full year sales pace was 4.74 million.”