The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index, covering all nine U.S. census divisions, on Tuesday reported a 4.3% annual gain in January, down from 4.6% in the previous month and a four-year low.
The 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 3.2%, down from 3.7% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 3.6% year-over-year gain, down from 4.1% in the previous month.
Las Vegas, Phoenix and Minneapolis reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. In January, Las Vegas led the way with a 10.5% year-over-year price increase, followed by Phoenix with a 7.5% increase and Minneapolis with a 5.1% increase. Only one of the 20 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending January 2019 versus the year ending December 2018.
Before seasonal adjustment, the National Index posted a month-over-month decrease of 0.2% in January. The 10-City and 20-City Composites reported 0.3% and 0.2% decreases for the month, respectively.
After seasonal adjustment, the National Index recorded a 0.2% month-over-month increase in January. The 10-City Composite did not post any gains, and the 20-City Composite posted 0.1% month-over-month increase. In January, five of 20 cities reported increases before seasonal adjustment, while 14 of 20 cities reported increases after seasonal adjustment.
"Home price gains continue to shrink,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “In the year to January, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index rose 4.3%, two percentage points slower than its pace in January 2018. The last time it advanced this slowly was April 2015. In 16 of the 20 cities tracked, price gains were smaller in January 2019 than in January 2018. Only Phoenix saw any appreciable acceleration. Some cities where prices surged in 2017-2018 now face much smaller increases: in Seattle, annual price gains dropped from 12.8% to 4.1% from January 2018 to January 2019. San Francisco saw annual price increases shrink from 10.2% to 1.8% over the same time period."
Blitzer continued, "Mortgage rates are as important as prices for many home buyers. Mortgage rates climbed from 3.95% in January 2018 to a peak of 4.95% in November 2018. Since then, rates have dropped to 4.28% as of mid-March. Sales of existing single-family homes slid gently downward from the 2017 fourth quarter until January of this year before jumping higher in February 2019. Home sales annual rate dropped from 5 million units in February 2018 to 4.36 million units in January 2019 before popping to 4.94 in February. It remains to be seen if recent low mortgage rates and smaller price gains can sustain improved home sales.”