Beacon Journal staff and wire reports
Home prices fell slightly in November as colder weather slowed buying, ending nine straight months of price gains, according to and index of home prices in 20 large metro areas.
Despite the overall decline in the index — the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index — prices in nine of the 20 areas recorded positive monthly returns; of these nine, Boston and Cleveland were the only cities not in the Sun Belt.
The index shows prices in the Cleveland area ticked up 0.3 percent from October to November. Prices grew 6 percent in the Cleveland area from November 2012 to November 2013.
Overall, home prices in the 20 top cities slipped 0.1 percent from October to November, partly reversing the previous monthly increase of 0.2 percent. But the index is not adjusted for seasonal variations, so the monthly decline partly reflects slower buying in the late fall as temperatures drop.
“November was a good month for home prices,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee. “Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter.”
The index shows home values have continued to rise in many Sun Belt cities. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix have registered 20 straight months of rising prices.
Dallas enjoyed its strongest annual gain since 2000. And Chicago home prices climbed at their strongest annual clip since December 1988. Among the cities in the index, only Detroit prices remain below their 2000 level.
Overall home prices — in the 20 largest cities — surged for much of 2013, driven by big gains earlier in the year. Prices have risen 13.7 percent over the past 12 months.
The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The November figures are the latest available.