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Nine Cities Show Increases in S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices

Case-Shiller Home Price Indices [1]Home prices were a mixed bag in December with nine cities showing increases, six cities recording decreases, and five cities showing relatively flat changes.

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices [2], released Tuesday, show the national housing index fell 0.1 percent from November to December. However, the 10- and 20-city indices instead rose with a slight increase of 0.1 percent month-to-month.

"The housing recovery is faltering. While prices and sales of existing homes are close to normal, construction and new home sales remain weak," said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.  "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."

Miami led the 20 major cities in month-to-month measures with an increase of 0.7 percent with Denver coming in at a close second with an increase of 0.5 percent. Chicago and Detroit were among the cities that showed declined with a 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent in pricing.

All three indices showed growth in December compared to November. Both the 10- and 20-city composites showed slight increases, while the National Index slowed from a 4.7 percent increase in November to 4.6 percent.

According to Blitzer, movements in the price index reflect regional patterns.

"The western half of the nation plus Miami and Atlanta enjoyed year-over-year increases of 5 percent or more. Phoenix was an exception to the western strength with only a 2.4 percent increase. The Midwest and Northeast lagged. Boston was the strongest among this weak group," he said. "The weakness in new construction and new sales may reflect decreasing mobility – fewer people moving to different parts of the country or seeking jobs in different regions."

Twelve cities showed a faster rise in prices over the year in December with San Francisco ranking highest at 9.3 percent and Miami ranking second at 8.4 percent. Among the cities with a faster rise were Cleveland, Denver and Seattle, while Las Vegas led the declining cities with a drop from 7.7 to 6.9 percent.