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Home prices dipped slightly in July according to the S&P Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index. Year-over-year, home price growth dipped to 5.00 percent from June’s reading of 5.10 percent. The Pacific Northwest led the nation in home price appreciation. Portland, Oregon had the highest year-over-year home price growth with a rate of 12.40 percent. Seattle, Washington posted year-over-year home price growth of 11.20 percent. Denver, Colorado was third with a year-over-year home price growth rate of 9.40 percent.

Home prices in San Francisco, California slowed; year-over-year, home prices grew by 6.00 percent in contrast to home price growth topping the 20-city index in recent months. Analysts observed that cooling home prices in San Francisco could represent the end of the area’s housing bubble.

Year-over-year home price growth was lowest in New York, New York with a reading of 1.70 percent. Washington, D.C. posted a year-over-year reading of 2.00 percent; Cleveland, Ohio posted a year-over-year home price growth rate of 2.50 percent.

MonthtoMonth Home Price Growth Provides Surprises

The largest month-to-month gains in home prices were posted by Portland, Oregon at 1.20 percent, Denver, Colorado with a reading of 0.90 percent and Detroit, Michigan with a July reading of 0.80 percent. While year-over-year home price growth readings are less volatile than month-to-month readings, signs of increasing home values in cities with depressed home price growth rates are a positive sign.

On the other hand, San Francisco, California posted a flat reading for month-to-month growth after recently topping year-over-year readings in the 20-City Home Price Index. With skyrocketing prices and limited inventories of available homes, it appears that San Francisco home prices may have reached their upward limit.

David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chair of the S&P Index Committee, said that July’s readings indicate further improvement of the economy and housing markets. This progress could prove difficult to sustain as house prices continue to outpace wages and rising home prices continue to sideline first-time buyers. Slim supplies of homes for sale are creating higher-than-average demand for homes that fuels rapidly rising home prices. This further complicates home purchase options for home buyers who compete with investors and others who are able to meet or exceed asking prices and purchase homes with cash.

Home buyers requiring mortgages have been supported by relatively low mortgage rates, but strict mortgage credit standards continue to provide obstacles for credit-challenged buyers. Financial institutions continue to take a conservative stance on mortgage lending after sustaining severe losses and government ridicule in the wake of the Great Recession.

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