Case-Shiller: Annual home price gains fall below 6 percent in August

by Rincey Abraham

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index grew 5.8 percent in August, slowing slightly from the 6.0 percent gain seen in July. The 10-City composite is up 5.1 percent, while the 20-city composite grew 5.5 percent.

On a month-over-month basis, the index only saw slight gains in August, with a 0.2 percent increase overall. The 10-city and 20-city composites did not see any gains.

“Following reports that home sales are flat to down, price gains are beginning to moderate,” says David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Comparing prices to their levels a year earlier, 14 of the 20 cities, the National Index plus the 10-city and 20-city Composite Indices all show slower price growth. The seasonally adjusted monthly data show that 10 cities experienced declining prices.”

Blitzer also notes that home sales are weakening, and rising home prices and mortgage rates could be keeping some buyers out away from the market. But concerns of another housing crash should be dismissed, he said.

“There are no signs that the current weakness will become a repeat of the crisis, however. In 2006, when home prices peaked and then tumbled, mortgage default rates bottomed out and started a three year surge,” he said. “Today, the mortgage default rates reported by the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices are stable. Without a collapse in housing finance like the one seen 12 years ago, a crash in home prices is unlikely.”

Not all cities saw significant declines in August. Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle saw the highest year-over-year gains, up 13.9 percent, 10.6 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively.

Atlanta saw a 5.8 percent increase from last year, and a 0.3 percent increase from July to August.