Home prices in November fell slightly for the first time since November 2012, as the combination of price gains earlier in 2013 and higher mortgage rates caused prices to reach a plateau, according to a leading index of housing-market activity.
The Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 top cities fell 0.1% in November. A separate 10-city index also fell by 0.1%, Standard & Poor’s/Dow Jones Indices said in a statement. The 20-city index showed prices 13.8% higher than a year earlier, while the 10-city index rose 13.7%.
The company said the dip is not a reversal of the housing recovery. Prices typically dip in November and this performance was the best for any November since 2005. Seasonally adjusted, prices rose 0.9% in November.
“Beginning June 2012, we saw a steady rise in year-over-year increases, (and) November continued that trend,” said David Blitzer, head of the index committee at S&P/Dow Jones Indices. “The Sun Belt continues to push ahead with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa taking eight of the top nine spots.”
Home prices are still rising despite last May’s jump in mortgage interest rates, Blitzer said. Mortgage applications for purchase were up in recent weeks, confirming home builders’ optimism shown in surveys by the National Association of Home Builders, he added.