Home prices rose 4.9% in May vs 5.7% increase expected: S&P/Case-Shiller

U.S. home prices continued to rise in May, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, but the increase fell short of analyst estimates.

The 20-city index rose 4.9 percent year-over-year in May. Analysts had expected an increase of 5.7 percent.

Denver led the gains with 10-percent year-over-year appreciation in home prices, following by San Francisco and Dallas, where prices rose 9.7 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively.

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Nationally, single-family home prices have settled into an annual 4 to 5 percent pace of increase, moderating after the "double-digit bubbly pattern of 2013," according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

"Over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate. Prices are increasing about twice as fast as inflation or wages," David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

The weak link in the market remains first-time home buyers, S&P/Case-Shiller reported.

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"First time buyers provide the demand and liquidity that supports trading up by current home owners. Without a boost in first timers, there is less housing market activity, fewer existing homes being put on the market, and more worry about inventory," Blitzer said.