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National home prices rose 4% in February from a year earlier, according to the latest reading on the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index. That is down from a 4.2% annual gain in January.
The 10-City Composite rose 2.6% annually, down from 3.1% in the previous month. The 20-City Composite posted a 3% year-over-year gain, down from 3.5% in January.
Markets still gaining big: Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa, Florida, saw the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. Las Vegas prices were up 9.7%, followed by Phoenix with a 6.7% increase, and Tampa with a 5.4% increase.
Prices have been gaining since 2012, but in the past year those gains have been shrinking due to higher mortgage rates and a general overheating of values in most metropolitan markets, which hurt sales.
"Home sales drifted down over the last year except for a one-month pop in February 2019," said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Sales of new homes, housing starts, and residential investment had similar weak trajectories over the last year."
While it is unlikely that home values will go negative on a national level, the San Francisco Bay Area did see home prices fall annually in March for the first time since 2012, according to CoreLogic. Home prices there had overheated far beyond historical affordability levels, causing home sales to drop dramatically in the past eight months.
"Last year, the largest gain was 12.7% in Seattle. Regional patterns are shifting. The three California cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego have the three slowest price increases over the last year," added Blitzer. "Chicago, New York and Cleveland saw only slightly larger prices increases than California. Prices generally rose faster in inland cities than on either the coasts or the Great Lakes."