Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose by the most since February 2006 in the 12 months through September, showing the housing market sustained progress even as borrowing costs climbed.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values advanced 13.3 percent after increasing 12.8 percent a month earlier, the group said Tuesday.
Sellers are standing firm on asking prices as buyers compete for a limited number of available properties. Higher home values are helping propel gains in Americans’ net worth, boosting confidence among homeowners and creating momentum for consumer spending.
“Housing demand has clearly improved this year,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York, who projected a 13.2 percent year-over-year increase. “The housing market has benefited from fewer foreclosures over the last year, the share of distressed housing transactions is back to pre-crisis levels, and that has helped to boost home prices in many parts of the country.”
Home prices adjusted for seasonal variations increased 1 percent in September from the previous month, compared with a 0.9 percent gain in August. Unadjusted prices climbed 0.7 percent in September after a 1.3 percent gain as 19 of the 20 cities showed advances.
The year-over-year gauge, which includes records going back to 2001, provides a better indication of price trends, the group has said.
All of the 20 cities in the index showed an increase in year-over-year prices, led by gains of 29.1 percent in Las Vegas and 25.7 percent in San Francisco. The smallest gain was in New York, which showed a 4.3 percent advance.
Monthly figures show price increases were slowing in parts of the country, including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Tampa, Fla., and San Diego.
“Other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement. “Existing-home sales weakened in the most recent report, home construction remains far below the boom levels of six or seven years ago and interest rates are expected to be higher a year from now.” — Bloomberg News
WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers’ confidence in the economy fell in November to the lowest level in seven months, dragged down by greater concerns about hiring and pay in the coming months.
The Conference Board said Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence dropped to 70.4 from 72.4 in October. The October reading was higher than initially reported but still well below the 80.2 reading in September.
November’s drop comes after the 16-day partial government shutdown caused confidence to plunge in October. The declines in both months were driven by falling expectations for hiring and the economy over the next six months.
Some economists also attributed the weakening confidence to Americans’ frustrations and worries about the implementation of the Obama administration’s health care reform. — AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. developers received approval in October to build apartments at the fastest pace in five years, a trend that could boost economic growth in the final three months of the year.
Permits to build houses and apartments were approved at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.034 million, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That’s 6.2 percent higher than the September rate of 974,000 and the fastest since June 2008.
Nearly all of the increase was for multifamily homes, a part of residential construction that reflects rentals and can be volatile from month to month. — AP