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Economic Report: Home price growth screeches to a 6 1/2-year low, Case-Shiller says

Price gains for the three months ending in February were the slowest since mid-2012, and the regional impacts were starkly delineated, according to the closely-watched Case-Shiller house price index. Read More...
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One of the oldest neighborhoods of Boston, Charlestown is home to the Bunker Hill Monument and historic Charlestown Navy Yard.

The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in February compared to January, and was 3.0% higher compared to a year ago. That was the slowest pace of annual growth since September 2012, and just missed the Econoday consensus forecast for a 3.2% yearly increase.

What happened: National home price appreciation has thudded back to earth, and a regional realignment is underway. In February, 14 of 20 cities reported monthly, seasonally adjusted price increases, but only one city had a stronger annual price increase than in January.

Big picture: California, stung by the tax-law changes of 2017, is no longer on top. In fact, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego had the slowest annual price growth in the three month period ending in February. But Americans still prize warm weather and moderately-priced housing: the top three metros were Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tampa.

Metro area Monthly change 12-Month change
Atlanta 0.2% 4.7%
Boston -0.4% 3.2%
Charlotte -0.1% 4.2%
Chicago 0.0% 2.2%
Cleveland -0.3% 2.8%
Dallas 0.2% 3.4%
Denver 0.9% 4.7%
Detroit 0.1% 4.0%
Las Vegas 0.3% 9.7%
Los Angeles 0.0% 1.8%
Miami 0.1% 4.3%
Minneapolis -0.4% 4.4%
New York 0.1% 2.6%
Phoenix 0.1% 6.7%
Portland 0.1% 3.0%
San Diego 0.9% 1.1%
San Francisco 0.6% 1.4%
Seattle 0.6% 2.8%
Tampa 0.7% 5.4%
Washington 0.3% 3.0%

What they’re saying: “Sales of new homes, housing starts, and residential investment had similar weak trajectories over the last year,” noted David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee for S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Related: We’re probably at peak housing. Here’s what that means.

Market reaction:The 10-year U.S Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, +0.53%  , which sets the tone for fixed-rate mortgages, has climbed out of its recent trough, but is still at one of its lowest points of the year. Along with slower price growth, that’s helping level the playing field in the housing market.

Read: Want to profit from the housing shortage? There’s a new ETF for that.

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