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Home prices rise but pace slows
Arizona leads all states, followed by Florida; Nevada drops from top rankings of hottest markets.
December 1, 2005: 12:34 PM EST
By Les Christie, CNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Home prices kept climbing through September but the pace of growth has slowed, a government report showed Thursday.

According to the latest data from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which regulates mortgage firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the average U.S. home price rose 12.2 percent for the 12 months through Sept. 30 from a year earlier.

While that was a solid gain, it was slower than the 14.2 percent increase for the 12 months ended June 30.

Average prices in the third quarter rose about 2.9 percent compared with the second quarter, versus a gain of 3.4 percent in the comparable periods last year, the group said.

"Appreciation rates in the third quarter were extremely strong, although some deceleration can be seen in a number of the faster-appreciating markets," OFHEO chief economist Patrick Lawler wrote in a report.

The numbers come as some other recent reports have pointed to a slowdown in the nation's red-hot real estate market. Some economists are forecasting a further slowing in 2006, which could have broad implications for the economy and the job market.

In its report, OFHEO, said that Arizona led all states in housing price appreciation. Prices there ballooned 30.3 percent during the past 12 months. Florida was No. 2, with growth of 25.2 percent.

Every state showed increased housing prices. Home prices in the state with the slowest growth, Michigan, were up 4 percent.

Over the past five years, the District of Columbia beat all 50 states, with growth of overall growth of 119 percent. In the third quarter, the gain was 20.5 percent.

Nevada price growth slowed appreciably, down more than 10 percentage points to 17.6 percent from 28.6 percent.

Among metro areas, Phoenix continues red hot; prices there climbed 34.4 percent. Cape Coral/Fort Myers prices jumped 33.2 percent, good enough for second place.

For the first time since 2003, Nevada has no metro areas in the top 20. Las Vegas home prices grew 13.8 percent during the past four quarters, which placed it 77th.

Mansfield, Ohio, was ranked last among cities, with growth of just 0.8 percent. The next closest city, Greeley Colorado, was at 2.2 percent.

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