Bad news for housing: Prices flattening

By Les Christie, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Home price gains earlier this year flattened out in October, according to a report issued Tuesday.

The S&P/Case Shiller Home Price index, covering 20 of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, was unchanged in October, after four consecutive months of gains. The index is down 7.3% from 12 months earlier.

"The turnaround in home prices seen in the spring and summer has faded," said David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor's, in a statement. "Coming after a series of solid gains, these data are likely to spark worries that home prices are about to take a second dip," he said.

Just seven of the 20 cities recorded gains from a month earlier.

The modest gains earlier this year were in part propped up by government initiatives.

"We've seen recent stability because of low interest rates and the impact of the first-time homebuyers tax credit," said Pat Newport, a real estate analyst with IHS Global Insight.

Prices are down from their all-time highs set in 2006 by 29% for the 20-city index.

Among the 20 cities, the worst tumble was taken by Tampa during the month. Prices fell 1.6% from September. Chicago and Atlanta recorded 1% losses.

The biggest gainers were Phoenix, up 1.3%, and San Francisco, up 1.2%.

Las Vegas sellers continued to bleed. Prices there fell just 0.1% but that marked the 38th straight monthly decline. The market in Sin City is off 55.4% from its peak. You can buy a home in Las Vegas for the same price it sold for in October of 2000.

"In most of the hardest-hit markets, price declines are moderating," said Mike Larson, an analyst with Weiss Research.

Los Angeles recorded a rise of 0.3% and San Diego prices gained 0.4%. Miami, however, declined by 0.4%.

According to Larson, falling supplies of homes on the market are helping to stabilize conditions. "Inventories are plunging on the new-home side and going down for existing homes," he said.

Not that he's ready to break out the champagne, even with the New Year close at hand. "The market is recovering but it will be an anemic recovery," he said. To top of page


Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.26%4.24%
15 yr fixed3.27%3.31%
5/1 ARM3.45%3.66%
30 yr refi4.23%4.32%
15 yr refi3.25%3.23%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,130.33 78.60 0.46%
Nasdaq 4,459.26 34.56 0.78%
S&P 500 1,985.27 11.64 0.59%
Treasuries 2.47 -0.00 -0.20%
Data as of 2:27pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.52 0.01 0.03%
Apple Inc 94.45 0.51 0.54%
Facebook Inc 69.20 -0.20 -0.29%
Intel Corp 34.66 0.60 1.78%
Microsoft Corp 44.84 0.00 0.01%
Data as of 2:12pm ET

Sections

Jamison Door Company has been trying to expand for two years, but they say the nation's outdated, complicated immigration rules keep getting in their way. More

Two opposing court rulings issued Tuesday sowed confusion about whether 4.7 million Americans can keep their Obamacare subsidies. More

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has granted Apple a patent for a smartwatch. It resembles others already on the market but there are some features that could set an iWatch apart. More

Court documents show big support from Detroit employees and retirees for a turnaround plan that should help the city emerge quickly from bankruptcy. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.