Economic Report: Home price growth remains slow, but smaller cities are seeing bigger gains

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The numbers: The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city index increased by 0.4% in September compared to August, on a seasonally-adjusted basis. The index was 2.1% higher than a year ago, maintaining the slow rate of home price growth.

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller national index, meanwhile, recorded a higher rate of growth on an annual basis at 3.2%, but the same increase on a month-to-month level as the 20-city index.

What happened: Phoenix, Ariz., saw the biggest increase in home prices, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, with a 6% uptick from last year. Charlotte was next with a 4.6% increase, followed by the 4.5% growth in Tampa, Fla.

The big picture: The Federal Housing Finance Agency also released its quarterly home price index Tuesday — showing that home prices grew 4.9% in the third quarter. This was the first time that home price appreciation has fallen below an annual pace of 5% since 2015, the FHFA noted.

While low mortgage rates have helped to an extent, affordability continues to be a significant headwind in the priciest markets, as droves of prospective home-buyers remain priced out of these markets.

In the FHFA’s index, mostly smaller cities saw the highest levels of price appreciation during the third quarter. Boise, Idaho, recorded an 11.1% increase in home prices, followed by Tucson, Ariz., which experienced a 10.3% gain.

What they’re saying: “Homes in California and New York are now appreciating at rates that are lower than the national average,” said Lynn Fisher, FHFA’s senior advisor for economics. “At the same time, out migration from high-cost areas is placing upward pressure on home prices in states like Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Vermont and Maine, which all now rank in the top 10 states by appreciation rate.”

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.08%   and S&P 500 SPX, +0.04%   both moved higher in Tuesday morning trades. The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -1.31%   meanwhile fell on the release of U.S. trade data.