S&P/Case Shiller Records Largest Home Price Gain in Nearly 8 Years

Home prices rose annually for the 17th straight month in October, achieving their highest yearly gain in nearly eight years, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released Tuesday.

Both the 10- and 20-city composite indices saw annual increases of 13.6 percent in October—the largest year-over-year growth since February 2006. As of the end of the month, average home prices nationwide had recovered to mid-2004 levels; compared to their mid-2006 peaks, both composites were still down about 20 percent.

Thirteen out of the 20 cities tracked in the report posted double-digit annual improvements, though the increases

have slowed in some of the top-performing markets, including Las Vegas, San Diego, and San Francisco. At the same time, cities that have struggled by comparison—Cleveland, New York, and Washington, D.C., for instance—are now experiencing accelerated growth.

Some of October’s most notable numbers came from Chicago, which posted its highest annual price increase since 1988 at 10.9 percent, and from Charlotte and Dallas, which recorded increases of 8.8 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively—their highest rate of improvement since the creation of their indices in 1987 and 2000.

Still, while annual returns remain strong, “monthly numbers show we are living on borrowed time and the boom is fading,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

On a monthly basis, both composites saw a gain of 0.2 percent in October. Only ten cities experienced growth compared to September, and most of those markets reported a slowdown. Going forward, most indicators seem to point to a continuation of that trend.

“Other housing data paint a mixed picture suggesting that we may be close to the peak gains in prices. However, other economic data point to somewhat faster growth in the new year,” Blitzer said. “Most forecasts for home prices point to single digit growth in 2014.”

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