US Home Price Growth Slumps To 4 Year Lows

Minutes after Pulte Homes' CEO warning that 2019 will be a "challenging year" for homebuilders, Case-Shiller reports its 20-City Composite price index rose just 4.68% YoY in November (dramatically below the 4.89% expected and the 5.02% October print).

This is the weakest home price growth since January 2015...

All 20 cities in the index showed year-over-year gains, led by a 12 percent increase in Las Vegas and 8.1 percent advance in Phoenix.

The weakest gains were in Washington, Chicago, and San Diego. New York also had a subdued increase, at 3.5 percent.

Notably, all cities but Washington saw home prices grow faster than incomes yet again...

The data further underscore a slowdown in the housing market, along with figures showing sales cooled throughout 2018 as mortgage rates increased, compounding the problem of affordability for many potential buyers already facing steep property prices and scarce supplies.

“Price increases are being dampened by declining sales of existing homes and weaker affordability,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement.

“Housing market conditions are mixed while analysts’ comments express concerns that housing is weakening and could affect the broader economy.”

Finally, as Bloomberg notes, housing will likely weigh on US growth for the first time since 2012. Residential investment has added a few tenths of a percent to economic growth each year since 2012. The latest GDP data indicate the sector subtracted from growth in the first three quarters of this year. Poor performance in 4Q implies the sector's growth for 2018 remains in negative territory.