US home price growth has slowed for nine straight months - up just 4.18% YoY - the weakest since Sept 2012, according to S&P Case-Shiller's 20-City Composite index.
This slump adds to signs of weakness in housing despite a pullback in mortgage rates. Affordability remains a challenge for consumers who have also been whipsawed by stock markets, the trade war and a government shutdown. A report last week showed sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell last month to the weakest pace since November 2015, and this morning's collapse in housing starts is ominous.
“A decline in interest rates in the fourth quarter was not enough to offset the impact of rising prices on home sales,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P index committee, said in a statement.
All 20 cities in the index still showed year-over-year gains, led by an 11.4 percent increase in Las Vegas and 8 percent in Phoenix.
Seattle and Portland, Oregon, which had been leading in price gains earlier in 2018, have seen their paces slow sharply.
The weakest gains were in San Diego and Washington, both under 3 percent. Prices in San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle fell from the prior month on a seasonally adjusted basis.