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US home prices rose at slower pace in September

By Christopher S. Rugaber

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 26 2013 8:33 a.m. MST

In this Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, file photo, a "For Sale" sign hangs in front of a house in Walpole, Mass. Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller reports on U.S. home prices in September, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013.

Steven Senne, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices rose more slowly in September than in August, a sign that weaker sales are preventing the kinds of sharp price gains that occurred earlier this year.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 0.7 percent from August to September, down from a 1.3 percent gain from July to August. Still, year over year, prices jumped 13.3 percent from September 2012, the fastest such gain since February 2006.

Monthly price gains slowed in 19 of the 20 cities tracked by the index. Prices rose 1.3 percent in Las Vegas, compared with a 2.9 percent month-to-month gain in August. Home prices rose just 0.2 percent in Tampa, Fla., after a 1.8 percent gain in August.

Charlotte, N.C., was the only city where prices declined from August to September.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The September figures are the latest available.

Prices aren't adjusted for seasonal variations, so the month-to-month changes reflect, in part, slower buying in late summer and fall.

Other recent reports show that previous gains in home prices, higher mortgage rates and the partial government shutdown last month have weighed on the housing market.

Home resales fell in October for a second straight month to a seasonally adjusted annual pace of 5.12 million, the lowest since June. That pace is still 6 percent higher than it was a year earlier. But it's below the roughly 5.5 million annual sales pace typical of a healthy market.

In addition, a measure of signed contracts to buy homes fell for a fifth straight month in October. That suggests that final sales will remain weak in coming months.

"Other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate," said David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P Dow Jones index committee.

In October, signed contracts plunged in the West, where price gains have been the strongest. The Case-Shiller index showed that prices jumped more than 29 percent in Las Vegas compared with a year ago and nearly 26 percent in San Francisco.

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