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Nov. 30, 2019, 12:10 p.m. EST

Smaller cities see bigger gains even as U.S. home-price growth remains sluggish

Away from the coasts, price growth has picked up in some areas

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By Jacob Passy


Getty Images/iStockphoto
Home prices rose faster here in Boise, Idaho, than in more sizable cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

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

The 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 saw the biggest increase in home prices, according to S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices, with a 6% uptick from last year. Charlotte, N.C., was next with a 4.6% increase, followed by 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 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 buyers remain priced out of these local housing 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 adviser 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 /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.78% and S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -1.05%   both moved slightly higher in Tuesday morning trades. The 10-year Treasury yield /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y 0.00% fell on the release of U.S. trade-deficit data.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
28,992.41
-227.57 -0.78%
Volume: 313.44M
Feb. 21, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,337.75
-35.48 -1.05%
Volume: 2.12B
Feb. 21, 2020 5:16p
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/zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime
add Add to watchlist BX:TMUBMUSD10Y
BX : Tullett Prebon
1.47
0.00 0.00%
Volume: 0.00
Feb. 21, 2020 5:03p
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Jacob Passy is a personal-finance reporter for MarketWatch and is based in New York.

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