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SD home prices up 1.3% in March from February

San Diego home prices rose 1.3 percent in March from February, and are up 18.9 percent from March 2013, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices released by the S&P Dow Jones Indices.

The 10-City and 20-City Composite Indices gained 0.8 percent and 0.9 percent month-over-month. In the first quarter of 2014, the National Index gained 0.2 percent. Nineteen of the 20 cities showed positive returns in March -- New York was the only city to decline. Dallas and Denver reached new index peaks.

In March, the National and Composite Indices saw their annual rates of gain slow significantly. Chicago showed its highest year-over-year return of 11.5 percent since December 1988. Las Vegas and San Francisco, the cities with the highest returns, saw their rates of gain slow to approximately 21 percent; their post-crisis peak returns were 29.2 percent and 25.7 percent. At the lower end was Cleveland with a gain of 3.9 percent in the 12 months ending March 2014.

“Among those markets seeing substantial slowdowns in price gains were some of the leading boom-bust markets including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Tampa,” said David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

As of March 2014, average home prices across the United States are back to their mid-2004 levels. Measured from their June/July 2006 peaks, the peak-to-current decline for both Composites is approximately 19-20 percent.

All 20 cities continued to record positive year-over-year returns. Thirteen of the 20 MSAs showed lower annual increases in March. Tampa showed the most deceleration -- the city posted a 13.4 percent increase year-over-year in February and 10.7 percent in March. Las Vegas and San Francisco, the only two cities to post annual gains of over 20 percent, also saw their rates decelerate; they gained 21.2 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively. The only six cities to show higher year-over-year returns in March were Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and New York.

“Housing indicators remain mixed. April housing starts recovered the drop in March but virtually all the gain was in apartment construction, not single family homes. New home sales also rebounded from recent weakness but remain soft,” Blitzer said. “Mortgage rates are near a seven month low but recent comments from the Fed point to bank lending standards as a problem. Other comments include arguments that student loan debt is preventing many potential first time buyers from entering the housing market.”

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