(NorthJersey.com, December 31) Home prices continued to rise in the region in October, but at a cooler pace than in the nation as a whole, the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home price index reported Tuesday.
Values of single-family homes rose 4.9 percent in the New York metropolitan area, which includes North Jersey, in the 12 months ended in October. That compares with a rise of 13.6 percent nationwide - the biggest year-over-year jump since 2006, when the housing market was booming.
Even with these increases, home prices are only at the levels of almost a decade ago, mid-2004, and remain about 20 percent below their peaks in mid-2006, both nationally and in the area.
Case-Shiller does not break out prices by county, but according to the New Jersey Association of Realtors, Bergen County single-family prices rose 3.6 percent, to a median $430,000, and Passaic County prices rose 8.8 percent, to a median $310,000, in the 12 months ended in October.
David M. Blitzer, head of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said that monthly gains in the Case-Shiller index slowed in October, signaling that the housing market seems to be losing velocity. Analysts have said this is a result of the uptick in mortgage rates, from about 3.5 percent earlier this year to about 4.5 percent now.
"Most forecasts for home prices point to single-digit growth in 2014," Blitzer said.
Most of the biggest gains in October came in the South and the West, with the strongest growth in Las Vegas, which was hard-hit in the housing crash but rose 27 percent from October 2012.
Economists Patrick Newport and Stephanie Karol of IHS Global Insight said Tuesday in a research note that national home price growth was helped by the declining share of distressed sales, from 24 percent of sales in October 2012 to 14 percent in October 2013.
Newport and Karol expect price rises in the high single digits in 2014, as the supply of new and existing homes on the market increases.
"After several consecutive months of record year-on-year gains, homeowners are feeling more disposed towards listing their homes, according to the National Association of Realtors," they said. "With more homes available for sale, upcoming reports should show prices growing at a slower pace."