U.S. single-family home price appreciation slowed less than forecast in October, according to a closely watched housing market survey released on Tuesday.
The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas gained just 4.5 percent in October on a year-over-year, compared with a revised 4.8 percent increase in September.
A Reuters poll of economists forecast a 4.4 percent increase.
On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, prices in the 20 major cities rose just 0.8 percent for the month, while economists had expected an increase of 0.4 percent.
Even worse, non-seasonally adjusted prices actually fell 0.1 percent in the 20 major cities on a monthly basis, and analysts had expected them to remain unchanged.
“After a long period when home prices rose, but at a slower pace with each passing month, we are seeing hints that prices could end 2014 on a strong note and accelerate into 2015,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.
The report ends the year with the latest negative housing market data, which investors are largely ignoring. New home sales for single-family units in the U.S. fell for a second straight month in November, according to the Commerce Department report released last week. The data are particularly concerning considering the amount of risk the government is re-injecting into the housing sector.
The National Mortgage Risk Index (NMRI) for Agency purchase loans rose in November to 11.69 percent, up from the average of 11.29 percent for the prior three months (revised). The risk indices for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, and the VA all hit series highs in November.
A broader measure of national housing market activity rose at a 4.6 percent clip on a year-over-year basis, compared with a 4.8 percent rate in September. The seasonally adjusted 10-city gauge rose 0.7 percent in October versus a revised 0.2 percent gain in September, while the non-adjusted 10-city index dipped 0.1 percent for a second straight month in October.